Surviving a Youth Baseball Tournament in Anytown, USA

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By Ty Webb, baseball dad, Zen Buddhist and heir to Bushwood Country Club 
Youth baseball. Another year of “drive-all-over-creation-bleary-eyed, walk-a-mile-from-your-car-and-buy-one-water-for-the-price-of-a-case-at-Target.” I feel your pain. Here are some tips for making it through the weekend a little easier this year.
 
Arrive on time without being nuts about it.
If you need to stop for coffee on the way, stop for coffee. If you’re reading this, you’ve already sacrificed plenty of time, money and sleep for your kid to play baseball.
Your coach isn’t giving away prizes for being the first kid at pre game when 90% of the kids arrive after you anyway. Even if he was handing out prizes, your kid might end up talking about Fortnite anyway and push himself to the back of the BP line for not paying attention even if he was first to arrive, so don’t go crazy.
I’m not suggesting being a diva and showing up late – just arrive on time appropriately and don’t make it a stress point for you. There’s so many other things to annoy you during the weekend. More on that later.
 
Find something to do before and in between games. 
Go for a ride. Grab a bite to eat. Read a book. Heckle the umpire at a game where you don’t know anyone playing. Write a sarcastic article. Do something with all the time in between the games. Parents watch warm ups these days as if they think a giant hawk is going to swoop down and snatch up their kid with his talons. Relax and get some YOU time. You deserve it. Take advantage of that down time.
Repeat after me: “I’m not just a minivan driver with a bank account. I’m a human.”
Stop stressing about Game Changer.
Remember that these stats, just like your son’s 5th grade math average, will be meaningless down the road.
I saw all I needed to see when a dad scored a hit to his kid when the pitcher threw the ball 20 feet over the 1st baseman’s head. Even if the first basemen had a trampoline and stilts, he couldn’t have caught the ball.
(Editor’s note: Angela here—Wouldn’t it be cool to actually see a first baseman on a trampoline with stilts? Just like I’d, for once, like to see players have to navigate around randomly planted trees and bushes on the ball field, just to liven things up a big. Now back to the article.)
Perhaps your coach dictates his playing time based on basic stats. He shouldn’t. Frankly, if you start to have discussions with your coach using Game Changer in the conversation, you might want to look elsewhere.
 
Bring sunscreen. 
No one wants to see your red neck or a popped collar like you just came from the Yacht Rock tour with Michael McDonald. Seriously. Bring some ‘screen.
Travel with a cooler.
Even though some places don’t allow them – which is flat-out ridiculous – you can save so much money by having extra drinks and food for in between games and after to hydrate and feed your kid. Leave the $13 churro for someone else.
I’m not sure those are actually chicken fingers and that girl serving them just sneezed on her hand anyway.
Pack some extra clothes. 
Depending on the location, it could be sweltering, freezing tundra-like, gale-force windy, raining like hell (all in the same day). Be prepared with an extra shirt, jock, socks, sombrero, blankets, ghillie suit, string bikini, hoodie or rain jacket for you and your kid.
Stop buying a T-shirt for EVERY tournament. 
I get it. Your kid is playing in the SUPER MEGA TRI COUNTY ELITE BETTER THAN REC tourney. Your kid also wears the
You’re probably not going to wake up at 3 a.m. in a cold sweat, beating yourself up for not buying this t-shirt.

same 3 T-shirts each week, puts on different colored socks and forgets to put on deodorant most days. Put that $25 towards something else, especially if the venue charged you at the door to get in.

Be an adult. 
This is harder than it sounds, but it shouldn’t be. Be a good sport. Cheer all the kids on.
Stop bragging. I get it, you think your kid is the best out there, but he probably isn’t. Yeah, I said it.
“But my Johnny went 2/3 with..”
And while we’re on topic, we need to find a new kid for our baseball stories other than Johnny. I heard that Johnny just filed for federal trademark protection because he’s been used so many times in baseball stories without compensation. Good for you, Johnny.
Please watch your comments during games. Nothing burns me up more than the one dad who yells “it’s not you” when his kid is on the mound and a teammate makes an error. That’s unacceptable. I’m sure there are plenty of times when that boy on the mound didn’t come through in a game and no one took him to task. Keep that in mind.
As sad as it is, if you can’t speak nicely about someone, please wait until they leave the field to do it.
Just ask Johnny. He hears everything you say, and I now owe him $25 for saying his name. If only I didn’t buy that T-shirt…

Calling all 2018 Cooperstown Dreams Park Parents, Coaches and Players

Do You Know….
–Which bat models are allowed for play at Dreams Park?
–Why your player should bring a swimsuit to Dreams Park even if he/she isn’t planning to swim?
–What time you should arrive for check-in? (Hint: it’s earlier than what’s listed on the Dreams Park website.)
–If Dreams Park concession stands accept credit/debit cards?
–What happens at the opening ceremony skills competitions?
–Which uniform elements are provided by Dreams Park and which ones you have to bring?
–If you should bring your ball field chairs from home?
These questions and hundreds more are answered in our new e-book Taking Your Team to Cooperstown: The Ultimate Guide for Your Week at Cooperstown Dreams Park
Make sure you’re properly packed and prepared for the biggest tournament of your kid’s youth baseball career! Get dozens of tips from past attendees, packing lists, daily itineraries, bunkhouse dos and don’ts, uniform laundering hints and much more!
Click the link above or the book cover below to download via Amazon Kindle. 

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Angela Weight

Founder and publisher of Travel Ball Parents.com, Angela Weight is still a little shocked to be running one of the most popular youth sports parenting sites on the web. Click the ABOUT US tab to read her story.

2 thoughts on “Surviving a Youth Baseball Tournament in Anytown, USA

  • May 7, 2018 at 5:44 pm
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    Best. Article. Ever.
    I laughed out loud throughout because it’s so relatable. As a mom of a 13U player, we’ve lived it for going on our sixth season.

    Reply
    • May 7, 2018 at 6:46 pm
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      Thanks, Jen! It made me laugh out loud too, when “Ty” sent it to me. He’s so funny because, like you said, we can all relate.

      Reply

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