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by Abigail Van Buren

Sales Parties Are No Fun for Woman on a Budget

DEAR ABBY: I recently attended several soccer practices for 6-year-olds. One boy on the team, "Timmy," is so obese he can barely run. His mother screams at him from the sidelines, giving him directions every few minutes. Sometimes the poor child "runs" in the wrong direction and scores for the opposing team. (I personally believe he suffers from ADD.) Timmy said to his mother, "I can't run!" -- and he can't. His large belly and huge thighs prevent him from running. One can see his frustration.

After the game, each player is given a paper sack of refreshments. One time, it was a chocolate cupcake, a bag of chips and a cold drink. At the end of the game, after the snacks, Timmy ran to his mother. He was crying. She was talking on her cell phone. She said, "Here's 50 cents -- go buy a candy bar." My heart aches for this boy. What would you suggest? -- CONCERNED PARENT, BLOOMINGTON, IND.

DEAR CONCERNED: Since you can't change Timmy's mother, speak to the coach. That's the only person the boy should be listening to during a game. Perhaps the mother will take guidance from the coach regarding a healthy diet and exercise regimen for her son. Another thing you might do is volunteer to provide some healthy snacks for the players after the games, and organize the other team moms to do the same.