Parents Master Art of Schedule Juggling

By Pam Shebest
Special for

October 18, 2016

If it’s Tuesday, it must be volleyball — or is it soccer or maybe swimming?

Time to check the calendar, the phone app or the white board.

To keep up with two or more students involved in different sports in the same season, families have devised their own ways for keeping track of schedules.

The Carpenters, who have sons Matthew and Alex at Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Prep, use several calendars, including a master schedule in the kitchen.

The Perkins, whose daughters Lauren and Audrey attend Mattawan High School, rely mostly on the phone app Cozi to keep schedules straight.

For the parents, it’s a question of logistics and juggling, which sometimes takes a lot of creativity.

“We have electronic calendars and paper calendars to look at every morning,” dad Tim Carpenter said. “We talk about who’s going where and who’s going to do what at the start of each day to figure it out.

“I keep a sports calendar to share with all the family so they can see the different things going on. If we are ever home at night without a game, it’s a strange feeling.”

Besides the composite kitchen calendar, “We also have our iPhone calendar so we both can see one another’s calendar at the same time,” mom Julie Carpenter said.

“It’s pretty much Monday through Saturday, some game or practice. Sunday it’s Mass, groceries and laundry.”

The Perkins use a phone organizer app called Cozi.

“We try to get all the schedules in there so everybody knows where everybody else is,” mom Valerie Perkins said. “I usually have a white board on the kitchen counter that I update weekly, and it kind of tracks who’s got what when. 

“The girls’ meets are on opposite days. Like Audrey will have something on Monday, Wednesday and Lauren has Tuesday and Thursday. Occasionally they both have Saturdays. Then we divide and conquer, for sure.”

With five children, the Carpenters try to split time evenly between all the activities.

Matthew, a senior, is Hackett’s soccer goalkeeper and Alex, a sophomore, plays junior varsity football. Oldest son, Josh, a sophomore at Michigan Tech, plays broom ball – and while his parents don’t travel to watch him play, the games are webcast during the winter.

The activities won’t end soon. Bennett, a sixth grader and Bethany, a third grader, both at St. Augustine in Kalamazoo, also are involved in sports.

The Carpenters try to attend all of their children’s games together, but sometimes that is not possible. 

In that case, “We usually base it on who’s closer,” Tim Carpenter said. “If there’s one game south near where I work in Portage (at MANN+HUMMEL), I’ll usually go to that.

“If Julie (who works at Borgess-ProMed Physician Pediatrics in Richland) has only seen one of Alex’s games and I’ve seen two, she’ll go to Alex’s. We try to keep it even.”

Both parents were introduced to new sports once their sons got involved.

“(Our sons) haven’t done tennis or golf,” Julie Carpenter said. “Soccer’s got more action and excitement; basketball is similar. Skiing was neat because it’s such a close-knit community. Cross country was fun because it was a very team environment.

“I had not seen cross country before, but when Josh started cross country it was really exciting because we thought ‘OK, how much can you get out of cross country as a spectator?’ It was pretty exciting for us just to run from spot to spot. They’re such a close-knit group of kids.”

Whether there are five children or two, as in the Perkins family, parents face the same dilemma: trying to juggle work, practices and events.

“We usually try to trade off so we get an even mix of seeing the girls,” said Valerie Perkins, who works at Bronson Urology in Kalamazoo. “Sometimes Rob’s schedule dictates that. Sometimes it’s who’s ever closest.”

Rob Perkins, who works at TRW in Mattawan, said sometimes there’s a glitch. 

“When they give us advance warning of what’s going on and it doesn’t change, then I can work around it,” he said. 

“The only time it gets frustrating is when something changes at the very last minute, or maybe it was always the same and the girls’ stories change at the last minute,” he added, laughing.

Neither parent was familiar with the sports their daughters chose.

“With dive, Lauren started in eighth grade, so it evolved from a summer camp and she really enjoyed it,” Rob Perkins said. “We kind of fell into Kyle Oberhill, who’s the diving coach for (Kalamazoo College) and he manages the facilities for Western (Michigan University).

“He’s just really easy-going. (Lauren) excelled in it right away. As a freshman, she broke the school record. That kind of kept her motivated to keep going.”

Oberhill also had a workshop for parents to explain the intricacies of competitive diving, and that helped. Audrey, meanwhile, took on another sport new to her parents when she started playing volleyball in seventh grade.

“We didn’t know much about it, but the important thing to know about it is she enjoys it,” her dad said.

Rob Perkins said it would be much easier if volleyball and dive were not in the same season, but there is an upside.

“I would say, generally speaking, being in sports certainly builds their self-confidence, keeps them occupied.”

Their mother said she can see a positive influence of sports on their girls.

“I think sports have definitely improved them,” she said. “They’ve learned how to become leaders and work as a team, and I really appreciate that.

“I can see it develop in both of them over the years. Both are captains of their teams.”

And both sets of athletes said it’s important to see their parents at their games.

“It gives me more confidence,” Alex Carpenter said, “and makes me feel good that they want to see me play.” 

Pam Shebest served as a sportswriter at the Kalamazoo Gazette from 1985-2009 after 11 years part-time with the Gazette while teaching French and English at White Pigeon High School. She can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Calhoun, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties.

PHOTOS: (Top) Mattawan parents Rob and Valerie Perkins cheer on their daughter Lauren during a recent swimming & diving meet. (Middle top) The Carpenters, clockwise from top left: Tim, Julie, Alex and Matthew. (Middle) The Perkins daughters, Lauren (left) and Audrey. (Middle below) Matthew, the Hackett soccer goalkeeper, looks to pass after gathering up a loose ball. (Below) Lauren Perkins dives during a meet. (Lauren Perkins head shot by Becky Anderson Photography, all other photos by Pam Shebest.) 

This Week in High School Sports: 3/20/24

By Jon Ross
MHSAA Director of Broadcast Properties

March 20, 2024

This week's edition reviews the MHSAA Boys Basketball Finals and awards Game Balls to high achievers in Girls Basketball Regionals.

MI Student AidThe 5-minute program each week includes feature stories from or network affiliates, along with "Be the Referee," a 60-second look at the fine art of officiating.

"This Week in High School Sports" is powered by MI Student Aid, a division within the Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential (MiLEAP).

Listen to this week's show by Clicking Here.

Previous Editions

March 13: Hockey, Gymnastics, Boys Swim & Dive Finals review, Tyrone Wheatley - Listen
March 6:
Individual Wrestling, Competitive Cheer & Bowling Finals review - Listen
Feb. 28:
Team Wrestling, Girls & Boys Skiing Finals review - Listen
Feb. 21:
Boys Basketball Tournament preview, Upper Peninsula Swimming & Diving Finals review - Listen
Feb. 14:
Saginaw High/Arthur Hill boys basketball rivalry, Student Advisory Council - Listen
Feb. 7:
MHSAA/Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete Awards, Charles E. Forsythe Award honoree - Listen
Jan. 31:
Girls sports participation, MHSAA Wrestling Tournament schedule - Listen
Jan. 24:
MHSAA Women in Sports Leadership Conference, Hillman basketball's Trenton Taratuta - Listen
Jan. 10:
Doug Towler's ice hockey coaching record, 2023-24 officials registration news - Listen
Jan. 3: 
MHSAA Girls & Boys Basketball Tournament schedules, Finals dates for all winter sports - Listen
Nov. 22: 
MHSAA Girls Volleyball, 8-Player Football and Lower Peninsula Girls Swimming & Diving Finals reviews - Listen
Nov. 15: Football record breakers, 2022-23 MHSAA postseason attendance - Listen
Nov. 8:
MHSAA Boys Soccer, Lower Peninsula Cross Country Finals reviews - Listen
Nov. 1:
MHSAA Girls Volleyball Tournament schedule, Football Playoffs first-round review - Listen
Oct. 26:
Lower Peninsula Girls Golf Finals, Boys Tennis Finals review - Listen
Oct. 18:
MHSAA Football Playoff selection, Bear Lake football coach Sam Mullet - Listen
Oct. 11:
Upper Peninsula soccer, MHSAA sports participation excels nationally - Listen
Oct. 4:
Jackson Lumen Christi's Herb Brogan, MHSAA Sportsmanship Summits - Listen
Sept. 24:
All-woman football officiating crew, Powers North Central's record winning streak ends - Listen
Sept. 21:
35th MHSAA/Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete Awards, Grass Lake QB Brayden Lape - Listen
Sept. 14:
Athletic director education, MHSAA video library - Listen
Sept. 7:
Adjustments to 11-player football, boys soccer Finals schedules - Listen
Aug. 31:
New out-of-state opponents rules, football record book updates - Listen
Aug. 24: coverage ramps up, "Made in Michigan" tells us where they are now - Listen