By KATE HUNTER
The schoolbooks are contacted, you’ve filled in the paperwork dealing with allergies, internet use, media permissions, school swimming and library borrowing.
What next? I’ll tell you what’s next: sport sign-on.
It feels like it’s happening earlier and earlier every year. The first hockey / soccer/AFL/netty games don’t even start in my neck of the woods until April, but the battle for recruits is ON!
Each code goes a little earlier every year, trying to beat the others to the punch. I predict that before long there will be rugby sign-on forms placed discreetly in maternity hospital rooms. It’s not surprising; there’s a lot of money at stake. Sign-on fees for junior teams sports are around the $200 mark and then there are uniforms, match fees, sometimes payment for umpires.
We have three kids who will play AFL, netball and hockey respectively. Registration and associated costs added up to the best part of $800. But for our family, that will be it. Other sporting activities will be dropped or at least, suspended until (a) those damn Powerball numbers come up and/or (b) kids can get them to and from matches and training on their own.
One sporting and one cultural activity per term, per kid is the rule in our family. Netball or tennis, not both. Guitar or drama, not both.
If the kids were jumping out of their skins to do more, or my favourite way to spend an afternoon was reading a magazine in a sweaty sports centre, that’s be different. But I’d rather be working, cooking dinner or sticking hot needles under my cuticles.
Gymnastics will be given a swerve for the winter and now that the kids are confident in the pool, swimming gets a no from me too.
I know I might be unusual in this – many families I know have every afternoon and evening accounted for.
Saturdays and Sundays are fully booked until December.
My neighbour has two kids who each have two activities after school every day. Plus home tutoring three times a week. They have a whiteboard bigger than the scoreboard of the MCG.