Editor's Note: Hundreds of Ann Landers' loyal readers have requested that newspapers continue to publish her columns. These letters originally appeared in 1999.
Dear Ann Landers: School sports have taken over the lives of my children, and I'm tired of it. Am I the only one?
Some nights, my kids don't have the time or energy to study. They just fall into bed exhausted. There is no time for doing home chores or taking on after-school jobs, which some kids need. We hear a great deal about having well-rounded students. Sports participation interferes with that. If the kids want to play soccer and be in the band, too, forget it! The coaches won't allow it. No excuse is acceptable for missing a practice or a game — including weddings or funerals, let alone eating supper with the family.
Let's face it. This is supposed to be fun for the kids. Most of them will never play professionally or get a college athletic scholarship. I propose parents unite and refuse to let the kids practice or play during school holidays or on weekends. If parents would make a united stand and say, "Only Monday through Friday, and two weeks before school starts, and one week after school lets out for the summer," the coaches would have no choice but to schedule during that timeframe. Too many parents and coaches have forgotten that the real purpose of school is to get an education. — Sports Parents in La Crosse, Wis.
Dear Sports Parents: You've written a very tough letter, but all your complaints are valid. I wonder if there are other parents who feel as you do. I also wonder if other coaches around the country are as demanding as the ones in La Crosse, Wis.
Dear Ann Landers: This is in response to the letter from "In a Quandary in Colorado." She said her 52-year-old daughter, "Eleanor," contacted her biological father, but that he would have nothing to do with her. Shame on that man for treating his daughter with such disregard. I have a similar story, but with a much happier ending.
My mom and my biological father, "Bill," were divorced when I was 4 months old. When my mother remarried, Bill was in the Air Force, and I was 18 months old. Bill allowed my stepfather to adopt me because he wanted me to have a stable home. He then agreed to stay out of my life. My adoptive father was wonderful and loving. My parents never sheltered me from knowing that I was adopted. From time to time, Mom would show me pictures of her first wedding and talk about Bill.
Bill stayed in contact with my maternal grandmother, who occasionally sent him photographs of me as I was growing up. Two years ago, after 28 years, my grandmother asked if it would be OK for Bill to contact me. I had just gone through a divorce and needed all the support I could get, so I was open to the idea. Bill called me, and we talked on the phone for three solid hours. It was amazing how we bonded.
In September of that year, Bill and I met for the first time. It was a picture-perfect reunion. The following June, I remarried, and both my fathers walked me down the aisle. I felt this was a very generous and caring gesture for my Dad to share that special moment with Bill. I could not have been more proud. I am blessed to have such wonderful people in my life. — Roberta in California
Dear Roberta: What a lucky girl you are, and how generous of your mother not to resent her ex-husband's participation in the wedding. I hope you have let all these fine individuals know how much you appreciate their civility and consideration. You are indeed "blessed."
When planning a wedding, who pays for what? Who stands where? "The Ann Landers Guide for Brides" has all the answers. To find out more about Ann Landers and read her past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.