Thursday, August 26, 2010

Team Meetings

And what I love about them.

Warning: the sarcasm will ooze, drip and seethe off the path. Be careful not to let it stain your skin.

Early Team Meetings

When I was wee, and by wee, I mean... maybe only five feet tall and prior to braces straightening my teeth, I was on a couple teams... these would be sports teams, other than that brief stint in sixth grade where I was one of Charlie's Angels... erm... where I was actually 11, not 12, but Paint can be unforgiving...  These teams (the sports ones) never met. There was a coach who told us when to be at practice. When to be at games. Who would cover what base. There wasn't very much thinking involved, and that is how it should be. My mom paid the Parks & Rec fee, some business donated shirts with their logo and the team name, which they deducted as 'advertising' and life was good.

In junior high things were about the same... only it was a coach. I don't think we had to buy anything—the suits and such belonged to the school and were checked out.  They were in varying degrees of disrepair—you had to pay if you wrecked it or lost it, but otherwise, it was all part of the public school budget. You did what the coach said, or you didn't get to be on the team anymore. Pretty simple.

In high school, I SWEAR I don't remember it being any different, though the only teams I was on were gymnastics (an individual sport--all 4 years) and two years of JV tennis, in which I was only a burden to Deb, my most frequent doubles partner (poor Deb—she was seriously more coordinated than me—thankfully she still likes me). But as to TEAMS? I suppose Varsity tennis might have had a captain—if JV did, this memory eludes me. Gymnastics never did.

(I think this pic was my junior year, so I was 16...erm... with late 70s hair, as it was Idaho and 5 years behind... I still HAVE those leg warmers and have been asked as recently as last winter where I bought them *shifty*)

So I escaped childhood virtually FREE of team meetings. I participated in events that had REHEARSALS... I was Moscow's Junior Miss (a fact relatively shocking in retrospect) so planning the next year's 'pageant' was SORT OF a team event, but REALLY there were adults doing most of the coordinating... I was asked for input on a number of things... but TEAM? MEETING? If it happened, I have blocked it entirely.

The Early Middle Meetings

In college my dorm we had a few meetings... I think two official ones where be planned a ski trip and got to know each other... then the 'meetings' that can be more accurately defines as parties... the Everclear Punch meeting, for instance... Or the Road Trip to Idaho Meeting that involved Crisco Twister *cough*

My sophomore year I joined a sorority... and then BOY DID I LEARN MEETINGS!? Pledge meetings. Rush meetings.... the meetings I can't tell you about without killing you after... Most of these involved a little input and a lot of pretending to pay attention. I think the most eventful one was the planning of the pledge class walk-out (we went to Rockaway Beach, as one of my pledge sisters had a mom who ran a motel there).

But are these team meetings? Not so sure...

The Later Middle Meetings

Of note...
only one of these Ad Men lacks a penis -->

So after college I got a job—over developed sense of responsibility shining through (I heard that. Stop laughing.). I worked for an advertising agency in Portland and I was on the McDonald's Team. Let me explain team meetings for you. The Tart (shiny and fresh from college) plans the meeting, takes notes at the meeting and does all the work for the meeting and after the meeting. The other team members make unreasonable demands... late in this job, there was a portion of the meeting in which we all compared penis sizes. I didn't fare well. My penis is very very small.

Meetings though, DID involve good food... sometimes involved exotic locations (the Maui Hilton, for instance, or the Camelback in Scotsdale). I got to pretend I was an important advertising executive (when really I was unimportant—first an account coordinator then an ASSISTANT account executive... with no penis)

I eventually decided advertising wasn't for me. (did I mention I don't have a penis?)

So I went to graduate school, where the meetings all involved beer. They typically occurred at the Cheerful Tortoise ($2 micros during happy hour—oh sure... it was 1993) or Hot Lips Pizza. These were the BEST TEAM MEETINGS YET! Intellectual conversation, critiquing each other's papers (the Tart learns peer review!)... with good BEER! (And only ONE of us had a penis, and he seemed THRILLED to hang out with a bunch of people who didn't! Go figure. 

Coinciding with the Master's program was the PUB JOB. These meetings ALSO involved beer, unless you were on the night shift (which because I was going to school during the day, I typically was) but it was AT LEAST good company. And sometimes Eli and I would get in trouble because we couldn't look at each other without breaking into laughter for no reason (well, lots of reasons, but never one in particular--on this planet, this is the person with whom I had the greatest mind-meld, and I've had some pretty darned good mind melds) and people always thought we were making fun of them, which—because we never WERE made it even funnier--many tears (of laughter) were shed... that was a definite bonus.

The Current Team Meetings

So then I went and had some childings, right? And things have CHANGED since I was a childing... Oh, sure... there were the years of Rec & Ed sports (each parent signs up for a snack day... volunteers asked to help coach (you still have to PAY for your child to participate if you coach--WTF?)... hubby's being head coach... Tart's required to master scoring—(you laugh—I see you... yes the double entendre is apt... and telling you it is baseball only makes you snicker harder). These sports teams have varied widely in the degree of pain and pleasure they offer... seems to differ by sport.

I STILL miss the girls softball family... my daughter played with the same girls for several years, and while she only liked some subset of the girls, I REALLY liked almost all of the families. This is our 3rd year away from them and it was a great part of summer.

Rec & Ed is also partly responsible for my harsh critique of the families of my SON'S peers. In my daughter's cohort, there were always volunteers, always people involved (occasionally annoying people, sure, but mostly good people, and plenty of them). In my SON'S cohort, if the kid my son's age is the oldest... RARELY involved. You have to threaten root canal's to get them to do ANYTHING and when they volunteer, follow-through was POOR. (there are exceptions--the photographer dude is GREAT-- but as a rule). Drives my husband, the would-be-dictator crazy. When he coached he wanted SO BADLY to not let kids play if they missed practice or were late to the game. HELLO FREAKING PARENTS... WE ARE ALL COUNTING ON YOU! (if there is a phone call, fine... conflicts happen, but no communication... just not THERE, until... hello, third inning?)

Still... no meetings...

Middle school sports? No meetings.


Yeah... the high school sports? They have meetings... team meetings. Parent meetings. FREAKING SPORTS BANQUETS. Sheesh! I don't want to know ANY of these people this well!

Okay, that's only a little true. My daughter played three sports last year, and honestly, the swim families are pretty nice. For families who swim, it really is more like religion. Chlorine seeps from their pores. I volunteered to do concessions a few times and my husband timed for most of the home meets—they were organized, welcoming... really WONDERFUL... other than the six hour meeting at the beginning of the season where we dropped over $300. (that particular meeting was last night, and the thing that inspired this post).

The Synchronized swim families were a mixed bag... some real nice, some less socially adept... It was smaller though, and not quite as externally organized... I'm not even sure we WENT to that meeting... just got emails from the coach.

Water Polo? What a MESS! Water Polo is an aggressive sport inspiring aggressive parents with chips on their shoulders, or so it seemed. My husband tried to learn scoring but nobody would tell him (like they'd pissed a circle around the scoring table—seriously) and it was organized like a bug circus. Nobody knew what the hell was going on because these parental pissing matches impeded communication... My daughter loves the sport, but MAN, I hope some of those parents graduated *shifty*

<-- (one of captains) And NOW... My Favorite Things About Team Meetings

*My husband pointing out all the evidence he could do it better.
*The fact that 'Michigan time' (aka: half hour late) is so universally understood.
*The thirty minute speeches by each of four captains about how great swimming is.
*Writing checks when there is no money in my account.
*Learning they've discontinued the warm-ups we paid $150 for last year.
*Spending $85 on a swim suit.
*People who seem to actually LIKE these features.
*Evidence none of these OTHER moms have to work.
*My husband refusing to let me read between important points.
*My husband telling me to sign up then lecturing me I did it wrong.
*Volunteering 47 hours of my time IN THE FUTURE.

At least though... this is the batch I can get along with... Good girls. Good parents. It matters (even if it is still time-consuming and expensive)


Ted Cross said...

Are people with penises allowed to comment on your posts?

Anonymous said...

Only if it's a team penis....

Have a nice day.....

Old Kitty said...

I miss my leg warmers! I wish they'd make a comeback cos they're so handy to have around! Sigh.

And my favourite Charlie's angel was Kelly!

Hubby as head coach and you as chief scorer (I don't get the baseball reference but oo-er missus!) sounds really tough!! But you're both doing a grand job - just get those parents to cooperate! You are afterall doing so FOR THE SAKE OF THE CHILDREN!!


Take care

Hart Johnson said...

Ted and Boonsong--I actually really like and encourage people with penises, but comparing penis size and pissing contests DO distract from team meetings...

Jenny-AHA! I forget baseball isn't played everywhere. In the US baseball is used for a sexual metaphor (first base = kissing, second base, waist up...) where a home run (or SCORE) is... well you get the idea...

And the hubby gave up the coaching when my son got to middle school, as my SON only wants to play through school now--no extracurricular teams...

Anonymous said...

Yeah what ever happened to the days when a coach or teacher told you, "Just keep practicing, try your hardest, and put in a little extra effort, you will succeed!!" And WE DID!! Now days, the office is "up" XX% in this economy, but "down" $XX ( due to no fault of mine) and I need to try harder? I want to go back to the old days where people didn't spend money they didn't have, where people treated others the way they wanted to be treated, where people of all ages took "pride" in what they did and who they were. What ever happened to "pride"? I can tell you, it got the rug pulled out from underneath it in some "meeting". LOL

Sugar said...

omg leg warmers? You actually wore them?! *scoffs*
j/k I luved my warmers..

And the things we do for our kids. It's unimaginable isn't it? Not only that..but the fundraisers, the pta, the dance classes, baseball, the play dates..*sigh* again..
and yes.. I also feel as the only other mom that works.all day. every day. not at home.
I feel for ya doll!

LTM said...

I skipped leg warmers, but not the dreams of being Farrah Fawcett... I actually dreamed once that I looked like her and had won a scholarship to Yale.

My dreams are pretty transparent.

College meetings beat all meetings hands down. And thank you--I now have something to look forward to... :D

Hart Johnson said...

Sugar- WEAR. Present tense. I walk to work in Michigan and they are the only reason I CAN in January. And yes, the fundraisers are KILLERS. ACK!

Leigh *snort* yes... pretty literal on the dreams there! HA! Yes... prepare yourself...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

None of my work meetings ever involved beer. Not fair.

Hart Johnson said...

Anon--Totally just spotted your post! Yeah--that 'work harder' thing really did help, and it was nice when effort was rewarded. Seems like kids need pushing but coaches aren't really allowed to do it anymore.

Alex-you've been working in the wrong places!

CA Heaven said...

When I started reading this post, I hoped that you wouldn't mention peer review. It reminds me I have one to be done, or actually should have been done 3-4 weeks ago.

Moscow, it's not THAT Moscow? Is there a Moscow in Idaho too?

Cold As Heaven

Talli Roland said...

I hated HATED corporate meetings. It was always people who wanted to hear their own voices, saying the same thing over and over even when it was clear no-one agreed with them. Ugh.

Hart Johnson said...

CaH--Yeah... the Moscow in IDAHO... my home town. It's not even pronounced the same... mine is Mos-Co... which I know in English is how they say the other one, but I know the REAL pronunciation of the other one is different. When I did gymnastics though, our uneven parallel bars had been donated by Olga Corbet--to the '2nd biggest Moscow' (she came for a parade when I was little--pretty big deal for a town of only 15,000)

Talli--right?! It's because we don't have penises! *cough* Man, I have NEVER been sorry to leave that!

RosieC said...

Grad school meetings will always involve beer, and there are some fantastic places around here with super cheap microbrews on some random day in the week. Oh, and the 1/2 price martinis.... :) I'm glad you got some peer review there, though. Our meetings involve tons of bitching and prof-slamming, but we're all "too busy" to possible peer-edit for someone else. It's kind of cut-throat that way.

And that's the extent to my meetings. Minus the one theater banquet I attended in HS, and then swore to never go again. If I wanted to go to a pot luck, I'd invite the people I wanted to hang out with instead of the creepy, stalker guy who never left me alone.

Bitter? Hmm....

lisahgolden said...

Oh my lord I would have been an insufferable witch on the drive home from that team meeting. I am right there with you, taking the good with the bad, but needing a good vent when it's over.


The Lady Who Just Paid $48 for a $15 team shirt because the check bounced

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I break out in hives at meetings. :) I absolutely avoid them like the plague. I'm not sure how I haven't been kicked out as Brownie Scout leader because I haven't been to a single district meeting.

Love those leg warmers though!

CA Heaven said...

Parallell bars were (was?) cool. But I wasn't very good at it. I often fell down on my head in the shoulder rolls because I didn't press the arms out properly >:)))

Cold As Heaven

Erin said...

That is one of the reasons I decided never again to do a high school sport.

Hart Johnson said...

Rosie-my degree was Psych, so the peer review (requiring us to do it for each other) was part of what they were TEACHING us--and once we realized it worked, those of us who liked each other kept at it. (I didn't dislike anybody, but my fellow students were varying degrees of helpful, and so you helped those where the trade-off was most fair)

ACK! Lisa-I've done exactly that with the team shirts... I HATE not making quite enough to fully participate. I usually vent on the blog though... the hubby is either far more loudly annoyed than I (in which case I am either laughing hysterically or trying to get him not to commit murder) or he gets into slanderous stuff for reasons I can't really get behind (blasting liberals, or ranting about mollycoddling)

Elizabeth-that is a superpower in itself--avoiding the district meetings required by Girl Scouts of America--I went to some, but mostly because I was a co-leader and me and my partners had agreed to trade off.

CaH--yeah... head falls and gymnastics go hand in hand!

Erin--Don't give them up just over meetings! Sports are good, in a lot of ways!

Helen Ginger said...

I propose that you and your husband need to have a meeting about these meetings. And have a beer while you talk. And no one takes notes.

Arlee Bird said...

I was very offended by the use of sarcasm in this blog piece. You would never find sarcasm or any attempt at humor on my blog. Blogs should always be serious. I'd like to call a meeting so we can discuss it. There will be beer.

Tossing It Out

Hart Johnson said...

teehee- Helen I think maybe I will schedule that one!

Lee-*snicker* Yeah, because I can stay serious.