We’ve reached that point in the Varsity Sports season where its time to make plans for Senior Night. For parents of Seniors playing a spring sport, this last season is twice as emotional because it hits alongside all the pre-graduation milestones like last Spring break with the family, picking up cap and gown, planning for graduation activities and oh my heart when you order those announcements you will die! You are very clearly closing a chapter in your child’s life and with it, your involvement in helping them reach their goals. For a student athlete, their senior year can be very emotional because so many kids are playing their very last season of a sport they may have dedicated themselves to and loved for as long as they can remember. And for some of them, it’s their worst season which makes it all the more bittersweet since the end is clearly in site.
So before this final season of high school sports ends, hosting a very special Senior night is important to everyone, even if they don’t realize it at the time. If it’s your turn as team mom or the junior parent who has volunteered to run the show, here are my tips to get you started now:
Pick a Senior night date with the coach’s blessing.
Senior Night usually happens on the last home game of the season so you need to reach out to the coach well in advance to make sure that date is okay and to give families a heads up so they can plan to attend in full force.
Ask about any special Senior night traditions.
Make sure you ask about anything special that the coach will expect to see happen. Often times there are team traditions that happen each and every year so it’s important as the junior parent coordinator that you find out what these are and include them this year too. This is your bare minimum for the basics. Don’t be afraid to make suggestions to the coach based on experiences you may have with other sports that would work well.
Share senior night expenses with junior families and Booster Club.
Because this is usually hosted by junior parents, there are expenses to share and you shouldn’t hesitate to make sure everyone donates. Some years there can be a lot of kids to support but if you plan wisely, it will rarely cost you more than $20 per player. As the parent of high school athletes, I have no trouble doing this to make sure that when it’s my child’s turn to be recognized as a senior, it will be just as special as it can be. You can also consult your Booster Club to see if they make provision for Senior night and end of the year expenses too.
Make a program.
The key here is to get those names spelled correctly and the player’s corresponding number noted as well. You might also include some other traditional notations such as most meaningful experience on the team. You also want to note where the athletes will be going to college regardless if they are pursing collegiate athletics. Hearing their plans for the future is very exciting to all who attend.
Arrange for flowers for the moms.
Its so important to help the athletes also support their parents. Having corsages for the athletes to present their moms is a very special touch for everyone involved. You can do this in the school colors and include something that personalizes them for each mom such as the player’s picture or a brad with the player’s number. It’s the best flower she’ll every receive! You can also give potted plants with school colors adorning the pot and a special message just for Mom.
Plan to serve cupcakes.
Its not a party until somebody brings a cake or cupcakes. Because this is the last time this will happen at school, make sure they are as full of team spirit as you can possibly include and plan ahead for these to be brought to the event. Be sure to assign paper goods, drinks, a serving table, and anything else you might need to set a nice hostess table for this kind of treat. Remember, you’ll be court or field side and you’ll have to bring whatever you need.
Make personalized goody bags.
This can be hard to control the cost but its always fun. Think candy, something in their college colors, something specific to their sport like sunscreen and a can of tennis balls. Having a goody bag for the players is just like having something for the Moms.
Arrange for a volunteer photographer.
Because the parents will be involved in player introductions, they won’t be able to take pictures. If there is an underclassman parent who already takes tons of great pictures, enlist their help to do the same on this very special night, not only of the ceremony but of the game or match too. Then post the pictures on the team Facebook group for everyone to enjoy and download as they choose.
Have a banner announcing the event.
Whether its a banner or sign hanging on the back stop at the ball field or styrofoam cups stuck in the fence on at the tennis courts, you want to have something that makes it clear you are celebrating the seniors.
Introduce parents and players.
Typically done during a ceremony of sorts prior to the sporting event beginning, this is a very special time to recognize the players and their parents to the entire crowd. Make sure the announcer reads the player statements from the program and that the Coach steps onto the field to say a few words as well.
So those are my tips for team moms and junior parents to plan a wonderful senior night for your varsity athletes this year. Tell me…
What are your best tips for a memorable Senior night?
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