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BOTD 1/17/16 "Sore Swim" A mahoover Production

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David M. Katz

A mahoover Production

Your son John is a bit nerdy, but has always been able to make friends in school.  You have spanked him in the past, but haven't needed to in the last year.  Spanking has never been taken off the table, it just hasn't been needed.

When he was eight, you told him that you wanted him to take part in a team sport.  You let him choose the sport, and he choose swimming.  He has been part of the local rec league team ever since.  He is not a great swimmer, but has always been in the middle of the pack.  He is now 16 and starting high school.  He told you that he wanted to join the high school team.  He went to the try outs and made the team.  Since he has to be in the water at 6am, he has to leave the house at 5:30am to make practice.  Because you don't want to drive him to practice, you got him a car and arranged for him to be able to drive it to school.

John - 16
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Now that cold weather has started, John's motivation for swimming has been going down.  He has missed a few practices saying that he forgot to set his alarm the night before.  You have talked to him about the commitment he made when he joined the team.  Tonight he came to you and said that his shoulder is sore, and he wants to skip practice in the morning because of it.

How do you respond?  Does it change your answer if he doesn't talk to you, but skips practice and when you ask him about it says that his shoulder was sore?

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.

Pi Beta

I'm going to insist that he tells me the truth - that he needs a break to decide whether he really wants to continue with swimming - and then we'll talk together with his coach. Swimming, with its commitment to early practices, is intensely time-consuming and demanding. A month off should be long enough for him to determine whether or not he wishes to return to competitive swimming.

Of course, if he is exceptionally good, I should have encouraged him a couple of years previously to attend as a boarder one of the schools that specialise in sports including swimming (such as, in the UK, Millfield, Plymouth and Kelly Colleges) where the practising takes place as part of the school's curriculum. However, hindsight is not an exact science!


For a 16-year old to be getting up at 5:30 in the morning to go to practice... yeah, I don't blame him for wanting a break.

I agree with Pi, that I need him to be honest with me.  I also have to get over this obsession of mine, and give him some freedom.  It's important for him to be active and healthy, but he's been involved in this for 8 years - if he no longer wants to be, it should be his decision, not mine (unless he's an important part in a relay or something, in which case he should discuss it with the people relying on him, but honestly - if he doesn't want to be there, I'm sure they won't complain).

HOWEVER, the first thing we're going to do is call the coach to let him know he won't be at practice, and decide if we need Icy Hot, heating pad, cold pack, or a doctor for that shoulder.

"In the end, it's just a story. But if you ask me, it's all true."

David M. Katz

I like Jack's answer.

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.


Editor Extraordinaire
I'm going to agree with the previous answers.



I'm not surprised if he can't manage to crawl out of bed at 5.30 every morning!

Giving up has to be his decision and from the scenario it appears that he is not an integral part of the team, which perhaps is part of the reason for said decision.


Ditto jack

Hugs kal


Practice at 6am before school? affraid

He has my sympathy. Nevertheless, I can nothing add to Jack's answer.


He has a heavy committment and I' going to ask him outright if he's having second thoughts about continuing with competitive swimming.

Swimming is (perhaps was) his love. Now that he has become aware that he does not have the ability to be outstanding in competition he is coming to a crossroads.  I will offer to discuss the way forward together with him and his coach; perhaps arrange a break with the door left open for return?  At the same time I will assure him that whichever way the decision goes he will have my full support.

Should he insist all is well and his injury is real we'll call his coach and I'll take him to see a physio.

I'll also warn him that missing training sessions without good reason has the potential for him to be dumped out of the squad.  However should my prophecy come true the one thing I won't do is say "I told you so so"


I agree with the general consensus that if he doesn't want to be on the team, he should talk to the coach and drop the team, not just skip practice and not say anything. Something I didn't include in the scenario that is true in our school district is that only seniors are allowed to park at school. People that have a legitimate reason that they can't take the bus can also get a parking pass. So if he decides to quit the team, he will have to start taking the bus to school again.


I think at 16 it should now be Johns choice. Really it is only important he gets excercise and there are ways other than 6 am swim practice. So I want some honesty. Is his shoulder needing rest, physiotherapy or just being used as an excuse. I will also remind him that if he wants to leave he should not do so in a way that leaves his teammates or Coach in the lurch. Simply not showing for practice if he was expected to be there is not an option and WILL bring a spanking.

Emlyn Morgan

"he has to be in the water at 6am, he has to leave the house at 5:30am to make practice."


I love swimming but I don't like competitive swimming which I think just turns the youngsters into narrow regimed swimming machines.

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