Pilot Editorial

Tuesday, April 9, 2002

Family night and sports week

Sometimes, it seems, you just have to go with the flow. So when we do, here's hoping we can make the flow even better.

Here's the situation. Thursday has been "church night" in Storm Lake as long as many can remember. It's a tradition. Long before it became politically correct to lament "the family situation," Storm Lake virtually as an entire community recognized this as a form of "Family Night."

In a show of solidarity, the schools have long declared Thursday as "no activity night." Nobody messed with church night in this town, and the schools obligingly scheduled sports and other events around it.

The merchants also got into the act, making Thursday the traditional night for most, especially downtown, to stay open. Families taking part in church or just spending time together can also take in some hometown shopping.

It's been a pretty good relationship, all in all. While too many Storm Lakers may have forgotten the original reasoning behind "Church Night-Family Night-No Activities Night-Merchants Night," they all knew it was there and that it somehow said something good about their community.

The Lakes Conference, in which Storm Lake schools participate in athletics, is throwing a curve into the tradition.

For whatever reasons, most of the conferences in the region and the state are now looking to designate Wednesdays as a no-activity night, similar to what Storm Lake has long had.

So much so, that the Storm Lake School Board has finally decided to move the local no-activities night to Wednesday for the 2003-04 school year.

Out of respect for the cooperation that has always served us well, they went to the ministerial association and chamber of commerce first, and both agreed to cooperate and will look at changing as well.

There seems to be some resentment in the community for changing the tradition, but having a family night is more important than what night is chosen, we think.

We read that Ridgewood, N.J., recently debated for seven months before declaring a single date of the year as a Family Night. We are miles ahead.

While it would be interesting to buck the trend, that isn't going to happen. Athletic scheduling is complex business, and Storm Lake will need to go as the Lakes Loop goes.

Why bother grouching about change? We have better than a year instead to create a family night that makes sure not to forget the family.

Isn't that what it's all about? Time together. And not staring mindlessly at the TV.

We have time to think of ways as a community for families to grow together, worship together, maybe even enjoy regular block parties as neighborhoods together. Working late that night by parents should be a no-no except where it is absolutely necessary, and when it is, those people should get another night off as a make-up family night.

Thursday it's been, Wednesday it will be. No matter. Storm Lake may have to follow the Lakes Conference's lead on the calendar, but Storm Lake should create a true Family Night that the whole state can try to emulate.