Warning: the sarcasm will ooze, drip and seethe off the path. Be careful not to let it stain your skin.
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.
(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...
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.
BUT HOLY FREAKING MOTHER COW!
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*
*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)