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Soccer Initiation? Why does this feel wrong to me?


SKL
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I got an email from my 14yo's soccer coach saying that they are going to have a surprise initiation for the 9th and 10th graders, starting around 10:30pm Tuesday.  Coach said she will chaperone as the upperclassmen go retrieve each of the underclassmen from their homes for an "evening" of fun.  She assures us there will be no hazing.  Activities are to include water balloons, pizza, movies, and tent camping.  Sounds OK, right?

So today I got a text from one of the "upperclassmen."  She says she and two other girls are going to come pick my kid up between 1:25 and 1:35 am.  No mention of the coach being present.

Isn't there a saying that nothing good happens after midnight?

I was inclined to give permission for my daughter to participate in this, as she has not really made friends at soccer, and it's one of the reasons she gives for not really enjoying the activity.  I figured a night dedicated to girl bonding could only help matters.  But I wasn't expecting the night to start at 1:30am??  And is it even legal for minor teens to be driving other teens around in the middle of the night?  [I'm assuming the driver is a minor if she's an entering senior.]

I'm also concerned about how my daughter is going to handle the "surprise" element.  She doesn't like surprises, doesn't like camping, and is an introvert with OCD.  The happy-go-lucky "throw a bag together and hop in the car" when she thought she was going to be sleeping?  Not the best fit.  She also has a lot of homework that she's been working on in the late evenings after band camp, soccer practice, and pup duty.  She isn't likely to get any sleep before the 1:30am pickup time.

Plus, I will have to clean the house before these people come over, and my puppy is likely to go nuts hearing strangers in the house in the wee hours.

Whose bright idea was this??

I was thinking maybe I should spill the beans so that my daughter can mentally and physically prepare for an overnight, and so that I can give her advice on what to do should the other girls make very bad choices.  But if I spill the beans, what if she refuses to go?  Ugh.  Why can't anything just be simple?

What do you all think of this?  What would you do?

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I know groups for whom it would be innocent fun.  I know groups for whom it would be NOT innocent fun - and I wouldnt' trust claims of "not hazing" as far as I could throw them.

Frankly - it seems odd. - and why do you have to clean your house before they come?

and lastly - mom gut.  What does it say?    Trust the gut.

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Because it is wrong, and you know it.  I’m hoping it is a typo of a missing zero from the upper class student.  I actually just finished my team manager training for our soccer club - and yes, it is setting off alarms because it should be. Yes, say something to the coach.  This isn’t right.

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27 minutes ago, gardenmom5 said:

I know groups for whom it would be innocent fun.  I know groups for whom it would be NOT innocent fun - and I wouldnt' trust claims of "not hazing" as far as I could throw them.

Frankly - it seems odd. - and why do you have to clean your house before they come?

and lastly - mom gut.  What does it say?    Trust the gut.

The girls said "would you have your door unlocked or have you stay up when we pick her up?"  Not sure what that even means, but it sounds like they are planning to come inside my house.  Now that I think about it, how would that even work?  They don't know our floor plan.  ???  Am I missing something obvious here?

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, J-rap said:

No way.  That's a no-go for me.  That seems nuts.  Probably, it's illegal as well.

Coach says they got the cops to allow the late night water balloons at the school.  (I hope that would mean there would be cops monitoring?)  Then the campout would be in one of the seniors' backyards.

Edited by SKL
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1 minute ago, SKL said:

The girls said "would you have your door unlocked or have you stay up when we pick her up?"  Not sure what that even means, but it sounds like they are planning to come inside my house.  Now that I think about it, how would that even work?  They don't know our floor plan.  ???  Am I missing something obvious here?

They are probably planning to sneak in to her room and "kidnap" her. I put that in quotes because it isn't a real kidnapping; I have heard of fake "kidnappings" for bachelor and bachelorette parties, where the friends bust in, are like "woohoo! We're stealing you for a night/weekend of fun!", and they grab the bride or groom in pajamas, and off they go to an undisclosed location for a surprise party weekend.  

It's one thing for 20-something established friends to do this sort of thing, but a bunch of minors in the wee hours of the am? No way would I agree to this. I'd call the coach because they may not be fully aware of what is planned. 

 

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7 minutes ago, SKL said:

Coach says they got the cops to allow the late night water balloons at the school.  (I hope that would mean there would be cops monitoring?)  Then the campout would be in one of the seniors' backyards.

I still say no.  Is this a school team?

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8 minutes ago, LucyStoner said:

10PM?  Sure.  Whatever. 

1:30AM?  WTAF? 

Freshmen are like 14 years old.  What is the coach smoking that makes her think this is a reasonable plan?  

Yeah ... I was thinking maybe I'm underestimating my 14yo ... I mean, she's done scout campouts where they blabbed for hours into the night, but it didn't start at such an ungodly hour.  And it wasn't a surprise.

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3 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

They are probably planning to sneak in to her room and "kidnap" her. I put that in quotes because it isn't a real kidnapping; I have heard of fake "kidnappings" for bachelor and bachelorette parties, where the friends bust in, are like "woohoo! We're stealing you for a night/weekend of fun!", and they grab the bride or groom in pajamas, and off they go to an undisclosed location for a surprise party weekend.  

It's one thing for 20-something established friends to do this sort of thing, but a bunch of minors in the wee hours of the am? No way would I agree to this. I'd call the coach because they may not be fully aware of what is planned. 

 

Oh dear ... my kid might beat the crap out of them without realizing it ....

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I sent the coach a brief email checking whether the time was what she expected, and whether she's actually going to be present to chaperone during the drive.  Let's see what she says.

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24 minutes ago, SKL said:

The girls said "would you have your door unlocked or have you stay up when we pick her up?"  Not sure what that even means, but it sounds like they are planning to come inside my house.  Now that I think about it, how would that even work?  They don't know our floor plan.  ???  Am I missing something obvious here?

wow.   Unless I had 100% trust, no way.

it sounds like your mom gut isn't comfortable with this.

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My church group did this when I was a teenager. I was a shy kid, the fact that my mom was “in on it”, and there was three strangers in my home at 5 in the morning totally overwhelmed my ability to say no. I do not recollect the experience fondly. At all.

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Any school associated activity would have required a permission slip. Was there one of those? Did you actually talk to the coach yourself? Or just communicate through email which she initiated? Have you talked to any of the other parents? Did you verify that the police okayed the breaking of curfew? Even if they did there is no way they could have vacated the laws regarding teenage driving. This all sounds very fishy to me. Given all of the weirdness and your dd's likely disposition about it, I would just gracefully decline.

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Even as someone who loves camping and used to love all nighters as a teen, I’d have been furious.

My own kids? I could *maybe* picture them being cool with it IF it was a few besties involved. Team kids they weren’t already close to? They’d think the world went mad and probably reach for a weapon of some sort!

I don’t understand the need to try to recreate stupid movies. Plan a camp out, fine. Even plan to start in the middle of the night if that kind of “scandalous” feeling is cool. But I hate unnecessary shenanigans, especially when the intent, no matter how you spin it, IS to freak people out, even for just a couple of minutes.

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My first question to the coach would be: where do they expect to get pizza at 2am?

It sounds silly, but NOBODY here is open past 11, and having this serious plot hole would make me question the entire plan more in detail.  Because it sounds like you're being lied to on several levels, and I would not be inclined to participate in that.

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I mean, at the high school here a minimum of 2 coaches must be present for all school sport activities. The cross country team had team parties after school hours but they weren’t school sanctioned (and they were always a team members house and parents were always present). I just can’t imagine the school would willingly take on the liability of having underage students driving around and doing who knows what in the middle of the night.

It would be hard pass from me. And the coaches, athletic director and school principal would get an earful. 

Edited by MEmama
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I participated in something like this when I was a freshmen in the high school varsity band. Yes, they "kidnapped" us at the early hours but they didn't come in the house. We got donuts and juice from a 24 hour grocery store. The band director was present at the school but the upperclassmen (the drum majors and section leaders) were the ones who picked us up from our houses. It really was harmless fun all around.

They asked our parents and our parents were able to say no to the activity. I don't remember there being permission slips but this was back in the early nineties, I might just be not remembering almost 30 years ago or it just might not have been as big of a deal back then. We (the freshmen) all knew it was coming one day during homecoming week but we didn't know which day until it happened. The whole activity centered around welcoming the freshmen, there was no hazing, and making them feel part of the group and school spirit was a big part too. The kids of the parents who didn't consent to the "kidnapping" part didn't miss out on all of it. The activities ran into the school day the next day as, like I said, ours was during homecoming week.

I participated and it was fun but I don't know if I would let my kid do it today. It would really depend on the circumstances and how well I knew the adults involved.

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Hell no. 
The coach/team is asking for WAY too much trust from people you and your kid really don’t know at all, in circumstances designed for things to go off the rails and (at the very least), not be fun for your kid. Way too much could go wrong with minors “kidnapping” and driving after 1:00 am. 
 

ETA: if the time were 7:00 pm, my answer would be different. But not much past that, time-wise, for me. 
 

 

Edited by Happy2BaMom
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Ugh how weird.  
 

I would tell my kid and let her pull the plug for one.   I would also wait and see what the coach said.  I can see wanting to let your kid do a team building thing but ugh so poorly thought out.  I think it is weird the coach said 10:30 and these teens said 1:30.   

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I would hate that but I have heard of such things. But seriously I would be so mad and I would feel pressured to go along with it and that would make me so mad. I get so frustrated when I have to say “no” to things that never should have been approved or conceived by other adults. 
 

But I do remember an episode of Gilmore Girls where this was a story line and the mom told the daughter in advance. So the girl had presentable pajamas on and was ready for it while the other girl who had been surprised had zit cream all over her face. So maybe if you decide to go along with it you could blunt the surprise part of it. I probably would. 

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I'd definitely contact the coach and see if she is aware. I'd not be cool with the super late hours (and lack of details re: their plans). I wouldn't love the coach's 10:30 idea...but I'd go with it. It sounds organized and relatively safe. 

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4 hours ago, Carol in Cal. said:

This sounds like a recipe for a whole bunch of idiotic trouble for no good reason.

Carol is spot on!

The coach has a lot of liability in this and the school would be on the hook financially because it is for school sponsored team so our district would not allow it. If the School district did not approve it ahead of the event, the coach would be fired immediately.

Unfortunately, despite the illegality, many of our high school seniors drink alcohol. 1:00 am and driving is a bad, bad mix here for teens. Over the years we have had a lot of terrible car accidents with teens driving that time of night.

This would be not only a very hard NO, but the fact that the coach planned this would cause me to pull my kid out of the sport. That kind of total lack of judgment makes me think this adult should not be in charge of minors.

Trust your gut, SKL. It is nagging you for a reason!

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If it were at 8:30, with reasonable organization and adult supervision, I'd be okay with the idea, but I'd still warn my dd. Nobody here would like that kind of surprise, and everybody has plans for timing schoolwork and other responsibilities. Dropping a bomb in the middle of those plans would not go over well. Keeping people (me!) up all night would not go over well. Dd would be justifiably furious if I let people surprise her in the middle of the night.

I suspect this kind of prank is more fun for the ones planning it than for the newbies/victims.

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5 hours ago, SKL said:

Coach says they got the cops to allow the late night water balloons at the school.  (I hope that would mean there would be cops monitoring?)  Then the campout would be in one of the seniors' backyards.

I seriously doubt cops will be there monitoring a water balloon fight. The coach probably just gave them a heads up in case they drive by and see a bunch of kids running around in the middle of the night, or if any neighbors call in and complain.

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So, let me be sure I understand:

1. School is already in session but they want to keep a 14 yo student up all night on a school night? 
2. You aren't sure who (outside of two senior girls) will be coming to pick up your dd? 
3. Is there a law in your state that those under the age of 18 can only drive one other non-relative minor in the car? (There is in ours)
4. They want to just sneak into your house and find your dd and take her? That is so bizarre. I'm pretty sure around here someone would shoot them.
5. What about the others sleeping in your house? They are assuming they won't wake them up?
6. So, basically you are agreeing to strangers coming to your house at 1:30 am and removing your dd - theoretically without her advance knowledge? 
7. Is there not a curfew for those under 18 in your area? Why would this not be against that law?
8. Who is responsible if there is *any* accident? Auto accident? Fall with broken leg stumbling around in the dark? Your dog bites one of the intruders? 

This just seems like a bad idea. There are better ways, IMHO, building relationships with the team members. Go play paintball on the weekend. Go play bowling on a weeknight. Go play games. Go legit camping on Friday night and tell stories around the campfire. 


 

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18 minutes ago, Innisfree said:

If it were at 8:30, with reasonable organization and adult supervision, I'd be okay with the idea, but I'd still warn my dd. Nobody here would like that kind of surprise, and everybody has plans for timing schoolwork and other responsibilities. Dropping a bomb in the middle of those plans would not go over well. Keeping people (me!) up all night would not go over well. Dd would be justifiably furious if I let people surprise her in the middle of the night.

I suspect this kind of prank is more fun for the ones planning it than for the newbies/victims.

This. Sure to be the one doing it to someone is all fun for the seniors who know in advance and plan their life around it so no big whoop to them. It sucks to high heaven for the victim who may have a test the next day, had other plans, doesn't do well with being out so late/all night and would never choose to do such a thing or had a nasty headache the day before, or who has anxiety, or........

Personally, I would probably punch someone in the face. Not kidding. If I am in a deep sleep, and someone who does not live in my house sneaks into my room that late at night and tries to grab me, fight or flight is going to kick in, and somebody is getting hurt. It is just such a stupid stupid thing to do! They better knock on that bedroom door and identify without turning that door knob. And then I would probably tell those dumb seniors to buzz off. What kind of adult plans this for minors to do? I just cannot wrap my brain around it! I could not convince myself after this, that the coach is a human being that should be in charge of a bunch of teens.

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This would be a hard no for me and I am probably on the far-lenient side for this board.  Something is fishy here.  No coach in their legal right mind would go along with this.  Even 10:30, which I might be technically OK with, seems like a big stretch these days.  

Also, if the coach is really in on this, I would be very watchful of hazing.  The fact that she explicitly stated "no hazing" is a flag for me.  My public high school marching band was also "no hazing."  I have never witnessed worse or more brutal hazing than I did during band camp.....and I was Greek in college so that is saying something.  Withholding food, water, sunscreen, and feminine products, restricting access to the showers and toilets, stealing essential clothing items, filling all shoes with shampoo, super glue in hair.  That was just the girls.  The boys got it much MUCH worse.  Luckily, I was not a target....only because I had some upper classmen friends in high places.  Kids are crafty.  The adult leaders and chaperones really had no idea what was going on right under their noses.  A lawsuit years later finally revealed the extent of the issue and the scars it left on some of my classmates followed them all four years of high school.  This was modeled after similar behavior in some of the famous state school marching bands at that time as some sort of character-building thing.  Don't assume that just because adults are "supervising" that hazing is not happening.

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I’d only let my child go if everyone on the team has read the book Boundaries.

J/K

I’d talk to the coach again and clear up any questions I have. But I’d lean toward letting her go. Events like this sometimes end up being some of the favorite memories among teammates.

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3 hours ago, HomeAgain said:

My first question to the coach would be: where do they expect to get pizza at 2am?

It sounds silly, but NOBODY here is open past 11, and having this serious plot hole would make me question the entire plan more in detail.  Because it sounds like you're being lied to on several levels, and I would not be inclined to participate in that.

Order ahead? Get it just before the pizza joint closes?

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I am usually among the very lenient boardies, but this would be completely ridiculous to me. Heck, I wouldn't want some stranger to drag me out of bed for whatever fun adventure. This is nuts. And crosses sooo many boundaries. Have they ever heard the word "consent"?

If the coach is in on this, they have a screw lose.

Edited by regentrude
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When I was 14 a group picked us up early in the morning . My mom alerted me so I was wearing appropriate clothing . She might want to sleep in her sweats . But the whole thing is off to me in the middle of the night . 

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Another super lenient boardie who would not be chill about this.

There are situations where I'd consider a surprise "kidnapping" for an initiation thing, but this is just every single box check of no. Like, showing up during family dinner to whisk the kid off to play games and camp in the name of team bonding... okay. Showing up in the middle of the night to scare a kid awake and whisk them off? Um, no.

Like others, I'd also be wary that the coach agreed to this.

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16 minutes ago, pinball said:

Order ahead? Get it just before the pizza joint closes?

People who expect my 14yo to ride around in the middle of the night with an inexperienced driver don't seem to have the thought process to order ahead.

But yeah, the pizza is the first domino to fall in this plan and reveal the rest of the plot holes.

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Sleep deprivation is hazing. 

I would reply saying “I am not sure if DD will be available, but just to clarify, this is 10:25 - 10:35 correct?  And include the coach.

1:25 in a car with a teen driver I don’t know would be a hard no from me.  10:25, I would warn my daughter, let her choose, and be happy to claim “family obligation”.

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6 minutes ago, HomeAgain said:

People who expect my 14yo to ride around in the middle of the night with an inexperienced driver don't seem to have the thought process to order ahead.

But yeah, the pizza is the first domino to fall in this plan and reveal the rest of the plot holes.

LOL

”I think you’re too unorganized to order pizza!”

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The more I think about this, the stupider it seems.  Starting with bursting into someone's room in the middle of the night and "kidnapping" them.  That alone could be a pretty frightening few moments.  No, no, no.

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I've heard of people doing this for bday parties, where a parent comes to pick up the attendees around 8/9:00. I always thought it sounded fun, a sleepover with your closest friends. But middle of the night and being picked up by teen drivers that I don't even know? That would be the part I'd be most uncomfortable with. I'm interested in what the coach has to say. 

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