Doper advice needed on a social situation, please

For the mouseover view, it involves high school sports, booster clubs, and the inevitable conflicts of the parents involved. I’m the socially clueless parent who feels slighted.

It’s mundane, it’s pointless, in five years it won’t matter at all, but right now it’s bugging the heck out of me and I need advice, please.

My daughter was named one of several captains for next year’s team of her chosen sport. Two years ago the team had a very difficult year because one mother seemed to think her daughter had been named God rather than just captain. People still talk about the mother’s self-centered behavior. I don’t want to travel that road.

In a major departure from past years, three parents contacted the coach and arranged a social ‘getting to know you’ and ‘how to support the coach’ meeting which will take place in a couple of weeks. It’s an excellent idea.

But I can’t shake feeling very hurt to have been excluded from this planning meeting since I considered the three organizing parents to have been friends and I had already volunteered to take on a time-consuming project that is a decent fit for me. One of my starting assumptions is that parents of captains tend to head up the parent group, and that’s another aspect of my feeling dismissed.

Anyway, the three-year-old in me wants to withdraw from my volunteer assignment and make clear that I am hurt to have been excluded (an email has been drafted but not yet sent). While that may be cathartic for me, it can’t possibly lead to anything else good (this particular sports season will run through most of the next school year).

I would appreciate some other perspectives on the situation; my thicker skin isn’t growing nearly fast enough.

I won’t be able to check back in here for a few hours, but thanks for sharing your wisdom & experience!

I could ask a number of questions, like do these women all know each other from somewhere? How many captains are there, and are these women all mothers of team captains? How did you find out about the meeting, if not by being invited?

But in the end I don’t think the answers matter. The assertive thing to do would be to ask one of these women in a very matter of fact way what the meeting is about and, assuming it’s not something that actually has nothing to do with you, express an interest in participating since you and your daughter will be active on the team this year. They most likely aren’t overthinking the meeting and who should be included, and you shouldn’t, either.

You’re overthinking.

You’ve already got a volunteer job that’s taking up a lot of your time-

Thus, responsible parents don’t want to burden you with another one.


Parents paranoid about God-Complex don’t want you having “absolute power.”

If you’re friendly with the other parents, mention that you’d like to get more involved and ASK if there are any duties specific/traditional to “Captain’s Mom.” That way, you’re being helpful, not pushy.
But even asking that question points out something glaringly obvious: “Captain” is a job. “Captain’s Mom” is not a job.

Above all, remember that this is your daughter’s activity and not yours.

The question that is paramount over all other concerns when it comes to high school sports is this:

"Will the course of action I am considering have negative consequences for my child, and/or will the course of action I am considering provoke a (valid) negative reaction toward me from my child?"
In this case, your huffy withdrawal will gain nothing for you and harm your daughter. You’re not proposing to point out bulimia on a gymnastics team here, you’re proposing that you withdraw because you feel socially slighted by a committee decision.

Consider the perspectives of the others involved- those perspectives are as valid to them as yours are to you.

What Happy Scrappy Hero Pup said. This isn’t about you, it’s about your daughter. Butt out unless she specifically asks for your intervention in something. Otherwise, cheerfully volunteer to help if needed, and leave it alone if no one calls on you. You obviously have other things to keep you more than busy enough. Do those and let your daughter have fun without interference.

Thanks all, for chiming in.

Harriet, your response is succinct and rings pretty true for all the details I left out. Thank you.

This sums up my view. Instead of worrying about yourself, focus on what’s best for your daughter and the team.

Yeah, what they said.

Your daughter was chosen to be the captain of the team because of her skills as a leader and presumably her skills at the sport.

No one chose you. No one knows or cares about your skills at being a leader. If some other parents chose among themselves that they should be or could be great parental support leaders, then so be it.

Just be proud of your daughter and do whatever it takes to support her as you see fit. If she tells you she needs support that involves the parents, then you can step in.

And…don’t feel bad about any of it :slight_smile:

Not to derail the subject too much, but that’s one of the biggest differences I’ve seen between high school, collegiate, and men’s club sports. I’ve been captain of both my college and men’s club rugby clubs, and it was purely an on-the-pitch position. The responsibility didn’t extend into planning of socials (although I was always an integral part of that), club budget, scheduling, or any other activities.

I have a few questions that have to do with the OP, although some are more related than the others.

Are all three moms parents of captains?
Why do you have the assumption that being elected to captain means the parent should head the booster club? Although being a captain means your parents are probably dedicated, a talented kid doesn’t imply an organized parent (or whatever quality a booster president, for example, needs).
How did you find out about the meeting?
What kind of sport uses several captains? In my experience, the captain’s responsibility was to talk to the referee about disputed calls, substitutions, etc., and was the only acceptable liaison between the team and the referee (although in high school, the coach usually served that purpose).

I disagree that it should all be about your kid. One of the things I love about the school where I teach is that the involved parents aren’t just supporting their kid–they are members of the extended community. So when the set for the musical needs to get built, dads that don’t have kids in the play still show up. When the girl’s basketball team made it to the fourth round of the play offs, everyone was there, parents of all sorts of kids, parents of kids that graduated years ago, and we all celebrated (and mourned, eventually!) together. When there are students in this or that activity that can’t afford to participate, parents that have plenty often quietly pick up the tab. Being a parent doesn’t mean you have to be involved like that, but I really respect it when I see it.

As far as this specific situation, it really depends on the school culture. Basically, there are two possibilities: either it was a deliberate snub or they are just clueless. I’d probably find someone that knows them and ask them what was up, assuming that if it were cluelessness, the word would get back to them that you wanted to be invited to things like that and in the future you will be. If they are total bitches, you can’t win. Do the job you committed to do and unless you start to see that they are affecting or shunning your daughter, stay out otherwise. If they want to run Varsity Cheerleading (what else lasts all year? Track and Cross Country?) that badly, let them.

Ok, if I read the OP correctly you are upset to be left out of the planning of a meet-and-greet? But the meet-and-greet itself is open to all the parents? It’s just that by planning this event it sounds like they are trying to be inclusive and social by giving everyone a chance to come meet Coach. And I can’t see how an event like this would take more than 1 or 2 people to plan, they might have figured most of the details right when the idea came up, so long as Coach gives the thumbs up I can’t see the need to run it by anyone else.

*“Oh, hi one-of-three-mothers, it’s justpassingthrough. How are things? I heard you’re planning a meeting with the coaches. That’s a great idea! Can I come too?..Great! Thanks, I’ll see you there.”

Imho as a guy, anything else is either over-thinking or head games.

Disclaimer: But then, I’m a guy. I don’t analyze every little nuance of meaning of a particular head angle or tone inflection. I have been known to be clueless about such things.

My first exposure to a high school booster club came a few years ago for my son’s team. As the parent of an underclassman, it seemed that our primary purpose was fundraising to benefit the varsity team. OK, I can see the sense in that. Then when my son eventually made the varsity team, I saw more of the social aspects of the booster club – pregame decorating of the locker room, treat bags, lots of other assorted gifts and social events. My son was all about the game on the field and that’s pretty much where I left my focus as well.

My daughter’s focus is different. For her the sport and the social aspects are intertwined, and the recent history with this club is one of showering gifts and treats on the team.

Anyway, my daughter wants me to love the social aspects as much as she does, despite the fact that I’ve always been kinda slow on the uptake socially. It will probably be best to keep reminding myself that I don’t do social things well, and we do have a really wonderful group of girls.

As far as the three organizing moms, they are indeed trying to head off some overenthusiastic parents, but based on the details that I’ve been told (and would be unnecessary to repeat here), I’m confident that the organizing moms don’t view me in that light. I’m more the type to check with the leader often to see if I’m proceeding in line with what she wants.

Thanks again for your perspectives. I’ll let the natural leaders lead, and contribute as best I can, when appropriate.

Just to answer a couple of questions that have been asked, two of the moms nominated themselves as leaders before captains were named, the third mom is a natural addition, they do have a strong social bond outside of this group, and two of the moms have daughters who are captains. I was told about the meeting by one of the organizing moms; our daughters have another sport in common.

edit: trupa, clueless is good sometimes.

Happy Scrappy Hero Pup, what an awesome, thorough, reasoned answer. I am so impressed!

You will be hearing from me the next time I have some kind of social crisis. Possibly in the middle of the night.

I used to coach girls. It… had its moments.

And I’ll be up. I don’t get much sleep these days.

Well said. I agree with all of it. Do what you need to do for your daughter, and don’t be so paranoid.

I agree with sugar and spice. You haven’t really been left out of things…just the planning of a small event that really doesn’t need more than three planners. If you really want to be more involved with the back-scenes portion of this party, offer to be on the clean-up committee…I have never refused help from someone wanting to take out trash from any event I have planned! And then, when your own volunteer effort is under control, plan your own small event for the coaches, or an appreciation party for the carpool moms, and ask two or three of those women to help YOU.

Well it certainly makes sense to me that if they had a previous problem with one of the Captains Mothers thinking her daughter had been named God, and by extension, she was now God’s Mom, that they might want to spread out responsibility and power so that one mother isn’t dominating the situation and corrupting it in favor of her kid.

Like HSHP said, “Captain’s Mom” isn’t a job and it doesn’t come with automatic assumption of authority and control over anything. Be happy that it doesn’t! Honestly, they should divorce such things, not just due to their previous problem, but because it might hinder the selection of future captains (“I can’t be Captain because my mom doesn’t want to have to do that much work” or “My mom is really busy and doesn’t have the time to take this on”) or they might end up with a great Captain, but a mother/organizer who can’t find her ass with both hands.

Bane or Boon, it’s your decision on how to see it.

Bane: Hey, that’s my job!
Boon: Oh thank god I don’t have to do all that myself!

It sounds like you’re already feeling better, and you’ve gotten good advice. I’d just chime in with my own observation as a parent on school-related events.

An amazing amount of stuff gets done via people who collaborate because their kids are friends or they catch each other in the parking lot at school or at a team practice… or they are friends and see each other/talk socially. Things just kind of develop because two or more people connect. It’s not like other organizations I’ve been in where someone has a list of participants in front of them and they methodically think about who should be included to do what. When parents do things for the school or the team, they’re focused on providing a service to the other parents and/or kids–not on the inclusiveness of the planning and the work distribution.

I’ll be honest; it’s an adjustment for me, too. I’ve only been a parent of a school-age kid for a few years now, but it’s something I’ve noticed. I’m a working mom who is not terribly plugged in, socially, with other parents at the schools we’ve been to. I’ve formerly been involved in volunteer organizations who do a lot of thoughtful project planning via committee and careful delegation coordinated through regular meetings. I assumed based on that experience that I’d be involved in school and team events that same way. But nope. School/parent stuff just does not work the was those organizations do. Don’t take it personally.