Angela here… with the latest in our series on what to expect from your trip to Cooperstown Dreams Park. Today, we’re giving you the lowdown on what players and coaches will find in the barracks showers and bathrooms.
**(You know your writing career has really taken off when you find yourself reviewing public bathroom facilities.)
When helping my son Jack and husband (Coach James) get packed for Cooperstown Dreams Park, I kept getting mixed info about what they would need for the bathrooms and how shower and bath time works. I was also getting reader questions from many of y’all wondering the same thing.
Now that we’ve done our week at Dreams Park, I want to share as much as I can to help all the rest of you pack and prepare for your trip, and to dispel any inaccurate information floating around out there.
My husband took a few photos (while no one else was in there, of course!) so you can see how everything is set up.
1.The showers are a large open room: As you’ve probably heard, there are no individual shower stalls (think high school locker rooms, ughhh!). Players all wear swimsuits or gym shorts and no one makes a big deal about it. Jack says, “you get in there, do your business and get out.” (Lots of parents cut the lining out of their kids’ swimsuits for easier cleaning access.)
Between shower heads is a shelf to place soap and shampoo on so they don’t wind up on the floor. Originally, I had been told that there are no shelves in the shower rooms and people should bring mesh bags to hang their toiletries from the shower heads to keep them off the floors. According to Jack and James, that isn’t true. The shelves are more than adequate for a bar of soap and bottle of shampoo.
Jack says he usually showered in the early evenings, 6 or 7 p.m. and it was never very crowded. Maybe five boys at the most. But it may be packed at a different time.
2.The water pressure is fine, but it never gets very hot. Our team was lucky enough to choose the hottest week on record to go to Cooperstown Dreams Park It felt like we were in South Hell temperature-wise. Jack said that the cool showers actually felt really nice and refreshing compared to the outside. He also pointed out that if the shower ran long enough, the water would eventually warm up.
3.The floors are kind of gross. (But aren’t all locker room shower floors?) Always wear shower shoes, slides or cheap $1 flip flops. And make sure your flip flops or slides aren’t the kind with foam padding in them. If that stuff ever gets wet, it’ll stink for eternity and you’ll probably wind up throwing them away after you realize where the rotten odor is coming from.
4. Coaches and players have separate shower facilities. Players aren’t allowed in coaches’ shower facilities, but coaches can use the players’ showers from 5:30 to 7:30 a.m.
5. While players are showering, coaches sit outside the bathroom door and can hear what’s going on inside. The boys are never left unattended, but coaches don’t watch them shower. There is always a coach chaperoning and monitoring behavior.
6. The players need to wash thoroughly “south of the equator.” Even though they’re showering in swimsuits, it’s vital that they do a good job bathing ALL body parts. Sliding shorts + athletic cups + friction + sweat repeated every day = a POWERFUL RASH if you don’t keep things extra clean down there. Be sure to pack some Gold Bond powder. Like a 50 gallon drum of the stuff! My son Jack wound up infirmary, walking like a bull rider on Day Three due to the “nether-rash.” They gave him more Gold Bond and had him mosey on his way.
7. Just outside the open showers are benches and hooks for towels and clean clothes. Players use the toilet stalls to change clothes. “It’s pretty straightforward,” says Jack. “You walk out of the shower, use your towel to dry off and then head into a toilet stall to put on your clean clothes because no one changes in front of each other.”
James carried his clothes, towel and toiletries in a reusable grocery bag. “It fit everything well and I’d just hang it on one of the hooks.”
Jack used his drawstring backpack. Other kids carried plastic caddies. There was no right or wrong thing to use as long as you could get your stuff in it.
8. The bathrooms are clean…well, sort of. Okay, this is seriously going to vary depending on who you ask. One coach told us they were disgusting and he was shocked that Cooperstown Dreams Park didn’t do better to keep them up. Jack said he didn’t think they were that bad. James said “they were good enough for me.” They do get cleaned multiple times a day. But they’re also getting used constantly. (In CDP’s defense, the bathrooms look pretty clean in these photos.)
9. The sinks are ANNOYING. Those are Jack’s words, not mine. I guess the faucets are the water saving kind that you have to press downward to turn on. And by “turn on” I mean release like 17 drops of water in one short burst. He recounted “One night I spilled toothpaste on my hand and it took me like 10 minutes to accumulate enough water to wash it off!” (I’m just impressed that he was brushing his teeth.)
10. Not many kids go “big potty” in the bathrooms, so you might want to check them out for some toilet time. What I’m trying to say here is that it’s extremely common for players to not want to do “number two” in public restrooms. When our team parents checked the boys out for some midweek time away, the first thing most of them did was head to the toilet. (The coaches, in contrast, headed for a beer or six.) Two of our rental house toilets became clogged. (I’m pretty sure our landlord has Roto-Rooter on a monthly retainer.) On Thursday, one mom laughingly exclaimed that her son looked slimmer because she was sure he had lost five pounds sitting on the toilet the night before. Just FYI.
11. Girls staying in the barracks at Cooperstown Dreams Park have their own bathroom and shower facilities. If your daughter is spending the week there, don’t worry. She and other female players and coaches will have accommodations all their own.
12. There are also half a dozen urinals and one big handicapped shower stall. I wasn’t sure how else to fit these facts into the post, so like “the Professor and Mary Ann,” they just get lumped together under the same heading.
I think this pretty much covers what you need to know about the bathrooms and showers at Cooperstown Dreams Park. Or, as Forrest Gump would say. “That’s all I have to say about that.”