Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Offer Older Player a Graceful Exit

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Offer Older Player a Graceful Exit

Article excerpt

DEAR NATALIE: My husband runs a volleyball league for high- skilled players. Years ago, when it started as a "most-anyone-can- play" league, a woman joined who wasn't a great player, but everyone liked her so she continued on. As the league evolved into just skilled players, she was grandfathered in.

Now at 68 she is a poor player, and each week some unhappy team has her on its side. This is causing strife among the players and for my husband who is not sure how to tell her she should no longer play. No one wants to hurt her. He wants a rule saying anyone over 60 has to get 10 members to agree that they are still skilled enough to play. I feel that is like her being told 10 times she isn't any good anymore. I suggested a test for any players over 60 so she is not singled out. Suggestions please. - VOLLEYBALL MESS

DEAR MESS:This sounds liked seventh grade: Everyone is picking teams, and there is that one kid that no one wants. First talk with her and see if she would be interested in doing something else like keeping score or managing the teams. She may be relieved not to have to play at this level anymore. A "test" for people over 60 would make it obvious as to what is going on, and leaving it to a vote would embarrass her.

But, if she can't take a hint, tell her that you have concerns for her physical well-being because the team dynamics have changed. Perhaps encourage (or help her set up) an intramural team for "newbies" or people who want a less competitive game that she can direct. This would give her a sense of purpose without hurting her unnecessarily.

DEAR NATALIE: Our mother has had severe depression for two years. She sends mean, degrading text messages to her children, blaming them for various transgressions, sometimes in years past. Yet when the children try to discuss these messages, she avoids phone calls or offers apologies. …

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