Conneaut, Ohio, teen has parents driving in circles to his activities

Jennie Geisler

You might have noticed that school started. I’ll tell you, though, not much has changed in our house. I’m still driving around Conneaut, Ohio, like it’s my job.

Our only child, now 15, officially entered high school Sept. 8, but his extra-curricular activities started almost as soon as he bid farewell to eighth grade. Pandemic or no pandemic, I learned, if you belong to three sports and band, you are constantly involved in three sports and band.

The only thing that’s changed with school starting is that there is one more thing to take him to. On Thursday, when my husband (we usually tag team on kid transport) had to go into his office, I actually made five trips to Conneaut High School over 12 hours. Now, it’s only 3 or 4 minutes away (barring railroad activity). But when you add up the return trip to the house, that’s half an hour of driving in circles, and there’s no way in Conneaut that you get away with five trips without railroad activity.

So on said Thursday, as we rushed home from a cross country meet to change and grab a snack and get back in the car for band, I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to learn that basketball starts next Tuesday – at 6 a.m.

When I was growing up, I wasn’t allowed to play softball, or join the Y’s swim team, both of which I begged to do. Of course, piano and swim lessons were fine, and they managed to pick us up from play rehearsals, but somehow there just wasn’t room for sports. My husband and I decided that our kids could be in whatever they wanted to be.

To make this work, I’ve had to get creative, attending meetings patched into my car’s Bluetooth speakers, working later or earlier hours to make deadlines around transportation-heavy days.

In six months, J.R. can get a learner’s permit to drive in Ohio. My husband or I will have to be with him when he drives for six months after that. Of course I worry, but I have to admit being been tempted recently to just hand him my keys and say, “It’s only three miles. Don’t hit anything.”

I’m thrilled he’s finding his niches, but I do sometimes wish he’d just sit still once in a while. At least so I could.

Erie Times-News staff writers share their views from behind the scenes, stories and bylines. Jennie Geisler can be reached at 870-1885. Send an email to