Packing Your Bag for Spring Sporting Events

Check out Lisa’s tips for you to make the most of the season.
by Lisa Hendey | Source:
Spring is here and I found myself enjoying 75 degree sunshine and sitting court side at my son's first tennis match of the season. The day was beautiful and my son won his first ever Varsity doubles match, so overall it was a wonderful way to spend a few hours. But I realized I'm out of practice since I haven't attended an outside sporting event since our last football game in mid-November.

I'm not alone - we're all about to jump into the thick of little league, softball, track and field, and swim seasons as well so many of us will find ourselves cheering on our favorite athletes for at least several hours per week. Are you prepared to make the experience comfortable, enjoyable and maybe even productive?

Here are a few thoughts for making the most of time spent at children's sporting events:

* Use the time wisely - Don't spend the entire time with your BlackBerry, but do carry in your bag a few "odds and ends" that you might be able to attend to in a down moment. I usually carry school forms that need completing, light reading material, and a notebook for jotting writing ideas.

* Take your seat - Invest in a light, portable chair and a waterproof blanket so that you are ready for any seating situation. These are easily kept in the back of your vehicle and will come in handy when the playing terrain is muddy or made of concrete or asphalt.

* Remember snacks - Especially if you have younger siblings in tow, but even if you are on your own, pack plenty of water and healthy snacks. Avoid being hit up for the "snack shack" (or finding yourself tempted by the "frito chili boat") by bringing apples, cheese sticks, popcorn and other easily portable snacks.

* Pay attention - It's tempting to spend the entire game or match chatting, but you don't want to miss the amazing pop fly catch or the ace serve because you were swapping gossip about the third grade teacher.

* Remember your purpose - You are in attendance to show love and support for your child. Do not be the parent who coaches louder than the real coach from the sidelines. Make only positive remarks and save your critiques (if you must make them) for a time when you are in private with your child. Be the loving parent who sets the example for all the knuckleheads who are reliving their "glory days" through their kids.

* Have fun - Most importantly, set the tone for your child's experience by delighting in the time you have to spend with him and let him know how very proud you are of his efforts and participation.

Lisa M. Hendey, wife and mother of two sons, is the webmaster of and the podcast host of

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