DEAR READERS: I recently ran a letter from a woman who wrote: "Our 8-year-old son is scheduled to be the ring bearer in my brother's wedding. My husband is the coach of our son's soccer team, and it turns out that our championship playoff game is on the same day as the wedding. I say my husband can miss the wedding to coach the team, but our son absolutely must be the ring bearer in the wedding. My husband says our son's commitment is to his team. Neither one of us will budge."
They sought my help. It was not an easy choice, but I replied: "I think your son should fulfill his commitment to be the ring bearer at your brother's wedding, and your husband should also attend the family wedding, which will be remembered long after the soccer game has been forgotten."I should have stopped there, but I stuck my neck out and added, "I'm betting that all my male readers will say I'm wrong, and the women will say I'm right."
Well, the face with the egg on it is mine. Some excerpts:
DEAR ABBY: I was a varsity wrestler in college. My best friend was getting married on the same day we were scheduled to wrestle an out-of-state team. My coach said if I went to the wedding, I'd never wrestle on his team again. I buckled under and wrestled. Not only did I lose the match, I nearly lost my best friend, too. - KERRY WITH A "K" IN MINNESOTA
DEAR ABBY: You lost your bet. I, too, am the coach of my 8-year-old son's soccer team. I love soccer, but no game at that level should take precedence over a family wedding. This isn't the World Cup! The real issue here is the overemphasis on sports at such a young age. Good for you, for injecting common sense into an arena where grown men often seek lost youth through their son's games. - KEITH B. VAN ZANDT, M.D., WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.
DEAR ABBY: I am a female soccer coach, and I say the coach should go to the wedding, and so should the boy. - TERRY WYSCH, FOSTER CITY, CALIF.
DEAR ABBY: I say the boy should go to the wedding, but the coach should coach the game. My wife says let the kid play soccer - a wedding isn't that big a deal. - JIM DARDEN, BIRMINGHAM, ALA.
DEAR ABBY: Whichever commitment was made first should be honored. - DENNIS L., CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA
DEAR ABBY: The ring bearer thing obviously is not something the boy volunteered for. Kids hate that stuff. I vote for soccer. - ALL MAN, ALLENTOWN
DEAR ABBY: Wake up! You bet all the men would vote in favor of the game. I took a poll of the men where I work, and they all chose the wedding. Get with it, Ab. Stereotypes are out! - MIKE IN MASSACHUSETTS
DEAR ABBY: Both my sons gave up playing in their state championship track finals to be ushers at their cousin's wedding. Bad choice. She was divorced three years later. - A.K., MILWAUKEE
DEAR ABBY: You blew it! Playing in a soccer championship game is the stuff a kid's dreams are made of. My 9-year-old son plays soccer, and I vote for soccer. - SOCCER MOM, DENVER
DEAR ABBY: What makes you so sure all the women will say you're right and the men will say you're wrong? I'm a woman, and I say you're 100 percent wrong. Now, get this - my husband has been a teacher and coach for 20 years, and he agrees with you! - C.H.H. IN MINNEAPOLIS Everything you need to know about planning a wedding can be found in Abby's booklet, "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." To order, send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054. (Postage is included.)