It’s time for the first installment of Sports Mom 101 and we’re sharing what you need to be prepared On The Sideline.
But first things first. There’s obviously a difference between being on the sideline indoors and outdoors. If it seems like something won’t work for one or the other, it probably won’t. Next, not all sports have the same type of sideline, not all venues have the same rules, and nothing is ever really a one size fits all. So the very first thing you should do to prepare for the sideline is research. Make sure you know where you’re going and what’s allowed. OK. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get down to it.
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On the Sideline: What To Do
Check the Weather
While this seems like a no-brainer, it is a must. Especially during the spring and summer months when unexpected weather changes are not uncommon. Check the weather several days ahead of time and again on game day. Weather determines not only the gear you need but can also dictate your travel plans and logistics. Even if you’re just traveling down the street. Knowing weather possibilities ahead of time also reduces stress because you are able to manage expectations – your own and your athlete’s.
Check the Rules
Know at least a little bit of the game. Please. You don’t have to be the Sports Almanac, but try and learn the basics. Nothing is more awkward than your kiddo being excited to discuss his performance with you and you have no clue what he’s talking about. That can be a downer for him too. Don’t know where to start?
Won’t Can’t ask dad (maybe because he just might explain to you)? Try a website like www.rulesofsport.com or pick up a copy of The Smart Girl’s Guide to Sports (right now it’s only $0.99) or any of the “for Dummies” series on Amazon. Because in addition to your kiddo there will be those obnoxious sports moms we’ll talk about later.
As many races as Alexandra has run, my heart still skips a beat every time she steps up to the starting line. One of the most unexpected phenomena of being a Sports Mom is the emotionalism you will experience. Not every game is a great one. There can always only be one winner. Whether in success or failure, the times you watch your child compete are some of the most fulfilling and heart wrenching moments of parenting. We often want to shield our children from the pain of failure. Don’t. This is her moment, and she will learn from every experience. Be there with loving, patient, silent support. As John O’Sullivan, author of the national best-selling book Changing The Game says, “If you need to say something, tell them how much you enjoy watching them play.”
On The Sideline: What To Bring
My blogger buddy Larisha from WeAreParents.com asked, “How do I not to get sunburned and what products will make my time easier?” There are four things you need to have on the sideline to enjoy your yourself.
Your Own Shade
Obviously, for indoor venues, this is not necessary. But many summer sports are outdoors and trees don’t make for good playing fields. Golf umbrellas make great artificial shade for any venue and are highly portable. If you’re going to a grandstand or bleachers I recommend getting a SportsBrella XL. Multiple people can fit underneath and it’s wind and waterproof. Again, you’ll want to check the guidelines for the venue well ahead of time so you’re not turned away at the door. When all else fails, a wide brim, lightweight hat like this one from Columbia is always allowable.
Your Own Seat
But the stadium has bleachers. Do I need to bring my own seat? Yes. Hot summer sun, shorts, and metal bleachers do not mix, mm’kay? Whether you bring sports chairs, stadium seats, stadium cushions, blankets or plain old towels, do yourself a favor and protect your tush. If you’re going to be there for several hours, your body will thank you. Also, not every venue has seats. A long day of standing on the sideline is no fun.
Your Own Snacks
We will go into greater detail on what food to bring in the Nutrition installment. Bringing your own food is better for your pockets and your health. Many events only make a profit from the concession stand so the food is high priced, but low quality. Get a cooler, preferably on wheels for the long walk from the car to the stadium like this one by Coleman. I prefer the hard-liner with the soft outer because your contents won’t get smashed in the trunk, but you can store paper goods, utensils, and other necessities away from the ice and moisture.
Your Own Stuff
Be prepared to provide all your own equipment. Your kid may be like mine and refuse to use any of the YMCA’s tee ball bats. Or you just might not get much communication on what to bring like Darcy from DarcyAndBrian.com. She had no idea her daughter needed her own mitt for tee ball until another parent clued her in. You will also want to label your kid’s things because companies like to make more than one of the same thing, for profit or something. This handy combo pack of sports peel-and-stick labels from Mabel’s Labels will help get the job done in style.
Now you are prepared to face the sideline with confidence and comfort. If you still have questions, leave me a note in the comments below! Being sure to read the next post in the series Nutrition for You and Your Athlete.