A tournament is just another day in the life of a baseball parent. You know you’re usually going to be in for at least two or three games and chances are they will start at the crack of dawn. Make sure you have your coffee because you’re about to have a long day.
First, get up at 4:30 a.m.
Why am I getting up at such an awful, early hour? Well, the first game starts at 8:00. The players have to be there at 7:00. Apparently, baseball tournament fields have to be located at least an hour from wherever you live so we need to leave at 6:00. I’d like to take a shower and smell pretty unless I feel like wearing a ball cap all day, so I need to start at 5:00. I need another half an hour to get the ice chest ready, throw snacks in a bag, get the kids up and fed, grab sunscreen, jackets, and bleacher chairs, get everything in the car and get rolling. Hello 4:30.
Next: Decisions, decisions...do we bring the giant cooler or the medium cooler?
Sometimes you don’t know if you’re going to be there for one game, or three or four games, so deciding how much food and drinks to bring can be interesting. It’s nice to have a ginormous 150-quart cooler so that you can have every drink and cold snack that your heart desires, but will you need it? That’s another question. That giant cooler takes up a lot of space and it’s not as easy to get in and out of the vehicle. Sometimes a nice medium cooler with a few drinks will do the trick. I’d rather have and not need than need and not have, so I usually err on the side of caution and bring the big one. Hello back pain.
Make some healthy snacks.
If you were smart enough to plan ahead, maybe you already cut up some carrots, or put some grapes and watermelon into some containers the night before. LOL, right? But, planning ahead is not my forte, so I’m doing it at 5:15 a.m. right after my shower. Seriously though, planning ahead for healthy snacks saves you a lot of time in the morning and then everything is ready to put into the ice chest. Since you picked up fast food the night before because you were on the way home from the tournament at 7:00, you kinda feel like the kids should eat some fruit.
Rush out the door 15 minutes later than you wanted.
It’s really hard to get out the door on time when you’re trying to get your kids ready, isn’t it? Well, at least when you get there a few minutes late you already know you’re going to tell the coach you hit bad traffic. Then you realize you forgot to get gas last night.
Get to the field and drive around looking for a decent parking spot.
This always seems like it takes much longer than it really does because you left 15 minutes late, plus, the kids have been asking for 30 minutes if you’re almost there yet. Just take a deep breath and relax. Soon you’ll be sitting in the bleachers cheering on your favorite player and enjoying the 100-degree weather. Hopefully, you remembered your shade umbrella.
Get yourself settled and watch some good baseball.
This is what it’s all about, right? You have a great seat in the shade (hopefully) and you’re relaxing watching the game, and your team is winning (hopefully). You’re chatting with the other parents and everyone’s having a good time (hopefully). There’s really nothing better than watching your kids have fun, and they are having fun out there on the field (hopefully). Take it all in and cherish these moments because they will fly by.
Realize you forgot to bring the healthy snacks and go to the snack bar.
Okay, the second game just ended and the kids are starving. Not only do you have to feed your player, but the other kids had to tag along to the game and they’re starving, too. Try not to think about the burgers they just had last night when you get them yet more burgers and hot dogs from the snack bar. They’ll eat some broccoli eventually. Spend $24.85 on food and drinks.
Yay! Your team won and now there's a championship game.
I hope you love baseball because this is your third game today. There is a 45 minute break until it starts so you can sneak to the car for a power nap. Just know that your little player is having the best time ever and you got some really cute photos. Keep assuring the other kids that it’s almost over.
Yay again! Your team won the championship!
Great job team! We can leave now so I can get home and fall into bed, right? Wrong, because there is an awards ceremony where the players will march out and get their trophies, rings, medals, t-shirts, ball bags, or whatever they’ve won and there have to be lots of pictures including the one where they make a funny face. First, photos of each player with their prize, then of the first place and second place teams together, and then just the champs. Then, the coach wants to talk to them out on the field about the game and you’re always super-optimistic that this will be the time that he only talks for five minutes, but there is apparently a lot of baseball stuff to go over so you might as well load the car that you parked like a mile away. You can almost see the finish line.
Drive an hour home while everyone else sleeps.
It must be nice to doze off to sleep right now. That snack bar coffee better keep me awake for this drive home in traffic on a Sunday night when everyone else is coming home from some vacation or day out. Okay, I’m home now so I can get right into bed right? Well, the kids are starving again and you don’t want to leave that giant cooler in the car, do you? You make an executive decision that chicken dino’s and canned corn are better than fast food again so you make that while you unload the car.
Finally, you can get in bed.
You lay your head down and try to sleep but you are wound up thinking about the game and what if the umpire had made that call right, and you’re pretty sure that error your kid had was really a base hit, and why does so-and-so’s mom talk so much?
Get some sleep…there’s another tournament next weekend!
Thank you for reading my observations and feel free to leave me any comments you have below.