As a child, I never played sports and was woefully underprepared for the time commitment and weather changes that come with each sport, but I love having the opportunity to cheer on my daughter. Since the age of three, she has done gymnastics, track team, swim team, basketball, soccer, golf, softball, and probably some other sport that I’m forgetting, but each experience has been different and a learning experience. Now, it’s time for fall ball, ya’ll! This year for fall ball, I feel like I’ve got a system that will help our schedule run smoothly and hopefully avoid a hangry teenager and overstimulated mother. Whether it’s softball, baseball, football, or even ultimate frisbee, you have to be ready for anything!
Here are my top 10 survival tips to make it through fall ball:
- First and foremost, set expectations for everyone in the household. I have a teenager, and we share a scheduling app on our phones in addition to it being entered into my Apple calendar and written in my physical planner as well. Everyone knows what days and what times games are so that homework and chores are completed on time and we’re not rushing out of the house at the last minute.
- Organization is key! We used to constantly look for cleats, jerseys, and batting gloves. Now, we have a locker for softball gear and a clearly labeled tote with all other sports-related items that is easily locatable!
- Everyone should have a responsibility. Who will pack the bags? Who will fill the water bottles? Who is carrying what to the car? Down to… who lets the dog out for a potty break before leaving the house?
- Dinner must be planned! Fall ball means having dinner at 4pm or 9pm. We have recently moved it further out in the evening and are trying to reduce our fast food intake. My Instant Pot and Crock Pot are my best friends, because I am a big fan of “set it and forget it”!
- Be prepared for ALL weather conditions! I don’t know how long you’ve lived in Louisville, but fall sports can mean 42 degrees and rain or 78 degrees and 20 mph wind! I have a bucket in my trunk that consists of 2 blankets, 3 umbrellas, 2 ponchos, 2 hats, and 2 pairs of gloves.
- Find a good chair. Metal bleachers take on the weather, so be prepared for your legs to be cold, wet, or burning hot! If you want to be comfy, find a good camping chair or seat back.
- Lucky Number 7, make friends with other parents! There’s so much fun in cheering for other children and celebrating with other parents!
- SNACKS, SNACKS, SNACKS! Granola bars, trail mix, applesauce, or yogurt pouches (yes, even for teens and adults) will help quell the hunger if you plan on having a late dinner.
- PARKING! During practices, scout the best spots near the field you’ll be playing on and for the first couple of games, and watch the flow of traffic. For 6 o’clock games where she has to arrive at 5 o’clock, finding a parking spot is easy. But for 7:30pm games that she has to arrive at by 6:30, the parking lot is full still from all of the 6 o’clock games. Sometimes, I’ll drop her off and run to the gas station, then come back to see if anyone has left. Other times, I’ll park far away and read a book until the 6 o’clock games are over and then I’ll move my car for the start of the 7:30 game.
- Lastly, volunteer or donate to the league or organization that your child is participating in. Events will run more smoothly if the facilities are well-kept and the employees are paid.