Article and Photos by Esther Kempf
In all my years as a baseball mom, I think I’ve come across every single type of personality you could possibly THINK of. Being a travel baseball mom, however, takes it to a completely different level. You probably know a majority of these women. You may even be one yourself! So here’s to the moms that keep the team going, the ones that keep them warm, keep them fed, keep them hydrated, and keep them motivated. May we know them, may we be them, may we love them!
1. The Runway Mom You’re not quite sure where she’s been or where she’s headed after the game, but you sure as hell know she’s way too dressed to be sitting 6+ innings on a metal set of bleachers. She rocks a fedora with her Louboutin red-bottoms and dabbles in her Gucci tote while you’re in the same team logo tank top you wear to every other game. Her designer shoes are always a perfect compliment to her matching top while you’re a slave to your summer staple: flip flops. She’s perfectly tanned without the “baseball tan line of death” that we are all branded with at the end of a long season. Don’t lie – you know it too; the equator-like line that runs just about 4-6 inches above your knee, separating your natural tone from your travel ball tan.
2. GameChanger Mom Who needs a scoreboard with her around? She’s the reason that even if you can’t physically make the game you are on top of every ball, strike, and pitch count! You can’t even keep track of what inning you’re in but GC Mom will be able to tell you the type of pitch your son just struck out on. She not only keeps the score but tracks the location of every ball hit, every error committed, and every fielding substitution made. She’s right there to yell out the pitch count when the coach is asking for it. She may not be the most chatty, but, girl, don’t apologize to us! You are an integral part of this team. So you keep your eyes glued to that tablet! You, my friend, are a parent’s dream when they can’t be present.
3. The Clock-Watcher Please don’t get me wrong. I am a typical type-A, OCD parent. I like a schedule. I like a color-coded calendar. I like to plan! But Clock-Watcher Mom is a step or two above me and does not appreciate a scheduled 5:00-7:00 practice running over and wrapping up at 7:15. Her eye is on the clock as she pulls her van up to the field. She paces and begins to twitch when it’s 6:58 and she is popping open the back so you can easily load the bag and go. But what’s this? With only two minutes left to spare, the coach hasn’t finished infield drills? Surely this practice can go on without their star second baseman. Wrong. So Clock-Watcher Mom stands a little closer to make sure you can see the scowl on her face and arms tightly crossed against her body. She wants to be close enough so you can hear her huff and puff while she rushes her child off the field. But this will not deter her; for she will be back again in a few days hoping next time practice ends at the time she was given.
4. Snack Mom 2.0 Regular snack moms, beware! The new revamped version will blow your mind. Not only does she have enough food to stock a bomb-shelter but she somehow has every food and drink allergy covered too! Gluten-free? No worries! Soy allergy? Ha! She’s got the answer for that too. She even has everything packed neatly in her embroidered paisley-print Thirty-One thermal tote! You think she’s just a fruit and veggie mom, but don’t be fooled. She aims to please ALL and will whip out a good ol’ fashioned Hershey bar should just even ONE person ask for it!
5. The Playground Mom She never sits with you because she’s never at the field long enough to. She’s preoccupied with her little ones who have zero interest in watching Big Brother play. You can often find her in the outfield on a blanket riddled with toys and tablets. She is armed with a fully-charged iPad stocked with entertaining apps and enough diapers and wipes to last extra innings. If she’s very lucky, there’s a playground right across the street where she can simultaneously push a baby swing AND see her big man take the mound. You can hear her clap and cheer as she heads down the slide with a toddler in her lap. Playground Mom makes you tired just by looking a her. While you get to sit in the sun and enjoy a refreshing beverage, you occasionally catch her in a game of hide-and-seek, spotting a child on the monkey bars, and running back and forth to the bathroom. She will likely be very good friends with GameChanger Mom by the middle of the season.
6. The Drop & Go Mom You don’t know her name and it doesn’t bother her one bit. She will rarely make a game and no one’s judging her! You catch a glimpse of her at pick up and drop off. You often ask her son if he needs a ride home even though you know his answer will be “No, my mom will be here soon.” Before he can even finish his sentence, there she is, trunk open even though the car is barely in park.
7. The Survival Mom You can basically come empty-handed to every single game of the season and Survival Mom has you covered! Forget your chair? She’s got an extra in the car, and not just any chair; a rocking chair. With a foot rest. And a canopy to shield you in case it rains. Kid without a water bottle? She’s got a team cooler already rolled into the dugout for that reason. Pitcher threw too many last inning? She’s got a spare ice wrap tucked underneath her seat. Survival Mom is ready for all the elements. While snacks and electronics are on your packing list she is equipped with it all – thermal blankets, Costco-sized boxes of hand, feet and body warmers, even a propane-fueled heater to warm up the kids in the dugout. Be nice to Survival Mom, because you WILL need her one day.
8. The Bullhorn Mom This is her name not because she needs one, but because she is AS loud as one. How dare you call a strike against her son! She could see from the back of the third-base line bleachers that it was CLEARLY low and outside. Not only does she scream directly at the umpire, she also gives him non-verbal snark – like wearing her favorite shirt that reads “Hey Blue! Does your wife know you’re screwing us?!” She is often the reason the manager has to come to the fence and let you know he’s already gotten a warning about questioning his calls. She doesn’t stop at the ump and opposing coaches either, as many have even seen her go toe-to-toe with a parent or two from the other team. Bullhorn Mom is also someone to keep as an ally!
9. The Momager Mom She is not an official part of the coaching staff but let’s face it – we all know she runs this show. She registers for our tournaments, she books the hotels, makes the restaurant reservations, she keeps your child’s birth certificate in a plastic sleeve and knows your son’s hat size better than you ever will. This weekend my son’s bad-ass Momager noticed our tournament seeding was incorrect and drove to the complex at 5:00 in the morning to make sure she could catch the director as soon as he pulled into the parking lot. Our boys had no idea that she was the sole reason they got to sleep in until 9:00! 9 out of 10 times the Momager and GameChanger Mom are the same amazing woman! Be extra nice to your Momager – bring her chocolates and lots of wine!
10. The Multi-Tasking Mom Whether she’s on a conference call or responding to work emails, this mom is doing major double duty. I was once on the phone with Disney just as my son threw the last strike of a play-off game that put us in the top seed. God bless that woman for not cursing me out for blowing out her ear drum. MTM is often shopping online to save her precious time and the hassle of physically heading to the store. You may think it’s just because she loves to shop, but it’s actually because she KNOWS how limited her time is. She knows her time is best spent with her family rather than waiting in line at any store. Sometimes you have to nudge her to look up from her work so she can catch her son up at bat or make sure she catches his eye as he looks for her in the bleachers. We are all guilty of being her, and we ARE her because there’s nowhere else we’d rather be. While we may spend a few innings preoccupied by life’s unavoidable circumstances, make no mistake – we will ALWAYS make time for the important things.
Esther Kempf is a NY mom of three, a coach’s wife, and mom to two travel ball players. In her spare time she is also a Disney Vacation Planner. So if you’re heading down to Florida for any tournaments or vacations, shoot her an email to handle all your individual or group plans! firstname.lastname@example.org