Wet Blanket Award #4: AYSO
AYSO (American Youth Soccer Organization) is jokingly referred to by parents as "All Your Saturdays Occupied." You can't go anywhere around Palo Alto (my hometown) without seeing countless kids in neon jerseys and matching socks, either en route to a game or headed home.
The time demand on families is considerable. There's the official stuff like practices and games and volunteer refereeing and coaching. And the less official tasks of snack assignments, banner set-up, ball transport, locating two matching cleats on game day, etc., etc. But it's your kids. And it's soccer. So you cheer from the sidelines and you might even alter your family laundry day to work with the schedule.
Yet AYSO receives this month's uncoveted Wet Blanket Award for the dreaded Picture Day. Every year, one poor parent (last year it was yours truly) accepts the unhappy task of trying to schedule their team's slot for team pictures. Ideally you want it to be about an hour before a game when kids are already suited up in their uniforms, but not yet sweaty. Your likelihood for getting this time slot is about equal to finding those Publisher's Clearinghouse folks on your doorstep.
So you email your team, telling them of the highly inconvenient time slot you've been assigned, and every family groans and moans.
Then 12 players waste time getting into their uniform and 12 parents waste time (and gas!) driving to the Photo Day location. According to the AYSO website, there are 6,000,000 (yes, that's SIX MILLION) registered players. Imagine the mind-boggling time- and energy-suck every single one of them suffers, thanks to Picture Day.
Here's the clincher: all these families have phones with cameras and likely have digital cameras at home. A google search for "online photo sharing" yields 46 million results. We live in an age where getting a good shot of a team is monkey simple and can be done right before the game, right at the field, with everyone's photos available to them THAT VERY DAY.
Won't someone please blow the whistle on this insanity?