Football Camp in Ireland for $3500. Easy, right?!

Football Camp in Ireland for $3500. Easy, right?

My teenager really loves football.


He eats, sleeps, and breathes football. Especially right now, seeing as it's football season. I like that he is so dedicated to it. It keeps him busy and goal oriented, which is an essential combination for teenagers, I think. He does well with structure and expectations and it spills over into his self discipline and behavior. Football teaches him about teamwork and brotherhood, it humbles him, which, I also think, is essential for teenagers. He doesn't always get played so he learns about disappointment, setting a goal, and never giving up. 


In addition, he also has something to talk about with Grandpa. I hear a male voice saying, "How about those (fill in the team)?" And I turn around and it's my man-child.


Last summer he wanted to go to football camp with his high school. The camp would be in California for a week and include a trip to Six Flags. It sounded like intensive training and bonding with his team mates. It was also almost $400. A chunk, yes. But with the help of relatives, birthday money, some earned money, and parents, he was able to go. Unfortunately, he got a bad sprain on his ankle the first day of practice and was out for the whole week. It was a bummer but he still got to bond with his team.


When he came back he announced that next year the team coaches were talking about a football camp in Ireland. My first reaction was, "Is that a small town in Florida or something?"


Nope. THE IRELAND. Land of green and rainbows and shamrocks. I'm sure it's about much more than that but I'm American and I like to stereotype. 'Murica.


My next reaction was, "They're kidding with you. They HAVE to be kidding."


Then I started hearing more about it. And the cost. $3500. 


And then I said, "Ba ha ha ha ha ha ha! Now, I know they're joking. Who can afford that?"


My son continued to mention the trip and I started to see information circulating about this trip to Ireland. Like from the school football Facebook page. I guess that made it official. This was actually happening.


My son started talking about it with that look in his eye. He wanted to work and save up for it with a year to go. So after football season was over and he had more time, he wanted to start saving for the trip. 


I was still in disbelief that this trip was even happening. And that parents were supposed to fork over money for a trip halfway around the world for football camp.


Then I get an email that the first deposit is due like yesterday. And the next? In December. You know, Christmas season. Another chunk due conveniently after tax season. And the rest due closer to go time. 


I'm calculating in my head. Wondering how this is going to happen. How IS this going to happen?!?! There's talk of fundraising and out of pocket expenses and information sessions I can't attend and this thing is happening but, oh yeah, WE CAN'T AFFORD THIS!


But wait just a damn second! Are parents just paying this, no questions asked?! I'm new to high school sports and the fact that just registering for high school football and uniforms was so expensive shocked me. That was a couple hundred dollars. And my son tries to do odd jobs or save money to contribute to this. But we're talking thousands of dollars now. Are there no parents leading a revolt? How in the hell did we go from California to Ireland!? Am I the weird one questioning this? Do most parents just write out checks, no questions asked?


It must be because the team is going forward with the trip. I talked to my son this morning and he told me he told them he's probably not going because we can't afford it. Which pretty much ripped my heart out. But why should it? It's a ridiculous amount of money! 


I think I'm taking it harder than I should because, again, this is just ridiculous. I would love to be able to send my child to Ireland. I would love that for him. He doesn't go to a private school. We don't even live in a highly taxed neighborhood. We live in a middle income neighborhood and school district. I guess the football team coaches and coordinators don't know that or maybe it's just me. But, thank you, football program, for making me feel like shit about this with your big plans about football camp in Ireland. Who do I blame for this? Can I blame the coaches? Can I blame the school district? Tom Cruise? Obama?

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