Your kid just joined a recreational soccer/baseball/basketball/football/volleyball/fencing team. You’ve been contacted by the coach (or, more likely, you’ve been wrangled to coach). You’ve received the partial uniform you paid $120 for. (You paid $120 for part of the uniform along with permission to use fields at appointed times and park in tiny parking lots at the same time as the entire city.) Pants, socks, shoes and equipment are now your responsibility. There’s no way $120 could possibly cover a dri-fit tee AND pants/shorts AND socks AND shoes AND equipment AND permission to park in an overcrowded lot and sit in the burning sun/wind/rain to watch your kid cry/run in the wrong direction/get hurt/score for the other team/play with dirt/chase butterflies/trip on untied shoes/barf. Nope. The pants, socks, shoes and equipment fall to you.
But you have everything ready to go.
And then out comes the email from the team mom about team snacks.
Dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnn.
The bane of every soccer/baseball/basketball/football/volleyball/fencing mom’s existence (alongside team fundraisers, team picture packets, and team schedules. Why’d I sign my kids up for youth sports anyway?!)
Team snacks. Because every kid who makes three swings at a tee, does one lap around a 50-foot diamond, and draws circles in the dirt with his cleats over at second base (WHERE THE BALL NEVER COMES IN T-BALL) is facing starvation if he doesn’t hit the dugouts with a Rice Krispie Treat AND a Fruit-by-the-Foot AND a Go-Gurt AND a Capri-Sun waiting for him (and a pre-peeled Cutie mid-game).
Team snacks. Because 7:30 PM (or 12:00 Noon) is a fine time for Goldfish crackers, Oreos, Teddy Grahams, donuts and a 20 ounce Gatorade. Lunch and bedtimes are things of the past! This is team snack people! You can forget Olympic hopefulness if there’s no team snack!
Oh, sure, every kid needs an edible participation trophy to keep her coming back for next week’s game. But really? Really?
And then the poor allergy kiddos (of which I have one and was one). The poor kid gets left out altogether because some soccer/baseball/basketball/football/volleyball/fencing mom “musta missed that email,” he gets the “alternative” snack none of the other kids want (read: Snap Pea Crisps), or he and all his teammates get the same snack – but at the expense of some mom who has been stressed all week searching for something sugar-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free, grain-free, preservative-free, while still being worthy of the word “snack.” #thestruggleisreal.
I’d like to suggest five Team Snack Alternatives to make everyone’s lives better.
When it’s your week for team snacks, you don’t bring them for the athletes. You bring them for the siblings. And with that, you are also responsible to coral all the siblings otherwise crawling under their parents’ skin. You setup a certified daycare at the corner of the field, far from stray balls and 60-pounds of falling-out-of-bounds athlete. In addition to snacks, you also bring fully-charged tablets. You bring blankets if it’s cold and sunscreen if it’s hot. You also do a pregame pickup service for all the families with siblings to ready and you get those siblings out the door. This ensures athletes arrive to their games on-time (and perhaps even for warm-up!) and the parents can spectate their child’s game unhindered. This allows for action shot photos to be taken without the torment of “Music! Photos! I have Momma’s phone!” accompanying grabby hands amidst every goal scoring, photo-capturing opportunity. This invites Mom and Dad to engage in the game fully, making calls the referee and umpire clearly missed, running Johnny-Athlete to the porta-potty, and accruing permanent back pain from the non-ergonomic design of the camping chair they got for opening a new checking account.
Whatever happened to sponsors like Mr. Hot Dog and the Cone Zone where games were followed up by meals and/or actual treats. Nowadays, teams are sponsored by law firms and retractable awning stores. There are no delicious benefits to playing on such a team. If we can reinstate team sponsors who feed the kids, that would make a world of difference on my stance on post-game edibles.
Instead of juice boxes and 1.1 ounce bags of Cheetos, you’re bringing the real deal for the people behind the little people. You’re fueling the people who ran out of time to eat their own breakfast because they were rushing out the door for an 8:45am start. You’re bringing the donuts (wholes not holes), the mochas (or is it mochai?), the sparkling waters, the chocolate covered anythings, the tapas, the Thin Mints, the wraps, the artisan pizzas, and the pulled pork sandwiches.
Who else do you think is going to pass beverages to the middle-aged man or woman herding your kids for 60-90 minutes? You may continue to yell to your kid from the sidelines (don’t pretend we can’t hear you), but who is keeping your kid from getting drilled in the head by a whirling third-grader who thinks being “on-deck” means to swing for the teammates? Who is reminding your youngster to get their hands out of their pants and to pee before the game? Who is dealing with eight players all yelling at the same time, refusing to play, or refusing to come out of the game? Who is sitting next to your chatterbox on the bench listening to all the things they’ve learned about sharks/rockets/gorillas/fungus/shapes/gravity in the past 48 hours? Bring the man a walking taco, will ya?
Bring your own kid her own snack!
Is it really that complicated? Any other time you leave the house, this snack thing is on you. You deal with the consequences then. What makes 11 am on a Saturday any different? If you think your kid needs a snack – bring one! If you think your kid doesn’t need a snack – don’t! It’s not rocket science. It’s not even science. It’s just sense of the most common kind.
Down with Team Snack!
Down with Team Snack!
Down with Team Snack!
I hope I’m not coming down too hard on youth sports and the team snacks they’ve been stringing along all these years. I’m just one mom dreading her turn to pre-bunch the grapes and get one more thing out the door on game day. Did I misread that email – it was my day to bring team snack? I thought it was my day to bring team snark.