Reporting, Recording and Relaying - But Always Telling It As I See It

Monday, April 23, 2012

Youth Sports - It's All Apparel And Camp Chairs

We recently spent a cloudy and cold Sunday in Medina, Ohio at a lacrosse tournament. Besides some excellent middle school games I was struck by two things. One, youth sports is nothing if not a team-apparel rich environment. And two, what’s up with all the freaking camp chairs?

My Protagonists
Every kid (about 1,000 at this tournament) is dressed in the latest apparel couture of his or her school’s team -all worn with gang color fanaticism - and none of it cheap. My boys (along with about every other lacrosse player at their school) own the pièce de résistance - the Seneca Valley Boat Jacket. They retail for $85.00 – and that’s without having a clue what the hell the “boat” in boat jacket even is. According to the apparel tab on our association website, you can also order: four different types of tee-shirts (not including something called a “performance tee”), four different styles of hoodies (to be worn at your own peril), sweatpants, golf shirts, fleece jackets, etc. They even have something called an “unstructured hat.” Being fashion challenged, I have no idea what “unstructured” means. Maybe it’s a hat that refuses to stay on your head, or one with a bill that moves around depending on the mood it’s in.

And it’s not just the kids, it’s the fools like me – a grown man running around with a Seneca Valley Lacrosse tee-shirt. But it does match my boxers that have “lax dad” written across the ass.

And these camp chairs. What’s up with their proliferation? You wouldn’t dare go to a game without a camp chair. Or in most cases, a trunk full of them. If for some reason we forget to take our camp chairs to a game, my wife and I become flabbergasted as one of us says, “Shit, we forgot the chairs!” But a lot of this is born out of necessity, since schools will spend tens of thousands on a Kentucky Bluegrass-turf -hybrid playing surface, but will not shell out a grand for a decent set of bleachers. These chairs sprout like dandelions all along the fringes of every field. Just once I’d like to go to my parent’s house and grab one of their old aluminum folding chairs with the plaid and frayed webbing and the bent arm rest and show up with that. That would be like showing up at the gym with a Walkman cassette player with the foam headset instead of an MP3 player. Old school or old fart?

Somehow I can’t picture my dad wearing a North Catholic High School Trojans tee-shirt to my basketball game decades ago, and I think if I told him to bring a camp chair he would show up with a stump. Not me, I’m the guy with the team tee-shirt and my camp chair – with netted cup holder, of course. Oh, and the boxers. (Maybe.)


Anonymous said...

Imagine this....about a week ago my college student daughter calls and asks me to bring in the "folding chairs" so they can use them to watch the Penguin game on the big screen. She opens the car door and sees the aluminum-webbed chairs that I used to take to t-ball games (about 16 years ago)...hey, they still work. She says "you brought THESE"....I say "then stand"...needless to say, she took them, used them and guess what, they worked just fine.

Dave Meyer said...


Anonymous said...

one more addition to the "old school" folding chairs, my husband has a camp chair with a flip up awning! We're ready for anything.

Dave Meyer said...

And I know for a fact, many beers have been consumed under that awning.

Anonymous said...

Gosh! Do not forget the designer stainless steel coffee mugs, containig, in many cases, adult beverages. To keep one warm on the chilly days and the chilled beverages on the sweltering days that only lay ahead!!!

Kristine said...

Ah, the camping chairs. What a great topic for a blog post! Our Cleveland Browns camping chairs have remained in both of our car trunks since 2002, when my kids attempted soccer at the age of 4. They have stayed in the trunks for 10 years. We've had to replace a few, but they have outlasted the one car. When we traded in the old car, we actually took out the camping chairs in the car dealer's parking lot, and transferred them to the car we had just purchased. We have now logged 57,452 hours with those chairs due to baseball for both boys. We have cupholders, but I'm extremely envious of Anonymous who has an awning. One can only hope.