Cutting Room Floor: Carolina Parents Join The Family
In our June issue, Helen Buchanan brought you the stories of the Staines and Kolojejchick families as parents of multiple student-athletes at Carolina. Though they are not the only such families who have produced Tar Heel greats, here are some insights that didn’t make the printed edition.
For the Staines family, having four children play for the same university was a blessing on many levels. On one hand, it meant they wouldn’t have to invest in a wardrobe for multiple schools. It also made coming to their games consolidated…but not until the first three were in school together.
“We managed it as well as we could. For a while there it had to be decided by whose match at the time was on the biggest scale, and that was where we would show up. We really didn’t have that much trouble though,” says Lauren Staines. “Carolina’s games were on the weekends, the high school games were always during the week and the rec league games were usually Sunday, so we didn’t have too many conflicts. And even if we did we would drive back and forth. In the same day, we would drive down to Chapel Hill then back to a game in Baltimore then home. It was crazy.”
Ron Staines recalls the first year being the worst, but fortunately for the Staines once Ronnie, Billy and Ben were all in Chapel Hill together, it only left the now-graduated Mark at home playing high school lacrosse.
“We have such great friends in Maryland that when Mark was younger they would watch out for him if we were down in Chapel Hill and he had to stay home, so we never had to worry about that,” says Lauren. “[But otherwise,] we were pretty much always together. I know a lot of families spilt up with one parent here and one there, but we never had to do that.”
Splitting up is something that the Kolojejchicks had to encounter through their son and daughter’s athletic careers because not only do they play different sports, but also football and field hockey seasons coincide. While Matt Kolojejchick was at Rhode Island before transferring to UNC, it was not uncommon for Doreen Kolojejchick to travel to watch Kelsey play field hockey while her husband Jim would catch Matt’s game. And though both Kelsey and Matt are entering their senior seasons at Carolina this fall, being at the same university doesn’t stop the conflict of a 12 p.m. field hockey game and a 1 p.m. football kickoff.
“The hardest part, even though we love having them both at the same university, it’s really tough because the games are often conflicting times. Kelsey had a lot of Friday night games last season, so that made it hard to take off work on Fridays to get there. We did what we had to do,” remembers Doreen.
“We’ve been very lucky to have a lot of the games in the same weekend. So when both are home we can actually see them both play which is really, really great. On a rare occasion, one is home or nearby Chapel Hill and the other might be far away. On occasion, which is rare, that may cause a conflict. But we’ve only had to split up on very few occasions,” adds Jim.
One thing holds true though, being a parent of a Tar Heel is as infectious as being directly a part of the excitement on the field. Doreen admits even though they still live in Pennsylvania, there will always be a Carolina flag flying outside of their house. And Jim jokes that he has taken advantage of getting to “live” in Carolina blue, a color he says will never leave his closet.