Opening Weekend 2017 at the New SunTrust Park

It’s finally here!  We have waited a long time for this day!  April 14, 2017!!  Three years ago when we got the announcement that we were getting a new ballpark, I had no idea how much progress, vision, and creativity could be carried out so well, so beautifully and so quickly!!

What an honor to serve on the Braves Fan Advisory Board for the new SunTrust Park for 2-1/2 years, working with some of the nicest people, and it is really amazing to see Braves’ vision (and what we have been talking about for so long) finally come to LIFE!!

There was so much excitement Opening night, throughout opening weekend, and so much energy in and around SunTrust Park.  There is so much to do and see at SunTrust Park and in The Battery Atlanta.  We attended the games Friday and Saturday night of Opening Weekend and still didn’t get to experience everything there is to offer.  I can’t wait to go back (which will be soon), and try several new food items by Delaware North in SunTrust Park, and enjoy all the cool places to eat in The Battery Atlanta.  There is so much thought and creativity that has gone into this ballpark.  It is amazing!!  I will let the pictures tell the story.

I was so happy to be a part of this project, even if in a small way.  I am proud to call this ball park, HOME!  Go Braves!

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This is the Silver Bullet Bridge overlooks the plaza where there will be pregame and post game activities that will go on.  Love the Braves Sphere!
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What a gorgeous statue!

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Coca Cola Roxy Theatre Pre-Game Party
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Derek Schiller, Terry McGuirk, Rob Manfred, John Schuerholz at the Pre-Game Party at the Coca-Cola Roxy Theatre!

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He’s a very kind man.  Every time he meets my family he says, “Hi. I’m John Schuerholz”.  Never assuming they know who he is.
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Inside the Coca-Cola Roxy Theatre!  It is beautiful!
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Dancing Chick-Fil-A cows were hanging out near our parking lot!!
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This place was hopping!!
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Beautiful Views!

 

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Flyover during our National Anthem!!  Gave me Chills!

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Timothy Miller has a voice that will melt you!

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One of the many features of The Battery Atlanta!  An awesome place to hang out with your people.  It’s all about the experience.
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Overlooking the other side of the Plaza area where the Fox Sports guys will broadcast from.

 

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For Trivia Purposes:  The First Winner Ever of the Tool Race?  Hammerin’ Hank.
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It’s a beauty.  Don’t ya think?
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We got sit behind visitors’ dugout on this special Opening Night!
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I got this from Dale Murphy’s twitter.  I couldn’t resist!  Several Braves Legends in one shot?  Ok!
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View from our regular seats
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Braves win!  One of many I’m sure!  They had to win the first one!
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We got to enjoy a VIP party before the game but after the game we enjoyed a concert from Cole Swindell.  What an amazing night!
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How To Get to SunTrust Park: Important Things You Need To Know

I wanted to pass on some important information from the Braves about how to get to and from SunTrust Park on game day!

The Atlanta Braves have put great thought and detail into how to make getting to SunTrust Park the best experience for you!  The Braves have joined in partnership with Uber, Waze, and Cobb County to help get you to the ballpark easier and help manage the traffic during game days.  They are excited to pilot new technology with the Uber app, and the updated MLB.com Ballpark App, to help make the entire process easier from purchasing your tickets, and planning your trip to and from the ballpark.

New Partnership with Uber:

“Uber announced the pilot of new technology that will make the pick-up experience fast and more efficient at SunTrust Park.”

“Riders leaving SunTrust park will be directed to the Uber Zone, which is located steps from the ballpark along Windy Ridge Parkway, through in-app messaging and physical signage. At the Uber Zone, fans will open their Uber app, set their destination and request a car as usual.  Instead of having to navigate to find a specific car and driver, riders will see a personalized PIN cole in their app and can simply give it to the next available driver in the Uber Zone.”

For game day travel, you are encouraged to make a plan in advance of your trip to SunTrust Park.  This can be done in 3 easy steps, and can be completed through the updated MLB.com Ballpark app.

What You Need to Know:

 Buy your ticket in advance!  The Braves have transitioned completely to PAPERLESS TICKETS.   Tickets can be purchased through the MLB.com Ballpark app where you will receive a barcode that will be scanned on your phone as you enter the gates.  You can also purchase tickets at Braves.com, or calling the Braves ticket office at 404-577-9100.

Buy your parking in advance!   When you purchase your game tickets, please also select and purchase your parking!  This will give you better choices of where to park and ultimately save you money.  There are 14,000 spaces around the ballpark, but purchasing before you arrive will give you customized directions and a pre-purchase discount.  Many lots will require a pre-payment, although some will accept credit cards at the site.  Plus, if you have bought your parking in advance, you will have the added benefit of the Waze app to help you get there.

Use the Waze App!  Because they are partnering with the Braves, Waze will be receiving real-time traffic information and updates from Cobb County to help spread out traffic in such a large area and help you maneuver around and find the best way to your parking lot (another reason to buy parking in advance).  Cobb County and Waze will be able to get you around trouble spots, much more than a smartphone map app, because it is customized to help you get to a Braves event.

To also help reduce congestion, The Cobb County DOT is assisting with traffic manageability by offering The Cumberland Circulator.  This transit system will have new routes to help you on game day, make daily traffic a bit more manageable, with enhanced mobility and frequency.

There are 14 access points to get in and out of the ballpark area, minimizing impact on everyday commuters.  There are 14,000 parking spaces available around SunTrust Park.  5,000 more parking spaces than at Turner Field…. for a ballpark with 8,000 less seats!  

I’m ready for new season in our awesome new ballpark!!  Let’s Play Ball!

For more information, go to Braves.com/transportation

 

 

The Kids’ Area at SunTrust Park

The Braves have worked very hard to include a fun space for our kids!  As with the rest of the ballpark, this area has been well thought out and carefully designed.  Now when your kids come to a game, they will get to enjoy so many amenities that SunTrust Park has to offer.  The Braves, in partnership with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, have come up with a fabulous kids’ zone called ‘Hope and Will’s Sandlot’. It is located behind sections 151-155!

As always, there is a Braves Kids Club membership so your kids can be a part of the team!  A premium membership is $25 (per membership) or there is a free membership option as well.  When you buy a Premium Membership, there are several really great benefits and prizes that include a Dansby Swanson jersey and much much more.  Check out all the info at Braves.com/kids.

And be on the lookout about how you can reserve your times in advance for all the fun games and activities you will see here.

In the meantime, let me show you around….

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The ‘Hope and Will Climbing Tower’ is a fun climbing tower has a large Braves helmet at the top (seen below)!  I’m sure we’ll be spending a great deal of time here.

 

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You will see here a close up of the “loading dock” for ‘Hope and Will’s Pop Flyer Zip Line’!  It looks like loads of fun!
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This is ‘Hope and Will’s Pop Flyer Zip Line’.  This is the loading area where fans get strapped in and zip line down.  The building behind this is a hotel that will open in 2018.  What a great space!

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This is a great view of the First Base Dash, (where you can time how fast you can run), the Pop Flier Zip Line, and Climbing Tower.  The building you see to the right of this frame is a hotel that will open in 2018!

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Kids have their own Braves Clubhouse Store!
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I loved this game as a kid!  This is Hydration Station.  Players get to race by spraying water in the holes, (which raises the baseball),  to see who gets to the top first.
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Batting Cage, ‘Batter UP!’
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At ‘Strike Zone’, you get to see what it is like to hit a home run at SunTrust Park!
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‘Strike Zone’
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‘Chop A Mole’!!

 

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This is a game called, ‘Pick ‘Em Off’… Players will shoot a ball into the hole and whoever has the most balls go in, wins!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kids even get their own snack and dinner spot!  I’m sure we will be spending a great deal of time here, too.

Thanks for letting me show you around the Kids’ area!  It’s going to be a really fun season!

See you there!

Go Braves!

The Powerful Words that Mean So Much

Last night, my son had a baseball game.  Husband was coaching.  I was running the dugout.  Our boys faced a tough team and played hard.  Our son had a good game but made some mistakes that don’t usually happen.  He was upset.

On the way home in the car, it was just the two of us.  We were quiet for a few minutes, just relaxing and downloading all that had happened.  Something prompted me to say, “I am proud of you”.  I saw his stress start to melt away.  He looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “Why would you be proud of me?”

I told him that he doesn’t have to do anything spectacular on that field for me to be proud of him.  As long as he tries his best, I will always be proud.

I reminded him that baseball is a tough sport.  There is a very good chance you will strike out, drop a ball, miss a grounder, or be called out at a base.   It is ok.  You will not be perfect every time.

There were some good things that happened on the field.  He had some good plays and hits, so we focused on those.  I reminded him that the rest of the player development will come… just to keep working hard.

The conversation could have gone a very different way in the car on the way home.  We could have focused on all that went wrong and how we were going to make it better, but instead, he needed to hear that I was proud.  And my words made a difference.

Later he told me that those words made him feel better about himself.  I hope so.  I don’t want his self-worth to be dependent upon his performance on the field.  He has a lot of heart, he loves the game, and as long as he is having fun and trying hard… I will ALWAYS be proud.

Tomorrow is a new day.

 

 

Lessons from the Dugout

It’s hard to imagine that our baseball coaches are simply volunteers. There is a great deal of love, passion, and time that goes into a season.  My husband loves being able to coach.  I love being able to help.  One of my many responsibilities as a Team Mom is that I get to run drills with the boys on the field, I also do administrative stuff for my hubby/coach since he has a full time job, but I think my most important job is that I run the dugout.  For every game.

A lot happens in the dugout.  It is a very adventurous place.  Our son is now 11 years old, but when he and his teammaues were 9/10 and younger,  I found it was important to be in the dugout. I end up being the batting order coordinator, counselor, cheerleader, photographer, motivational speaker, nurse, aka boo boo fixer, monitor of boys climbing the fence, and trying to make sure none of the players swings a bat in the dugout.  I also am a “bat runner” or “bat girl” if you prefer.  It is fun but you have to stay on your toes.  I have to be prepared.

I make sure I have these important items in my trusty Team Mom Bag:

First Aid Kit

Medical Forms

Pens for my husband/Coach who always tends to forget his

Ice packs

Sunscreen

Extra Snacks

Water Bottles

Game Schedule/Snack Schedule

Team Spirit

I will always have a first aid kit with me for those moments where anything can happen.  Blisters, cuts, scrapes, bumps, and bruises.  This is also why I will bring a few ice packs.  (Summer Baseball is an entirely different situation… more on this later.)

Our park has asked our players to fill out medical forms in case of emergency.  I will always have those with me in a folder or notebook.

I will always bring a few extra water bottles and snack bars in case someone is starving in the dugout, or forgot to bring their water bottle.  Especially those who are running from somewhere else or forgot to eat breakfast.  Keeping in mind food allergies.

I always have a copy of the game schedule either in writing or on my phone because someone will almost always ask me about an upcoming game or when they are supposed to bring snack.

But, like I said I help out in the dugout, every game.  As the coach’s wife, he puts me to the task and trusts I will handle it.

The first couple of games are the funniest because the boys are still bonding as a team, and learning so much.  Some are climbing on everything, and some are throwing balls and/or swinging bats.  This is my job to monitor (prevent) all of this.

As the “batting order coordinator” so I have to have those boys ready to go on deck or up to bat.  No matter what.  It takes a game or two to get them to understand the timing of all of this.  When the boys were younger, sometimes it took 2 of us in the dugout… 1 for crowd control and 1 for batting order.

The first couple of games, our players can get so nervous.  I teach them to cheer each other on.  Sometimes things on the field don’t always go their way and this is an important lesson to learn.  If one of our players strikes out, I will teach they boys that as that player comes back to the dugout, that are met by their team with pats on the back and a “it’s ok, man!” or to give them a High Five.  Lift them up when they are down.  And to do that throughout the game no matter what.  Sometimes just hearing a “you can do it!” from another player can mean so much.

This is so much a part of the game.  Lifting each other up when GOOD things happen and lifting each other up when BAD things happen.

Things on the field will not go their way every single time.

Just like life…

Never DefeatedWhen things don’t go our way, it’s always nice to have a teammate, friend, family member to pat us on the back and say, “it’s ok, man!” or give us a high five for at least trying and getting out there and giving good effort.

By the end of the season, the boys are usually connected, they are teammates and friends.  They know what is expected of them in the dugout.  I don’t have to watch for swinging bats as much…or balls flying through the air, but I will see them give pats on the back and hear them give words of encouragement to their teammate when things didn’t go their way on the field.

Then I have done my job.

Sometimes, baseball is more than just baseball.

Gift Ideas for Your Favorite Coach

Do you have an amazing coach that has given your kids a great experience at their favorite sport?  As we all know, a good coach is hard to find.  These guys are volunteers and choose to spend their time teaching and helping our kids.  I know we all want a meaningful way to show our appreciation.

I love the idea of going in together as a Team and doing something nice for your favorite coach.  There are many ideas circulating but these are my favorite.

The parents on our team usually collected money for a very nice gift card to various restaurants or sporting goods stores and present it to the Coaches at the End of the Season Party.  This is such a great idea.  They do this on their own.  They know as a team mom, I am working on a gift from the players to the coaches, and I have something special I give to our players….See my post on Team Mom: End of Season Gifts for Coaches and Players.

A meaningful gift for a coach from their players, is a team picture, surrounded by a mat, in a nice frame that the players have signed.  I’ve had several coaches tell me they really appreciated this.  My husband loves seeing pictures of every team he has coached on a special wall in our home.  See my post on Team Mom: End of Season Gifts for Coaches and Players.

Another great idea I heard about was from my friend, Donna.  A coach she had worked with had really done an outstanding job with her kids.  She also knew he was a HUGE Boston Red Sox fan.  She emailed them telling them how excellent this coach was and that she wanted to do something nice for him.

They sent her a bottle of field dirt…to some, it might not mean that much, but to him, it meant the WORLD.  It contained actual MLB Authenticated game-used dirt from Fenway Park.  You can actually go to an authentication database and enter the hologram number which is displayed on the bottle.  This validates that this is actually game-used field dirt.  A very thoughtful gift, and something very meaningful to a true fan.

So, if you are looking for a meaningful gift for an important person or favorite Coach…. find out what their favorite team, or player, and try sending that email to that professional organization to see what they may send you or see what you can find online.

Everyone appreciates a good coach and we want to properly show our gratitude!

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Our Memories at Turner Field

Our Memories at Turner Field…  Where do I start?  There are too many to count.  I truly can’t believe that we are about to go in to the last weekend at this ballpark.  I am excited about SunTrust Park and all of the new awesomeness that we are about to experience, but, I am a little sad to say goodbye to a place where we have spent so much time.

My husband and I attended the second game ever at Turner Field in April of 1997.  We were only dating at the time.  Our first date had been to a Braves game at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium just the summer before, now our life together was to continue at Turner Field.  Since then, we have gotten engaged, married, and had 2 children, who are now 11 and 15 years old.

Over the years, we have attended MANY MANY games.  When we aren’t attending, we are watching the game on TV.  We started bringing our children when they were young, but only 2-3 times a year.  As they got older, we started attending more and more games and ultimately found ourselves becoming A-List members and attending 20+ games a season.

Our babies attending their first ballgame when each was around 4 months old.  They both sat so still and were in awe of everything going on around them.  They have loved it from the beginning!

As I look back at the number of years we have attended games, I am amazed of how many friends and family members we have run into there and attended games with.

I think about how many times we have run the bases, both on the field and up in the Coca-Cola Sky Field area, or how many times we have pitched or hit a ball in Scout’s Alley, or how many times my son has played foam baseball in the Children’s Healthcare Family Zone.  I wonder how many times my daughter and I have gotten our face painted, how many times we have walked around the warning track, chased foul balls, or have been on our feet cheering our guys on to win.

We have celebrated our wedding anniversaries, our children’s birthdays, graduations, Mother’s Days, Father’s Days, large groups from our youth group at church and school, etc.etc.

The list goes on and on……

I think about the number of hotdogs, pizzas, chicken fingers, bags of cotton candy, ice cream cones, and King of Pop popsicles we have eaten.  The number of posters that my children have made to support their favorite players, the number of balls we have caught during batting practice, and the number of players that have thrown a baseball to my children, which is an absolutely precious gift.

I think about the time my husband caught a homerun ball, hit by Evan Gattis, in his glove in centerfield on Father’s Day!  And the time a homerun ball, hit by Freddie Freeman, bounced on the seat behind me and I reached up and caught it barehanded.

I think about the number of post-game concerts we have stayed for, the number of fireworks displays, and the number of rain delays we have sat through…

But most importantly, the number of hours we have spent watching our favorite game, cheering on our favorite team… together.

My children will remember growing up at this Ballpark.

I’ve always loved it that when we were at a game, my childhood or current friends would send me a message saying, “Hey!  We are at the game, are you here?”  They knew we would be there, and this has prompted some very fun reunions.

At the start of this season there was so much negativity surrounding how the Braves were playing and attendance has been low, so we have been able to “stretch our legs” a little bit at games this year.  But now, I am THRILLED that the team is playing FANTASTIC baseball, winning their last 10 out of 11 games, and there will be a sold out crowd at the Final game this Sunday to celebrate the final game.  I’m so proud of our team and always proud to be a Braves Fan!

I feel a little nostalgic to say ‘so long’ to Turner Field, but so excited for the next chapter at SunTrust Park.  This team is going to take us very far in the years to come!!  Just Wait!

So, Thank you to The Atlanta Braves and Turner Field for making the last several years really fun and enjoyable for our family.

Our Memories are Priceless.

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Always a Great Fireworks Show!
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We got to meet Steve Avery!!
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We were chosen to be a part of a pre-game parade and Matt Wisler was warming up!
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Paul Byrd stopped to take a picture with me. He is the nicest guy! He does a great job reporting about the Braves.
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The Braves treat their season ticket holders very well and gave us a ‘Play Day’ at Turner Field.  They fed us, let us play catch on the field, and gave us a tour of the ballpark.  This is the Braves dugout (in the rain)
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In 2015, our son was chosen to be the Honorary Team Captain for the game that night which meant he got to go to home plate and meet the umpires and both managers! He was so happy.

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An autographed ball by Fredi Gonzalez and Andrelton Simmons!  Andrelton threw a ball to my daughter during batting practice the day before and on this day he signed it!  We loved him!

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This was our son’s birthday/last day of school/5th grade graduation day, so, of course, we were headed to the Braves game that night!  He was so excited!  The Braves found out it was his birthday/5th grade graduation so they upgraded our seats to 4th row by the Braves on-deck circle.  It was such a special treat!
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I’ve always thought this was supercool!
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Batting Practice

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My family. 🙂  We were at the Lead-off Luncheon at Turner Field with the Braves players and coaches back at the beginning of this season.  A really fun day!

 

Is your Athlete Coachable?

My son attended a baseball camp with Greg McMichael, former pitcher with the Atlanta Braves.  At the beginning of camp, he sat the boys down and talked to them a for a bit, the parents got to stand in the back and listen to what he had to say.  He had a wealth of knowledge, a ton of experience, and was great to listen to.  One thing that he said really stuck with me.  It was, “I can tell which boys are going to be the BEST players by how much they LISTEN.”  This has stuck with me for a few years.  It is true.

My husband and I have managed/coached 2 teams a year over the past 5 years.  We have seen the “coachable” players that have been an absolute pleasure to coach and be around.  We’ve also seen the ones that are constantly talking, running their mouth, arguing with everything you say, wanting to “prove” themselves.

The “coachable” ones will go far in life.  They are hungry for information.  They are willing to learn.  They are willing to do what you suggest to help them get better.  They are respectful and well mannered.  They ride the wave with you.  They are not doormats but they do what you suggest and keep trying…and with a great attitude.

The coach makes a huge difference in the learning and motivation of your child but if you are fortunate enough to have an awesome coach that you trust, then it’s much more crucial to be a “coachable” kid…and to be “coachable” parents, too.

The talkative/argumentative players keep talking about how THEY think things should be.  I was warming up with the softball girls at practice, throwing pop fly balls so they could practice their catching.  One softball girl actually said to me that she was “too good to be doing this”.  I was stunned that a child would actually say such a thing about basic fundamentals… but… she was the one who later as the pitcher, missed catching a basic pop fly as it came to her in a game.

We are never “too good” to keep trying.

We are never “too good” to keep working HARD.

We are never “too good” to listen.

and never EVER “too good” to keep learning…

Every. Single. Day.

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Pressure

Pressure.   The pressure that parents put on their kids. It is sad.

Today our 2 kids played 3 games again.  1 baseball/2 softball.

The Situation… Bases loaded… 2 outs… Bottom of the final inning.  The team is down by one run.  The count is 3-2… The batter hasn’t swung at any of the first 5 pitches.  Her parents begin yelling at her to “SWING THE BAT!  SWING THE BAT!”  She glares at her parents…

On the next pitch, a ball out of the strike zone, a pitch she normally wouldn’t swing at, she started her swing but stopped it… called strike 3 on the check swing!  Game Over…

What would have been a base on balls and tie game…

All because her parents were putting heated pressure on her to swing the bat.

I find this sad.  This is supposed to be fun.

Last week we heard a coach completely LOSE it on the field because he was SCREAMING at HIS OWN CHILD during a practice!  Why?  This is supposed to be fun.

We also heard another mom last week, who was a self-proclaimed softball superstar in college, telling her daughter whether or not to swing at a pitch as the ball IS IN MID-FLIGHT!

Why?  This is supposed to be fun.

With this tremendous pressure that parents are placing on their kids, it is going to drive them away from doing something they love, or something that they are really good at.

Why can’t they be there to celebrate in the good times and encourage in the bad times?

I wish parents could just enjoy watching their kids play…

At this game today, not only did this girl feel like she let her parents down, she felt like she let her team down.  That is too much responsibility for one to have because her parents put tremendous pressure on her to do something she wasn’t comfortable doing…  She is a decent hitter and had a good chance to make the right decision at the plate.

My kids have both struggled at the plate recently… it’s been hard for them.  But today our daughter went 2-2 in her first game and walked twice in her second game.  Why?  Because of her HARD WORK!  She has been taking extra batting practice and working with “Coach Dad” to get better.  She could have easily gotten discouraged and walked away from softball forever!  But no!  We have encouraged her.  She knows that her parents believe in her and support her.  NO MATTER WHAT!  In good times and in bad times! Today, we CELEBRATED with her!  We TRUSTED her and she BLOSSOMED!

There was definitely no screaming involved.

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The pitch was low and away.  She went for it and NAILED it!

Kids need just their parents to BELIEVE in them!

One day these high pressure parents are going to be surprised at the answer when they ask, “You don’t want to play ball anymore?”

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Team Mom: Ways to get your season started

If you are a Team Mom, then Congratulations!  You have a very important role.  It is fun and rewarding.  You will find yourself a coach’s assistant, administrative assistant, fellow coach, parent liaison, and have a fun connection with the boys.  It has been a very rewarding experience for me, one that I love doing because it is helping our teams do something so very special.  You can really help make baseball a very good experience for these boys.  This is my 12th season doing this with my husband, the head coach, and with our son who is passionate about baseball.  I am happy to help you along this journey….

This is how it has worked for us.

First, I get a copy of our players, parent phone numbers, and email addresses. If you are married to your head coach, this information should come easy to you.  If you are not married to your head coach and/or working with someone else, then please make sure you get this information.  In our situation, we get our roster and parent information and our practices start almost immediately.  So my hubby/coach has to call the families pretty quickly so they know what day to show up for practice.  Usually there is a team meeting the night of the first practice (or whenever your coach chooses) … so please make sure to attend so you meet the parents and say hello.

After the coach’s first introduction, either by call, email, or parent meeting, I usually send everyone an email further introducing myself.  Please include your cell phone number in every email in case parents need to contact you.

In your introductory email, you want to pack in as much information as possible.  The questions that every parent has is,

  • When is the game schedule coming out?
  • When do we bring snacks and drinks for our team?

I will answer these questions… usually in our case, the game schedule doesn’t come out for another week or so, and I will assure them I will get it to them as soon as it comes out. Then, at that time I will coordinate post-game snacks and drinks.

  • Ask if anyone has any food allergies
  • ask that the Medical Release Form be filled out and turned back in to you (if applicable)
  • Ask for their cell phone number

We have started to ask for our parent’s cell phone numbers for a texting list.  Parents really appreciate this.  This is great to communicate those last minute cancellations or field changes that needed to be communicated immediately.  Especially when you are on a travel team or moving around from one location to another, it is important to have that direct line of communication.  Texting is even more efficient than email.  There are team communication apps to assist with this now but require a sign up or install, and cost.  If parents have to sign up, register their number, or install an app, we have found, you only get half of them.  You’ll have to text or email out the important message anyway.

Also in your introductory email, include information about screen printing names and numbers on the back of the jerseys. (if it applies to you-see below)

In Recreational baseball:  At the first practice, it is important to get every player’s desired number for the back of the jersey.  In some situations we have been given jerseys with numbers 1-12 to pass out, in other cases the boys can choose any number they want.  It is important to research the t-shirt screen printing places in your area. We had some that charge as high as $7.50 to screen print a name (numbers were already on) on the back of the jersey but can have it done in 48 hours. Then, we have some that will take as long as two and a half weeks. I am not happy with the high cost and it definitely should not take 2½ weeks.  Even the store owner was mortified at this time frame and gave us the screen printing cost for free.  The perfect situation is to find someone that can do it for around $5 and can do it very quickly. A few days seems acceptable but the trick is to get started early so you’ll have time to get your jersey back before the first game.  Remember there are several other teams turning their shirts to be screen printed also.

We are now on a ‘Select’ Baseball team at our park, so they are handling uniforms and screen printing.  Just this morning, I just got an email saying that we all have to pay a small fee for the cost of putting names and numbers on jerseys, and monogramming numbers on hats.  The cost?  $10.  And so it goes…

Some leagues require a medical release form to be filled out by each parent with a doctor’s contact information, parent info, and date of last tetanus booster in case of an emergency.  Parents can return these to you at practice or email these to you for their convenience (and you can print them out). It is necessary to make sure you get one from every parent.   I usually keep a notebook with these forms, game schedule, and snack/drink schedule in a small notebook and in my bag.  That way I’m always prepared if anyone has a question.

Our league also asks each family on our teams to provide snacks and drinks for after one of the games in the season.  I always ALWAYS let my parents sign up for whatever game works for them because if they know the time that they will be out of town or will not be able to attend games, it take the stress out of not having to worry about switching around with another family for snack. This is just my personal preference. I do not like being signed up for something and then it falling on a weekend if I can’t be there. It happens every time.  Then it’s just one more thing to have to worry about. Usually, all my families will respond to sign up within the day. I do have a couple of parents that will say, “just sign me up wherever” so I will just put them in the missing weeks.  I like to give them the option to sign up for what works for them.  I feel it is more respectful of their time.

If a parent does not sign up for snack, I’ll ask them if they can take a particular game.  They will always say yes.  I have found that parents are happy to help.  If you are nice, they’ll be nice, too.  I assure them that I will send them an email reminder 1-2 days prior to their scheduled game.  I found they are thankful for this, too.

I feel that coaching or being a team mom is an outreach to our community.  It is an opportunity to touch lives.  You never really know what kind of home that these kids are coming from.  Some don’t have good situations at home, even if you live in a nice area.  Some have parents dealing with divorce, or illness, or a disability.  Some have hardships beyond our comprehension.  Some have never played baseball before and are scared to death.  Some don’t have dads at home to work with them or to simply play catch.  Baseball could be the very thing that lets them escape from all of that.  It is our job to give them a few hours a week of positive, uplifting, confidence building, team building fun.  It is important to build a good, long lasting baseball experience that they will remember forever.

Let’s Play Ball!