Over the weekend, over 800 kids were in Minneapolis competing in a National Chess Championship. Even though playing chess doesn't burn very many calories or involve a huge amount of athleticism, I'm sure their parents are making sure that the kids get enough sleep and eat well so that they're ready to face the competition.
And I'm wondering: did anyone arrange a snack and drink schedule?
It seems weird to be experiencing April without getting ready for a kid's baseball season. I actually kind of miss shopping for cleats, heading to the batting cages, waiting for a phone call from the new coach and adding all of the games to my calendar. One thing I don't miss, though, is getting an email from an over-eager parent telling me when I'm supposed to bring the fat and sugar.
When I was pregnant with Zoe -- or more specifically, when I was in labor with Zoe -- I realized that I would be enjoying the wonderfulness of intravenously administered pain medication, and hopefully pushing, at the same time I was supposed to be supplying a team of 15 boys with granola bars and juice boxes. Since it was too late to switch games with another parent, I managed to drop off the sustenance at a teammates house, on my way to the hospital, while my contractions were about six minutes apart. Was this insane? Absolutely. But since there isn't an epidural that would help me cope with the eight-weeks of pain brought on by dealing with a team full of pissed off parents, it was necessary. Trust me, it doesn't matter what comes up, you just DO NOT forget to bring the snack and drink.
Being anti-snack and drink isn't something that developed after several years of schlepping a cooler -- I have always hated the idea. I just don't understand why kids, after standing around in a baseball field or sitting on a bench for an hour, have to then receive a bag of chips and a can of pop. With all of the news about the increase in childhood obesity rates and people complaining about kids eating too much crap and not getting enough exercise why, when they finally burn 150 calories, do we need to hand them 350 empty calories as a reward for showing up?
One thing that I've noticed is that it's always the laziest players that are obsessed with finding out which parent brought the snacks. The kid that is never at practice on time, can't seem to run the bases without watching where the ball went (which, by the way, is a HUGE pet peeve of mine) and is always the last one off of the field between innings is always, always, the first one in line at the cooler, hoping that there will be extras so that he can grab two snacks.
Even though the snack and drink schedule usually includes a note at the top that encourages providing something nutritious, I have yet to find a parent, besides myself, that is brave enough to shun Frito Lay/Hostess/ Little Debbie and just bring fruit. There was one dad a couple years ago who flat out said that "he loves it when he gets to bring the snack because it means that, for one night, he's super cool and popular with the kids." I was tempted to ask him if he was aware of the fact that, the rest of the nights, the parents think he's a loser, but I'm pretty sure he would have just handed me an oatmeal creme pie in an attempt to win me over. Sure enough, when his night arrived he didn't bring just a snack. He brought ginormous bags of fruit snacks and the big bags of chips, plus bottles of Mountain Dew Code Red. By the way, did I mention that this guy is a loser?
One year when our scheduled snack/drink game arrived, Charlie was adamant about bringing clementines and bottled water. I even pre-peeled the tangerines and put them in individual bags, and threw in a handful of red grapes for some additional color. Sure enough, only three boys took the fruit and the rest of them were tempted to throw Charlie a pity party, just a small get-together for my kid so that they could tell him "Oh, sorry your mom sucks."
So this summer, I will pack sandwiches and fruit into a cooler, haul my kids to tennis and not worry about having to watch other parents compete over who is bringing the most indulgent snack to baseball games. And if any of the other tennis players ask me if I have an extra granola bar, I'll just say "Oh, is it my day for snack and drink? Sorry, but I didn't get a copy of the schedule."