Choosing A Focus

One hazard of this year’s fall sports season is that many of the girls’ games occur simultaneously. Plus, the school districts are coordinated, which accentuates the so-near-and-yet-so-far nature of these games. Yesterday, for example, I schleped all the way to East Greenbush to watch J in her volleyball game at a middle school while M was playing in her soccer game at the same district’s high school, five minutes away. I ended up hopping into the car at the end of volleyball to catch the end of M’s game, but that was only possible because they were taking extra water breaks in the heat. On Thursday, both girls play home games, which thankfully means that they’ll only be playing about a five minute jog apart. My plan is to start with soccer, then head inside to the gym to J’s game when/if M comes off the field.

Their activities have conflicted before, of course, but somehow this feels worse. We’d have whole weekends where J and I would be at a gymnastics meet while Cute W and M were at a soccer tournament, but there were always plenty of down sides to both of those events, so that missing one wasn’t entirely a bad thing. The gymnastics meets were high-stress, the soccer tournaments often involve sitting out in the cold for hours, and either might involve long travel or terrible traffic.  Plus, they were so time-consuming that part of me would be glad that it was impossible to do both. That’s not true for these games. I really don’t want to miss any of them. Now, realistically, if the girls were actually on opposite schedules I’d end up losing big chunks of my afternoons about four times a week, and maybe I’d get tired of it. But without the choice, I’m bummed out to be missing any games, and knowing that the double-booking has limited my attendance already, I’ve been saying no to other meetings and obligations to try to get in anything I can.

Meanwhile, on the volunteer front, I’ve decided that I’m not going to be a muse for Working Group on Girls of Schenectady, Inc. this year. I’ve done it for the last four school years, but I feel like I just need a break from that particular activity, especially since I’m already serving on the board and helping with the website and Facebook page. I feel guilty about it, though, because I know that they really do need muses. So if you know anyone who’d be interested, please spread the word.  I am, however, tutoring my ESL students again. They need more tutors, too. Contact Michelle at raetzm [at] if you’d like to help. The students are so lovely and fun, and just being in that classroom filled with a huge mix of people from all over the world who are working very hard and who are clearly just so glad to be here in the US is good for the soul, especially right now. So that’s what I’m doing.

And yes, the especially right now is terrible, isn’t it? I would like to go into a full-on rant about how I’m deeply in favor of taking a knee as a respectful, peaceful protest against racism and police brutality, I would really like to get into Facebook debates and point out that most people disapproved of the Freedom Riders and lunch counter sit-ins back when they were happening. I don’t understand how people who are so emotionally moved about the stars and stripes this week don’t seem bothered by the same flag getting waved by crowds chanting neo-Nazi slogans or that other flag commemorating the efforts by a bunch of states to actually destroy the union of the United States.  It’s just like people getting all riled up about “Black Lives Matter,” when no one would argue that “Save the Rain Forests” means “Screw Deciduous Trees.” It just means that rain forests are in particular peril. See, and there I go, starting to rant in spite of myself, when I really don’t even want to pay attention to the most recent football brouhaha or other presidential feuds with professional athletes. Because it feels like it’s all just another shiny diversion for the masses so we’ll ignore that people have no drinking water or power all over Puerto Rico and hurricanes generally made more brutal by climate change and the Senate continues to try to get rid of ACA protections and, oh, yes, perhaps a nuclear war with North Korea is looming. All of which feels entirely overwhelming, so I make calls to senators or donate some money somewhere or sign a petition, then think about all the stuff I should be doing but feel like I don’t have time to do because of the laundry and math homework and weekly newsletters and, of course, the volleyball games and soccer games. So I am trying to focus on things that I can do that will make me feel better instead of worse. But it’s discouraging.

Also, it’s possible that I have a water bottle problem. Perhaps I should focus on one water bottle at a time. And I will try to be less cranky next time.



  1. Mary Ellen Whiteley

    I love your passion, your information links that you attached, and your dedication to your community. I say crack open another bottle of water and order pizza for dinner.

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