My son’s birthday was a few short weeks past the cutoff to move up a division in baseball, and I ignored suggestions that I play him up a year because I trusted there is a reason for the deadline. There was one selfish reason, too: the younger division only practices once a week, while the older division practices two times, plus has a tournament at the end of the season. Now that the season is underway, I regret my decision 100%, and part of that has to do with practice snack.
The younger division is obviously younger, but this team feels much younger than last year’s team in the same age group. Part of that is because my son is a year older, but mostly it’s because these kids are treated like toddlers. I can deal with that on the field, but it’s the off the field pampering that is making me crazy. Our environment last year was fun and encouraging, and the kids were pushed gently to try harder. I felt so bad about my decision not to play my son up, but he reassured me that this was a great team. When I asked why, he said, “I’ve never been on a team that gives snack for practice!” And that really summed up everything: these kids can’t be expected to make it through a short, once a week practice without snack, and participation was mandatory.
Practice ends at 6:30 or 7 p.m. – it varies by start time – which is late for many families, and it makes no sense to me to hand a kid a sugary drink and cookies on the way home to eat dinner. The last snack was Hawaiian Punch and Chips Ahoy. I was the unpopular mom who made him put back the Hawaiian Punch because I didn’t want him to drink that, nor did I want to reward physical activity with one of the least healthy drinks I could imagine.
On our team, parents need to provide snacks for one practice and one game. It was a plan not open to discussion and the only direction provided was to not include strawberries because one child has an allergy and the team takes it seriously. High fructose corn syrup gets a pass.
The games are hot and long, and we’ll bring Gatorade on our day for game snack, but practice snack is going to be sliced apples or a GoGo squeeZ. Out of all of my years in team sports, this is the first time I’ve encountered practice snack. There have been hot days when a parent may show up with surprise Popsicles, but this is not that. We have to participate, so we will, but I’m not doing it willingly.