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Do You Have the Stuff to Be Travel Ball Parents?

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Do You Have the Stuff to Be Travel Ball Parents?

Mrs. Right and I are heading to the state tournament with the Little Fella this week to finish up his first season of travel ball…and ours as travel ball parents. Now, I had been around weekend tournaments as a coach, as a groundskeeper, and as an interested bystander when my players were playing. As a matter of fact, conversations with other travel ball parents and my own observations led to what is still one of my most-viewed posts, “12 Things Not to Yell at the Game.”

So, from a figurative standpoint, I knew we had the stuff to be travel ball parents. We could get the Little Fella to practice twice a week and to games on weekends. We could coordinate vehicles and church plans and even lunch at Grandma’s on Sundays. We could engage with other parents and get to know them and their sons who would be spending so much time with their sons. We could appreciate everyone who had a part of making the tournaments happen–from coaches to tournament officials to groundskeepers to umpires…. Okay, so maybe last week would have been a better week to write that last sentence. I might have a little work left to do when it comes to incompetent and rabbit-eared umpires. Let’s just say that there are a great number of umpires who are very professional and that I count as tremendous assets to the game. They make for better travel ball parents.

Literally, Do You Have the Stuff to Be Travel Ball Parents?

When I thought of “having the stuff” to be travel ball parents, I didn’t consider the question literally (which is probably a surprise to those closest to me–I’m generally literal to a fault). We quickly learned that the competitive baseball subculture calls for a vehicle full of baseball-watching gear. And here we thought that having a couple of lawn chairs in each car was sufficient.

Here is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek (keyboard-in-fingers?) look at the “stuff” of travel ball parents, as learned through our first year. (Note: Many of these are Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something after clicking on a link, you won’t pay more; I will just receive a small commission that will keep the blog up and running. This post isn’t about selling you products, though. The photos from Amazon just made it easier to point out what I’m writing about.)

  1. Weather Gear: The weather is always changing during spring and summer baseball. Travel ball parents must be prepared for it all. One of the lessons I learned at an early spring tournament is that 60 degrees at sundown calls for this…

…while 60 degrees at noon called for this:

travel ball parents

2. Seeds, seeds, and more seeds. Travel ball parents finds sunflower seeds in the strangest places: cup holders, dryer vents, bottoms of shoes. Not to mention that they could start a new seed company from those in the bottom of their kid’s bat bag. Seeds by volume and seeds by the newest of flavors.

From the original…
travel ball parents

…to the new stuff (ooh, I want to try these)…
travel ball parents

…to variety packs (some for everyone)…
travel ball parents
…to my personal favorite (because I like ’em and my boys don’t so they don’t “borrow”).

3. Insulated cups (No, not those cups–players only!):

Coffee for the cool weather games and ice–lots of ice–for the heat of summer.

travel ball parents

After an experience earlier this season as I was trying to carry all my gear into a game, I will be adding this little contraption by next year. Hopefully, I’ll never have to wear coffee to the ball game again.

travel ball parents

4. A wagon to haul all the other gear. I may never have had to wear my coffee that day if we had just invested in what all other travel baseball parents seem to already own. We laughed at first. We’re not laughing anymore.

travel ball parents

5. A home away from home. You can usually recognize travel ball parents by their lawn care (or lack thereof). While I cringe at the thought of my landscape looking like some of the memes out there, it is true that travel ball parents practically live at the ball park on the weekends to some degree or another.

From the “just here for a game” umbrella…

travel ball parents

…to the “we could play back to back” chair…

travel ball parents

…to the “let’s hang out in the shade between games” awning…
travel ball parents

…all the way to the “heck with it, we’re going to be there all weekend anyway” option.

travel ball parents

Photo credit: tdlucas5000 via / CC BY

Do You Have the Stuff?

We accessorized our enjoyment of the Little Fella’s games and our travel experiences some this summer with more items on this list than we would have thought. Even the little wagon…well…by the time blanket-carrying season comes back around, that one might have to join the other baseball gear already seeking to take over the car.

Okay, travel ball parents, what did I leave out? What is the stuff that makes watching your kids play ball more enjoyable?


About Al Ainsworth

Al Ainsworth is a values storyteller. He works with individuals, businesses, churches, and other organizations to pass along their values through the stories they tell…and re-tell.

Al is the author of Lines in the Gravel, Stories from the Roller Coaster (of a Faith Life), and the Coach Dave series. Subscribe to his email list for more values storying.

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