The art of competitive registering

There are many things I didn’t know would become part of my life when I became a parent. One was how competitive it is to get your kids into the programs you and/or they want. What do the kids of laid-back, non-competitive-type parents do? I’m guessing they get into the “register anytime” camps that never fill up – like maybe math camp or running camp? Maybe not the worst options – back to that in a sec.

Meanwhile, last Saturday’s date had been marked in my calendar for a month as the date on which to register my son for ball-hockey in the Spring. He really wanted to do it. I’d visited the website and gotten as far as I could with setting him up with a user name and password, but the registration would be locked until 8 a.m. on Saturday morning. I knew I would be on the road with my kids at precisely that time, so I enlisted my husband to do the registering. The problem is, I didn’t really have the heart to tell him how obsessive and competitive you have to be in order to even have a chance of getting in. I did say “register at 8 a.m. sharp” and left it at that. I didn’t say “have at least two computers going with the registration page open twice on each (in case of freezing or some other weird glitch), start at 7:50 with lots of coffee and adrenaline, have everything ready to go at 7:58, and start repeatedly pushing the ‘refresh’ button on all four screens simultaneously (bonus if you can also be calling to get in that way – sometimes they let you but it’s always busy so you have to keep hanging up and dialing again) and keep doing all of this from 7:58 to 8:03. By 8:03 it’s over. If you didn’t get in, try again next year.” How do you communicate all of that without sounding like a crazy person?

As I was driving that morning I saw my phone ring at 8:07. “I didn’t get in” he said. “Did you register at 8?” I asked. “Pretty much”. Oh how I love to be up against competitors like that! Poor guy didn’t stand a chance.

We broke the news to our son, which went over ok. Now the problem is mine. Either find a program which he likes, is convenient to get to and is not too expensive, or entertain him myself in those time blocks. Back to that running camp idea. He actually does like running (ok, when it suits him) but I think I can gently encourage it. He did want me to register him for the Ride for Heart 5K Run in June, so we have a goal to train for. And all joking aside, we have found a very excellent track club for kids which has great coaches and which he has enjoyed in the past. The question now will be: can we make it fit our schedules? Time to get to work on Pan B…