two events on same day, wedding or baseball game
July 8, 2016 7:44 AM   Subscribe

should my son attend the game or wedding?

Some background, my son committed to playing on a very competitive summer team this season - a team that had to make significant and painful cuts to get down to their final number. Prior to joining the team all players were asked if they had any conflicts on any dates in July and August, we said no. A yes would be factored in to the decision to place a player on the team. This was in the begging of May, in the middle of May sister in law announced she was getting married in July. It turns out many of her family members were going to be in town for a separate wedding so she decided to have it then for their convenience. We were never consulted to see if we had a conflict even though she knew about the team. As it turns out, the schedule gods shined on us and we had that day free, unfortunately the rain gods had other ideas and just pushed the game to the exact time of the wedding. It's impossible to do both (wedding a 3 hour+ drive away). The game is a playoff game and my son is an integral part of the team, not going to the game will cause a rift and jeopardize his placement on the same team next year. My wife thinks he should play because he made this commitment along with all the other players on the team and has to follow through on it, but I cannot get my head around the fact that this is a once in a lifetime experience. What to do?
posted by any major dude to Human Relations (62 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
How old is your son?
posted by tchemgrrl at 7:46 AM on July 8, 2016

Response by poster: 12
posted by any major dude at 7:48 AM on July 8, 2016

Does your son have a way to get to the game without you, or is this question also about which event YOU will end up attending based on what your son does?
posted by phatkitten at 7:50 AM on July 8, 2016 [5 favorites]

Let him decide for himself?
posted by mattamatic at 7:50 AM on July 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

Leave your son with a teammate for the day, and go to the wedding. Let him play the game.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:51 AM on July 8, 2016 [47 favorites]

Response by poster: We could have him stay with friends. If we let him decide he's going to pick the game, we are not at that point yet.
posted by any major dude at 7:52 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

My wife thinks he should play because he made this commitment along with all the other players on the team and has to follow through on it, but I cannot get my head around the fact that this is a once in a lifetime experience.

For a 12-year-old, the wedding of a relative is generally less 'a once in a lifetime experience' than 'a boring and frustrating ordeal.'
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:53 AM on July 8, 2016 [191 favorites]

I can think of nothing more boring and painful for a 12 year old than a wedding. Assuming he can attend the game without you, let him play the game.

When he's 40 he's not going to remember some wedding he went to when he was 12, but he might remember the time his team made the playoffs.
posted by bondcliff at 7:53 AM on July 8, 2016 [95 favorites]

Your SIL can get married without your son. The team can't play without him. I think it would be nice for him to have one parent at the game. The other parent can go to the wedding.
posted by Ideefixe at 7:54 AM on July 8, 2016 [19 favorites]

If he wants to play the game, he should play the game. This isn't just any old season game, and it's not so important that a 12-year-old attend a wedding. If he were an adult, my answer might be different (although probably not), but frankly, I think this one is pretty clear.
posted by holborne at 7:55 AM on July 8, 2016 [5 favorites]

Leave your son with a teammate/friend for the day so he can play in the game, you and your wife go to the wedding.

When I was about that age I had to go to a once-in-a-lifetime-experience wedding for a family member and missed out on going on vacation with a friend's family. Fun fact: not a once in a lifetime experience, it turns out.
posted by phunniemee at 7:55 AM on July 8, 2016 [67 favorites]

I would let him go to the game, unless for some reason he would strongly prefer to go to the wedding. SIL is probably not going to care that her BIL's 12-year-old son missed her wedding, and even if she does she should be able to understand that he has a prior commitment and that other people are counting on him.

The wedding will be fine without him. The game may not, since you say he is an important part of the team. The game is also the prior commitment. This seems pretty clear-cut to me.

Again, the only thing that would make a difference to me is if for some reason he really would prefer to go to the wedding rather than the game. I doubt that's the case (a 12-year-old boy probably doesn't care very much about this wedding) but if he really wants to go then I'd say it's a big enough thing that he should be allowed to do so.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 7:57 AM on July 8, 2016 [4 favorites]

Please let him play. This is not something he had any control over, and he will (rightfully) be a very unhappy kid if you force him to go to the wedding.
posted by Dolley at 7:57 AM on July 8, 2016 [27 favorites]

Also depending on just how serious he is about baseball, jeopardizing his spot on this team might be a once-in-a-lifetime mistake that closes the door on other opportunities.
posted by yeahlikethat at 7:57 AM on July 8, 2016 [6 favorites]

And really, to be honest about it: the wedding of his father's sister-in-law is not something you need to be thinking of as a "once in a lifetime experience" for a 12-year-old kid. A wedding is really not such a big deal; it's a party, and that's really all it is. "Once in a lifetime experience" is something like seeing the Egyptian pyramids or meeting the President.
posted by holborne at 7:58 AM on July 8, 2016 [41 favorites]

Duuuuude, just let him play the game. He's not trying to weasel out of a family commitment, he's trying to live up to a promise he made to his team. Maybe - MAYBE - give him some $ to buy a small thing off the registry and/or make him write a heartfelt card about how sad he is that he can't make it. MAYBE. He's 12!
posted by Juliet Banana at 8:00 AM on July 8, 2016 [21 favorites]

We were never consulted to see if we had a conflict even though she knew about the team.

Maybe ihe isn't like most kids his age and a wedding would be pleasant for him. Still, the game/team/season is so important to your family that you remarked on their lack of effort to schedule around it. So, he should play. Park him with a teammate while you're away for the wedding!
posted by The Noble Goofy Elk at 8:02 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Is this a really kid-friendly wedding? While it sounds like this is a pretty family-centric affair, it may be preferred that the kids stay home (or play baseball in this instance).
posted by thefang at 8:03 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah, going to relatives' weddings is not a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Even as an adult, it's more of an "occasional obligation" rather than a "once-in-a-lifetime experience." A happy obligation most of the time, but hardly something that I'd move mountains for if I had already made a major commitment on that date. Going to this playoff game, however, could genuinely turn out to be something that he remembers for the rest of his life. To a 12-year-old, playing a major role in a high-stakes sporting event is usually a much bigger deal than watching a relative get married.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 8:04 AM on July 8, 2016 [8 favorites]

I cannot get my head around the fact that this is a once in a lifetime experience

A wedding is a once in a lifetime experience? The only once a lifetime wedding experience is your own. No-one else's is ever that good. Especially for a 12 year old.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:05 AM on July 8, 2016 [26 favorites]

Coming at this from the parental perspective as well as the coach's perspective, he should play. As a coach, it's not easy to have to cut kids when pulling teams together and you know you're going to make some kids and their families very unhappy by not putting them on the roster. We ask purposefully if kids will have any scheduling conflicts and understand that life happens, but the unspoken etiquette is short of death, our players make the games and the practices. It's a much higher level of commitment which we expect families to deal with.

There are summer leagues for kids who have a far more relaxed attitude about attending games and practices. This appears to NOT be one of those leagues.

The kid should play ball.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 8:06 AM on July 8, 2016 [6 favorites]

Your wife is right. He made a commitment to the team and it's important to him. This is a no-brainer.
posted by something something at 8:08 AM on July 8, 2016 [16 favorites]

Baseball Game - 100%.

posted by JenThePro at 8:08 AM on July 8, 2016 [9 favorites]

He should play! But who should take him? Is he going to feel ok (supported etc) going with a friend's parent? I have a feeling your SIL will miss you OR your wife. Maybe you can give him a rah rah breakfast and a "lucky" (I don't know, object), and call him right after the game.
posted by cotton dress sock at 8:10 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Also: your SIL is presumably your wife's sister? And your wife thinks the kid should go to the game? Defer to her judgment.
posted by mskyle at 8:12 AM on July 8, 2016 [27 favorites]

I agree with everyone who says that he should play.

Is there some pressure from his aunt to make him attend the wedding? If she is feeling upset because a 12-year-old boy with a schedule conflict can't make the wedding, frankly she needs to worry about, like, her dress and the catering bill instead.
posted by Frowner at 8:13 AM on July 8, 2016 [8 favorites]

The game is the once in a lifetime experience, not the wedding.
posted by signal at 8:13 AM on July 8, 2016 [7 favorites]

Sister in law is your wife's sister, yes? If so and even your wife thinks your kid should do the game, I would defer to her.

Frankly announcing a wedding with only a 2-month lead, people are going to have conflicts.
posted by nakedmolerats at 8:14 AM on July 8, 2016 [13 favorites]

Is your sister in law your wife's sister, i.e. his aunt? How close is their relationship?

I would tell her about the conflict and ask how she would feel about his missing the wedding. She might be fine with it. Honestly, the closer I get to my wedding, the more I hope that people I'm not particularly close to rsvp "no" so we can keep the size under control.
posted by J. Wilson at 8:15 AM on July 8, 2016

If it makes you feel any better about letting your son play: Parents to miss son's wedding for brother's Euro 2016 game
posted by General Malaise at 8:15 AM on July 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

I think you're fine no matter what, though. You didn't have a scheduling conflict; schedule changes to the baseball schedule created one due to weather. So he can miss the game and it's fine. On the other hand, your SIL threw this wedding last minute, and he had committed to this team, so it's fine if he misses that.

On top of all that, he's not going to be in the wedding, and it's a twelve year old's sports team. None of this is really all that important. No one's life will be affected, long term.

So even though I said ask SIL earlier, I also think you can go with what your wife said, or ask your son what he wants to do. It's all fine, really.

What's most important is to make a decision ASAP and five as much notice as possible.
posted by J. Wilson at 8:19 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

I would ask the kid and immediately defer to his judgment. If he seems conflicted and wants help making the decision, I would push towards playing in the game.

When I was 12, I would not have wanted to miss the wedding of any of close family members. But if they aren't close, or weddings are not important in your family, or whatever, it's fine if he plays in the game.
posted by dpx.mfx at 8:19 AM on July 8, 2016

I have been in your son's shoes and so have my children. He should play in the game. First, this is a social decision as much as anything. Your son has a relationship with his teammates. He made a commitment to them and them to him. Not playing will have implications beyond just his talent not being there for the game. When the team is all gathering somewhere and talking about the game, your son will be left out and may even feel that he let the team down. Two, he made a commitment to the team. While rainouts happen and this is not on a scheduled day, the concept of the commitment to the team still holds. Three, while it is not something I can opine on with certainty, a wedding is not a once in a lifetime experience. From your son's point of view, you are asking him to drive 3 hours each way, attend a wedding with a lot of adults and miss an event that is very important to him.

As a kid, my parents made allowances for these types of conflicts. They wanted me to know that I had family obligations that I had to attend to even if I didn't like it, but I also had agency in my own life. I skipped family vacations over the Christmas break so I could practice with my basketball team. I vetoed having a party after my Saturday morning bar mitzvah because I wanted to play on my Little League team (that won the championship that year!) I still remember and appreciate those decisions for both the actual decision and what they meant in terms of my relationship with my parents.

Let him make the decision and let him play.
posted by AugustWest at 8:23 AM on July 8, 2016 [10 favorites]

Unless your son is very close to his aunt (to the point where she's more like an older sister or a second mother to him than an aunt) he should go to the game. Breaking a commitment like your son's is acceptable for weddings of immediate family members (or people so close as to be practically so), not for those of extended family.

SIL's wedding may be (hopefully) a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but her marriage is not. There will be plenty of other times your son can hang out with his aunt and new uncle or aunt.

Winning a baseball championship is also potentially a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

I'll be skipping a cousin's wedding later this year to participate in a competitive team event, on a team I have been playing with for quite some time, for what is roughly a "playoff" game. I will send my regrets and an extra-nice gift.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:24 AM on July 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

When I was 12 I missed my cousin's wedding for a competitive softball tournament. My parents went to the wedding and I got rides with a teammate. 20 years later nobody cares or really remembers. It was fine.
posted by kendrak at 8:24 AM on July 8, 2016 [15 favorites]

Question, how does he handle pressure? Sounds like this is a kind of intense level of competition; even though he's 12, he might feel (and play) better with a parent next to him.

(Disagreeing that a ball game doesn't matter; ball games and recitals etc remain pivotal memories and identity touchstones for me and lots of people I know)
posted by cotton dress sock at 8:24 AM on July 8, 2016

This is a child; lots of people leave their children at home for weddings just because they don't want the kids to be bored or misbehave or distract them from their family obligations. He should certainly go to the game. I do think that at least one member of your family should go to the wedding as well, though. Whether it's one or both depends on the kid and SIL.
posted by tchemgrrl at 8:31 AM on July 8, 2016 [5 favorites]

As the mother of a 13-year-old I say: let him play.
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:39 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

I find weddings tedious as hell and I'm a grownup. Your son made a commitment to his teammates. Presumably he's worked hard to help them get to the playoffs. His absence will likely have a detrimental effect on their performance, and he'll be thinking about that the entire time he'll be attending the "once in a lifetime event" that was planned on extremely short notice. He probably won't enjoy it. Please let him play.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 8:55 AM on July 8, 2016 [6 favorites]

Play ball!
posted by fixedgear at 9:10 AM on July 8, 2016 [6 favorites]

You go to the wedding, he goes to the game.
posted by corb at 9:27 AM on July 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

Have him write a nice card and then go to the game.
posted by mmmleaf at 9:47 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

The only weddings that I consider mandatory for kids are those of their own parents or grandparents, and maybe - maybe - their siblings. I attended exactly one wedding before the age of 18 that didn't fit those parameters, and I've only been to one wedding with kids present who weren't that closely related and also weren't in the wedding.

Anyway, the wedding of an aunt ranks lower than a sporting event where the kid is legitimately needed. Especially when you know there are other kids who lost out on playing because of the commitment to play this specific game.
posted by SMPA at 9:54 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Kind of beating a dead horse, but I'm also voting for the baseball game. It'll mean more to him in the short term, and your SIL is kind of flaky for expecting a big wedding with so little notice.

Personally, I've missed a lot of weddings, with a lot more notice, for a lot worse reasons.
posted by kevinbelt at 10:01 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

If he chooses the game over the wedding and you veto him, he will never forget he missed the game, and he may never forgive you for forcing him to go. Let him go.
posted by cairnoflore at 10:09 AM on July 8, 2016

Having parented three sons who were, at various times, both 12 and on competitive baseball teams I promise you he won't mind missing the wedding but he'll remember not being allowed to participate in a game he committed to for a very long time.

Another way of framing this decision is this. Do you want him to learn to commit to and keep his promises or flake when something better or different comes along?
posted by _Mona_ at 10:27 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

And not to REALLY beat a dead horse, if he goes to the wedding it's quite possible he would not be selected for a competitive league ever again. Word gets around about kids who skip games at that level.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 10:39 AM on July 8, 2016 [5 favorites]

But there isn't a conflict. He (and you, the parents) accepted his position on the team. THEN you found out about the wedding (regardless of rain dates). He committed to the team and its schedule, and so did you. It's not his fault that your sister-in-law decided to get married on that day, and it's not his fault that one of his games got rained out and reassigned to the day of the wedding.

Let him honor his commitments.
posted by cooker girl at 10:39 AM on July 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

I'd totally be in favor of letting him stay home and watch tv over going to a wedding. Playing in an important baseball game vs attending a wedding would be no contest.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:49 AM on July 8, 2016 [6 favorites]

Let him honor his commitment. The only real question is does he want one of you at the game -- at that age I may or may not have cared too much, but he gets to say what he wants. If he wants someone there, then you [presumably this is your wife's sister] can go to the game and she can do the wedding with her sister. If he doesn't care / would prefer to have a buddy adventure with one of his teammates then you guys get to do the wedding sans-kiddo.

I don't really see how either of these outcomes is bad.
posted by Medieval Maven at 11:12 AM on July 8, 2016

Three thoughts here:

1. When I was growing up, this would 100% be a situation where the tween athlete would travel to the game with a teammate's family, potentially sleeping over if necessary. Is something like that an option for you?

2. Keep in mind that in 99% of cases, sports are just a fun activity for kids. Your kid is probably not going to grow up to get sports scholarships to college, go pro, etc. (Unless you know that he is, but in that case I feel like this would not be a question you'd be asking Metafilter.) If the options are "whole family misses a close relative's wedding" vs. "kid doesn't get to play fun game one week, may have to be on a different team next year", I'd probably opt to go to the wedding and let the kid not play a fun game one week/take your chances on next summer.

3. Your kid is 12, which means school varsity teams are a year or so away. How important is it REALLY that they get to participate in the rec league next summer vs. being on a competitive local high school team? Obviously this will depend on how prominent this sport is in your area and whether it "looks better" to be on a competitive rec team vs. the school team, whether not participating in the competitive traveling team helps your chances to make the school team, etc. But, like, keep in mind that next year your kid might not even be playing in this league anymore. Will you be sad that you missed your sister's wedding for a completely inconsequential event in the life of your kid?
posted by Sara C. at 11:21 AM on July 8, 2016

Son does not have to go to his aunt's wedding. He should go to he game.
posted by SLC Mom at 1:17 PM on July 8, 2016

I say let him decide which he attends.

And as for the wedding being a "once in a lifetime" experience, well, consider divorce rates --- an uncle of mine was furious that his son didn't bother to travel cross-country on two days notice to attend 'his own father's wedding!!!': my cousin just shrugged and said he'd been to several OTHER of his father's previous seven weddings.... My point is, just two months notice, when it's A) a kid, and B) he'd already made commitments for that date, and C) there's a good chance this ISN'T a once in a lifetime event, means the kid gets to go play ball.
posted by easily confused at 1:26 PM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

I haven't read every reply so forgive me if this has come up...

I assume the game is in the afternoon? Most weddings (that I go to, granted) are ceremony in later morning or early afternoon and reception in the evening. Can he play the game and then go to the reception? I know you said it's a 3.5 hour drive away, so presumably this would mean one parent (presumably you, as this is your partner's sister?) going to the game and missing the ceremony also.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 1:29 PM on July 8, 2016

Your son should 100% go to the game unless he doesn't want to. Really, the only question in my mind is whether you and/or your wife should also skip the wedding to go to the game. Because this is a once in a lifetime experience for your son, and even if he thinks he's a big kid and doesn't need you there, he might secretly wish you were there. If it were my kid, I'd skip the wedding and go to the game.
posted by decathecting at 1:32 PM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Just to nth everyone, I don't even see how this is a question. He made a commitment to his team — this matters! even when you are 12! — and your SIL planned a wedding two months out. Even if it were just a fun-time league and no one but him cared, he should play the game. If you care that people save time for your wedding, you can't pick a date two months out.
posted by dame at 1:42 PM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Commitment v. No Commitment = Commitment wins.
posted by The World Famous at 1:44 PM on July 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

The game, certainly. Most weddings aren't that fun even for adults, let alone a twelve-year-old boy who would rather be playing ball.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:21 PM on July 8, 2016

Another vote for letting him miss the wedding and play in the game, for sure.
posted by JenMarie at 3:23 PM on July 8, 2016

Your family will be represented at the wedding by you; your son can keep his team commitment.
posted by tel3path at 3:26 PM on July 8, 2016

Divorce stats do not say otherwise. The modal number of marriages per lifetime is still 1. Most marriages do not end in divorce and not everyone whose marriage does end in divorce (or widowhood) remarries.

Furthermore, being at THIS wedding is a once in lifetime experience. For however long this marriage lasts and for however long this aunt and her spouse are part of this family's life, it will be the case that he either did or did not attend their wedding. This IS an important moment in the history of the family. Supporting family during important moments is part of what it means to be family. It's not about whether attending weddings is fun for 12 year olds. Weddings are fun for no one, but when you care about people you support them in their important moments (unless there's a reason you can't) because you love them, not because it's fun.

That doesn't mean that he should skip the game necessarily, but I think the tone of "what's so important about a family wedding, anyway?" devalues both family and marriage. Skip it if there's a good reason to skip it, but don't pretend that nothing important is being missed. Skip it because the game IS really important to your son, not because the wedding isn't.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 11:22 AM on July 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Has anyone brought whether it is likely that this would cause a family rift? Would the sister in law be hurt? (this the child's aunt, yes?) Mefi tends to really undervalue family relationships, which isn't always culturally appropriate. If this happened within my family in Israel, where I'm from, it would be pretty hurtful. He's only 12 - this isn't exactly the MLB, no matter how competitive a league.

If there's good reason to think the family and bride won't really mind, then by all means play ball.
posted by namesarehard at 1:07 PM on July 11, 2016

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