Sport parenting: away trips with teens

This weekend, I will be at an away baseball tournament with my son. I’m leaving the girl child at home with her dad; they too have a tournament, but theirs is local.

I hope they won’t forget to feed the guinea pigs in my absence.

My son and I are going to spend the night in a college residence only because the evening game on Friday ends fairly late and we have to be back at the diamond first thing the next day. Plus, he’s scheduled to play three games on Saturday, which promises to make it an extra long day.

If you know baseball you know that sometimes games take a looooong time to complete. They have mercy rules in kid tournaments and all that, but when you add in the warm-up time ahead of the game, the actual game, and the de-briefing/socializing afterwards, you’re looking at 3-4 hours per game.

I hope it doesn’t rain…

The over-night was my partner’s idea. If you calculate how much gas it will take to drive there, (with traffic and construction we anticipate it’ll take longer, maybe twice as long as the google-analyzed 81 minutes…) it was much more economical to just spend the night in town. College residences are cheaper than hotels, and we don’t really need a lot of services. A clean bed, a decent bathroom with a shower, some wifi…what else does one need for a 10-hour layover?

The suite has two bedrooms, a kitchenette and a bathroom. The college is located a 5-minute drive from the tournament’s diamond. It’s perfect. And it cost under a hundred bucks.

I hope I don’t forget to pack my pillow.

My son and I are going to be spending a lot of quality time together. I plan on spoiling him a little bit with things I don’t particularly like doing that often, like letting him indulge in (some) junk food and endless pizza, for example. He asked for Pringles, the BBQ flavour, and I cringed but picked some up for him. I’m not usually a fan of artificially flavoured snack foods, but he’s a teen…they would live on that stuff if I let them.

Maybe I’ll snack on them, too, just this one time. 😉

It’s a bit of a gamble, having athletic kids in competitive sports, wanting to eat all the junk all the time, but I’ll balance it out by bringing along some fruit and veggies. For breakfast I’ll pack yogurt and granola, and some healthy snacks for later.

It promises to be an interesting, fun-filled weekend I think, despite my not knowing a lot of the parents on that team. A couple of moms I do know on the team may be there to socialize with, and the rest of the time I’ll relax, watch my boy whack the ball across the field, and use my mobile phone to blog my thoughts.

Maybe I’ll even meet some new people.

I wonder if my son will see this trip as a memory-making event, like I do. He’s 13 and mostly interested in friends, video games and sports, but we will be spending quite a bit of time together; in the car, in the suite, during meal times. Perhaps I will even learn a thing or two about him. You know what boys can be like – they don’t talk or share much, but when the mood hits and they start their chatter, it’s best to just let them get it out.

Some days are quite challenging, truth be told, and other days more…um… let’s say ‘quirky’. And always, always hungry. Like last night when he came home and saw me put the finishing touches on dinner.

What’s for dinner, he wanted to know.

Steak and corn and roasted potatoes and asparagus, it’ll be ready in 5 minutes, I answered back. Wash your hands and we can eat.

So what does my wonderful son do? He goes to the second fridge in the garage and helps himself to an ice-cream bar.


It’s going to be interesting…and I’m looking forward to it. Raising boys in today’s complicated word is tricky, and this trip is going to be a little escape from those challenges.

Hope the weather is kind to us. After all, sitting beside a muddy baseball field for nine hours isn’t going to be fun for me, and even less so for the players.

Happy early weekend!