Sunday Gratitude: Folding Chairs and Youth Sports
No matter how early you start getting ready, or if you’ve packed the sports bag and the snack bag the night before, it seems you always leave in a giant kerfuffle–and run back in for glasses or water bottle or something. When the kids are younger, you’re the one who packed those bags and those snacks. As the kids are older, they pack their own but you ask five times if they’ve packed the shinguards or the sunglasses or whatever. Snacks change from goldfish to giant pots of pasta wrapped in aluminum foil to stay warm for the hour-long ride.
It’s sunny and cold, or cloudy and mild, or even raining if it’s soccer because that we play no matter what. In the car, your kid is quiet if they’ve hit the teens or bubbly and filled with “who would win? An alligator or a gorilla?” questions if they’re younger. You glance at the Waze map from time to time, realizing that you’ve never heard of the town where you’re going, and maybe you should have packed your own snack.
You pull into that opposing team’s lot an hour before the game, and your kid either pops out of the car like his butt is on fire and without a backward glance, or you park and walk your kid in, one of many in the sea of maroon or red or purple jerseys. Sometimes you bring your dog so you can take a pre-game walk but mostly you don’t because rules of fields differ and sometimes your canine friend is not welcome and spending a double-header in the car is not going to be fun.
You pull your sports chair out of the car, and your water and your baseball hat or your woollen hat, and sometimes, like today, it will be your umbrella too. Over to the sidelines–will you be hit by a foul ball here? Where are your parent friends, so hard to see today with their masks on? Nothing worse than setting up your chair in opposing team territory without knowing it.
Unfold the chair. Sit down and check your phone–nope, you’re missing nothing. It’s Saturday after all, and most of your friends are doing what you are. Beside you, you hear the creak of another chair unfolding and turn to say hi and how about that drive? And you sit and you talk, and then see that on the field, the team has gathered for a starting cheer. It makes you smile and know deep down that there are only so many years of 4 hours on the sideline (baseball double-header) or 2 hours at the sideline (soccer) and that each is precious. You never know when a game or a season will get stolen by a pandemic or an injury, so bring your chairs out to every single one. My Sunday gratitude: youth sports.
Addendum: what today’s soccer game looked like right before I got out of the car. It was much fun.