Tales from a semi-control freak Mom
If we’re being totally honest here, a travel ball parent’s morning doesn’t start the morning of a tournament. It might even start several days before the tournament. We’re probably actually talking Wednesday when we get the tournament schedule. Shopping for snacks and trying to remember all of the things we might need for a whole weekend consumes our days in the week before.
The fear is building that we might forget something super important, just like when you go on vacation and are worried about not packing your hair brush or tooth paste. You’ve said the word, “sunscreen” to yourself multiple times and even though you’ve already packed it somewhere, you can’t stop yourself.
Shopping for snacks is always interesting. You tell yourself every tournament that you’re only getting healthy snacks this time, but you give in and get chips and cookies with your cut-up vegetables and fruit. I mean, who can eat carrots without a cookie dessert?
Friday, you put 67 bottles of water into your ginormous cooler because you can never have too much water. You can barely lift it, but that’s what your son is for. After all, it’s his tournament you think to yourself as you lift it into your SUV saying, “Well, I don’t want him to injure a shoulder.” You will return home with 47 bottles of water.
Don’t worry, we’re almost to Saturday morning but we have to go find all of the uniform pieces and extra pants, and more extra uniform pieces, and why are there so many single socks in this drawer, and why was I in this room? Oh yeah, looking for the uniform. Got it. It has to be laid out ahead of time. You then ask yourself, “Why am I doing this? He should be getting his own uniform”, when you know deep down that you’re afraid he’ll forget something and it’s easier to just do it.
You’ve checked your baseball mom bag several times to make sure you have things like band-aids, lip balm, hair ties, phone charger, Tylenol, more sunscreen, etc. What happened to that list you made of “things for your baseball mom bag” that was supposed to cover this? Oh well, next time.
On Saturday morning you’re jolted awake by your alarm at 4:00 a.m., seemingly 15 minutes after you just fell asleep. You opt for one push of the snooze button because you’re not yet sure you can face this day. Wearing a ball cap all day to yet another tournament is not an option, so you drag yourself up and try to decide if it’s shower first or coffee first. Better do shower first so your hair can dry while you’re trying to remember all those last-minute things you need to get together.
You have to be there at 7:00 a.m. for the 8:00 a.m. game so you had better get cracking. A healthy breakfast is in order for your little Prince-Allstar-Future-MLB-Baller, and the tournament is an hour away so you’re leaving NO LATER than 6:00. Oh wait…you need ice. Okay, so you’re leaving at 5:50. “OMG, does my car have gas?”
Better wake up the monster now. Morning is not his thing but hopefully, he’ll be excited for the tournament. “Time to get up Sweetheart”. Nothing. No response. “Let’s go honey buns, it’s tournament day.” No signs of life. Time to resort to a light shake. “Come on, get up now babe or you’ll be late for your game.” Now there’s some groaning. “Can I have a hug?” AKA, “I’m stalling.” Big hugs are given and then you hear, “Five more minutes.” You say, “Okay, but only five.” You’re such a sucker.
You run around packing last minute items, but five minutes later you don’t hear any sign of stirring from his room, so you’re back in there and this time you’re not feeling so sweet. “Get up, NOW.” He finally drags himself to the bathroom like he hasn’t slept in days and you’ve already been up for an hour.
Alright, so the bacon’s cooking, you’re putting all of the snacks in a bag that’s too small for them to fit in so you get another bag and fill it up. At the same time you’re cutting up watermelon, pineapple, apples, and packing grapes so you’ll have some cool, healthy snacks. Fruit MUST go in the ice chest…DON’T FORGET! Eggs are cooked, toast is toasted. Breakfast is ready.
Kids are eating so you can do hair and makeup. It’s gonna be a quickie because you still have to get jackets and a change of clothes for yourself just in case the weather does some insane post-apocalyptic change from 95 degrees to ice-age cold. You run back and forth helping get your other kids ready and dressed.
Holy crap! You just realized that you don’t have cash and you can’t make your other kids sit there all day and not at least let them get something from the snack bar. Gotta stop at the ATM. “Okay kids, we’re leaving at 5:45.”
A quick check of the weather shows it will be 87 degrees in that hour-away-far-off-land, so you opt for flip flops. You’re not going to sweat worse because you have sneakers on so you slide those flips on your feet and notice that your toenails are, shall we say, “Rough”. Time for the fastest touch up paint job in human history because we are SO leaving in 15 minutes.
In the distance, you hear a faint complaint, something about why you woke someone up so early when you aren’t leaving yet, but you ignore it because you’re doing that last-minute hair thing and your toenails are drying. You ask your kids to be helpful by loading all of the snack bags, clothes bags, the ball bag, and their own jackets into the car. They act like it’s the end of the world and they are far too busy, but they reluctantly do it.
It’s now 5:45, the time you said you are leaving. You look at your kitchen and long for a full-time housekeeper since you know that you’ll be getting home at 11:00 tonight and doing this all again tomorrow. But there’s no time to feel sorry for yourself because you need that cash.
A last-minute glance/once-over of your all-time favorite player to make sure he’s got the correct combination of uniform pieces, and ask, “Do you have your cleats?”, and you’re ready to usher everyone out the door. Not bad, it’s 5:48 and you’re only a couple minutes behind.
Breathe, and just remember why you do it.
Everyone is loaded in the car and ready to go and suddenly you remember it: The fruit. You swore you weren’t going to forget to put it in the cooler but here you are, ready to roll and the fruit is in the fridge where you left it. You make an executive decision that asking one of the kids to do it is too terrifying because you’re sure they’ll forget something so you run in and get it.
Once you’ve gone to the ATM and packed the cooler with the ice that you stopped for, you can relax and drive to the tournament. You’re hoping you don’t run into that patch of bad traffic that will make you later because you’ve already added a few minutes to your time by leaving late and forgetting the fruit. At this point you know everything else has to go perfectly.
And it usually does.
All of the kids are back asleep because they’ve had such a rough, exhausting morning, so you turn the radio to “your music” and enjoy the quiet ride. Someone may possibly wake up and have to pee or ask, “Are we almost there yet?”
You pull in the parking lot and stop and the closest possible spot to unload your player and tell him to run because you were supposed to be there 3 minutes ago, and you don’t want him to get benched. Then you park and walk in only to find that half the team is not even there yet, and you wonder why you killed yourself rushing and didn’t do a better job on your toenails.
A nice shady spot is in order so you head over to the field area to get yourself settled in. You reconsider a couple of spots because you don’t want to be near that super loud mom, so you settle for a location between the bleachers and a large, red ant hill, but once your chair, umbrella, and kids’ stuff is all set up, all is well in travel ball parent world. It’s going to be a great day.
Now, I know I’m going to get comments from those perfect parents telling me their kids get their own uniforms together and wake up on their own, but for the rest of us, the struggle is real. We get it…there are some kids who cooperate, and some parents who have their stuff so together that this is all easy. And, I freely admit that I have a hard time letting go of control sometimes and feel like it’s just easier to do things myself. It’s a learning process. I can only hope that I’m somewhere in the middle, and that my kids become more organized with me.
And remember, people without sports kids think we’re crazy for doing this every weekend, but we wouldn’t have it any other way than the travel ball life. 🙂
If you liked this post, you might also enjoy: A Typical Tournament Day