Being a parent requires endless dedication. Dedication to keeping your child alive, healthy, fed, educated and happy. Then, there are the extracurricular activities. For those of us living in the Four Corners, these extra commitments can mean hours in the car traveling from one event to the next.
Lisa Vila Fischetti of Telluride was in Durango last weekend with her 6-year-old daughter, Ella, for a girls lacrosse tournament at the Riverview Sports Complex.
Instead of waking up at the crack of dawn to drive from Telluride, the family decided to make a trip of it.
“We actually took advantage of the weekend and camped,” Vila Fischetti said. “This is our third tournament this season. We went to Grand Junction first, El Jebel (near Aspen) last weekend and now this one is our last one.”
With all the time spent in the car and on the sidelines, for parents, is it still fun?
“Absolutely,” Vila Fischetti said.
The Sommers family of Telluride, also at the tournament, is fairly new to traveling for activities. So far, they are having a good time.
“This is our first traveling experience this season, not just lacrosse, but for hockey and for skiing, so now we’re loving it,” said dad Chris Sommers. “It’s our off-season in Telluride, so it’s a great opportunity to get out.
“All her friends and all our friends are in it, so it’s fun to get out and stay in hotels and make a weekend of it,” he said.
“We feel like it’s better than living in a big city where you’re traveling anyway within the city,” said mom Cynthia Sommers. “With this, we get to travel to Aspen and Durango and Grand Junction ... we make a weekend out of it and really have some family time.”
And for local mom, Jill Carithers, who lives on the Dryside with her family, this has been a relatively easy season. The two Carithers kids, Annabel, 10, and Finnigan, 11, haven’t had games too far away.
“The lacrosse really isn’t too bad at all because we have the three tournaments they go to,” Jill Carithers said. “And then Finn’s baseball is just some local travel. We go to Bayfield, Pagosa and here, and we may end up going to Cortez, so local and day trips – no overnights.”
However the seasons turn out, it’s worth it, she said.
“I just think it’s the confidence and the camaraderie,” Jill Carithers said. “I love to see the kids grow and grow as a team, but really it’s the support they get from their teammates, learning to play together as a team.”
But for the families logging miles – and hours – in the car traveling to kids’ activities, is there a point where it may get to be too much?
“If it was traveling every weekend, that would be a line,” Vila Fischetti said. “We would have to pick which ones we wanted to go to. But three in the whole season is fine with us.”
The Sommers family agreed.
“We’re not there yet, but there very well could be,” Chris Sommers said, laughing. “Once again, this is our first traveling sport, so once we get into hockey, traveling, and skiing, traveling – it’s a time/value of money, but certainly, you want to spend all the value on the kids, so it’s an easy decision.”
It’s not just the parents spending time in the car – it’s the kids as well. For Cynthia and Chris Sommers’ daughter, Lilly, 9, the ride from Telluride was a good time to work on homework.
“I’m writing paragraphs about a project we have to do,” Lilly said. “We’re working on ancestral Puebloans, and we had to pick something they did and study about it.”
When it comes down to it, the region’s wide open spaces are just a fact of life for some activities.
“We know living in Telluride, we’re isolated, like a lot of other mountain communities, and you’re going to have to travel,” Chris Sommers said. “That’s just a part of it – that’s a part of sports.”