Being a baseball Mom is a terrific way to spend time with your family, and make some new friends as well. My oldest son, Big Man J, has been playing baseball since he was 7. He’s almost 13 now, so we’ve been at this for quite a while. I’ve sat through the torture of t-ball. Do you know how horrible it is to have billions of clover flowers just waiting to be picked smack in the middle of a t-ball game? Then there is the grasshopper level, where playing in the dirt behind second base is more fun than paying attention to the actual game. At least with Biddy and Midget, the kids are playing instead of taking in the scenery. They still need the occasional reminder not to discuss Pokemon cards or girls, but they are generally focused on the batter and what base they are supposed to throw the ball to, should it happen to float their way.
During this time, I have learned quite a bit about being a baseball Mom. You would think it’s simple, right? Show up, cheer a little, have some food from the snack bar, go home. No way, it’s as complicated as owning a major league baseball team, minus the worries about salary caps. Being married to Coach Daddy J has its perks too, such as finding out the schedule weeks ahead of time and planning accordingly. I thought I’d share a few things to help you navigate through the experience of youth baseball.
- Always dress for four seasons. This is especially true during the spring baseball season, where one moment it is raining and freezing cold, the next you are wanting to strip all your clothing off because it turns hot and muggy. And being the baseball mom that you are, you should always be prepared.
- Always bring extra food and drinks. Having a portable cooler filled with extra drinks and snacks will save your wallet from getting a workout at the snack bar, especially if you have younger siblings that are watching the game
- Always bring at least 2 umbrellas. If you have a large golf umbrella, that is ideal. It covers not only your body, but also half of the parents sitting with you, and their chairs. A smaller umbrella is useful for the child that just won’t sit still. Being a baseball Mom means that you look after you own kids……and 13 others as well!
- Always know who’s snack mom. And sit as far away from her as possible. After the game, she will be trampled by a herd of starving baseball players. I still think snack mom is the reason most kids play baseball.
- Always keep your mouth shut. Seriously. As you move up in the ranks, the rules get more complicated, and the umpires more severe. Teams can get tossed from games because of unruly fans. Your kids need your support with cheering, but don’t argue with the umpire or dispute a call. Leave it to the coaches to make fools of themselves. I am lucky enough to be married to one of the coaches, so each year I get my hands on the rule book. I also study it very carefully, as being a baseball Mom, and a team Mom, makes me the go-to gal for information. A great resource to read is A Parent’s Guide to Baseball and Softball.
- Always bring an old towel or your own chair. The old towel comes in handy to wipe off wet bleachers, benches, or whatever else is provided for parents to sit on. The towel also had a second secret use: to smack wasps or other winged or legged creatures out-of-the-way
- .Always leave your Mom-Doctor-Nurse cap at home. Kids will get hit, kids will get injured. Leave the running out on the field to them. Teams can get disqualified for fans(Moms included)running on the playing field. It’s really hard not to react to seeing someone’s child get beamed in the body with a ball or someone hurting their leg while sliding into a base. Chances are, the child in question will jump right up and say “I’m okay”. Not overreacting saves the child from embarrassment.(And I say this from personal experience)
- Always refer back to item #3.
One of my favorite things about participating in our baseball program is all the adult contact I get during the games. Most of the players have been together for the past 3 years, and us Moms all sit together while we watch the game. For the most part, we do know what’s going on with the game, and we make sure we cheer at all the appropriate moments. But usually we are interacting with one another and having real conversations that don’t involve the phrase “Will you two please stop that?!?”. I have made quite a few friends over the years. But the most important thing is that my son enjoys doing it. He may not be the best on the team, but he makes up for it with enthusiasm and spirit. After all, that is what is the whole thing is really about, his having fun and enjoying himself.
Being a baseball Mom is a fun and rewarding experience. You can spend time with all the members of your family, and enjoy yourself as well. I hope that you learned a few things along the way. I really enjoyed sharing my experiences with you.