If you’re a Mary Persons’ sports parent, it happens a lot. It happened again on Friday.
And I think it has a lot to do with why our schools are No. 9 in the state. Let me explain.
I have a daughter on the girls soccer team. And I have a son on the boys team.
My wife and I don’t miss many games. Or, any games, really. We like sports, and we like our kids — most of the time.
So on Friday we trekked to McDonough High School to play the Warhawks. The good thing about having a boy and girl soccer player is that the teams play at the same place and time nearly every time. That’s usually pretty convenient, except on Friday night — when it was 35 degrees and windy. We were pretty much the only ones who had to brace against the cold for all three hours.
Make that four hours. I had to get there early to take photos for our Spring Sports Preview, coming out next week.
As kickoff approached, our little group of MP parents filled a small section of the new stadium at the brand-new school. We don’t take attendance, but we all know each other, and get to know each other even better running together on the hamster wheel that is high school soccer — two games per week for three months.
But as we gazed around the stadium, we didn’t see any parents from the home team in McDonough. Maybe they were smarter than we were and just calculated the cold weather wasn’t worth it. Or maybe since the school is new they weren’t sure where it was located. Or maybe they knew the likely result (10-0 and 6-2, both for Mary Persons) and didn’t want to see it.
I don’t want to make assumptions about why they weren’t there.
But again, this is not the exception for MP parents.
My son also played JV basketball this year. We went to watch a game at Taylor County, which had a gym without central heat and air. It was one of those warm January nights, and I almost passed out from the heat. But one thing about it: the visitors from Forsyth had more parents, by far, than home-standing Taylor County.
We played at Howard. Same thing.
And then there’s football. There aren’t many road games where Bulldog fans do NOT outnumber the home crowd.
And no, you can’t just blame social-economic status. Last fall MP played at The Lovett School in the wealthiest section of Atlanta. Tuition there is about $25,000 per year. When a thunderstorm required the teams to resume the game on Saturday, Bulldog fans again far outnumbered the home-standing Lions.
Yes, all these examples pull from sports. But you can read on the front page this week about two MP students who won a trip to California this past weekend with a very timely science fair project about Plant Scherer that wowed the judges. Trust me, their families were involved too.
Mary Persons has good leadership with Dr. Jim Finch. It has good teachers. And like the rest of society, lots of our teens come from broken homes, or from families that are not very involved.
But anecdotal evidence suggests we have enough families who are involved to make our high school a cut above. Just watch the band parents work the concessions at football games and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
“There are two — and only two — keys to educational success,” writes noted educational attorney Michael Farris. “Hard work and parental involvement.”
So that’s why, even if my teeth are chattering and I can’t feel my toes, you’ll find me on the sideline at my kids’ next game. Speaking of which, we’re about to kickoff against Northside Warner Robins. Gotta go!