This is my fifth season as an AAU Mama and I've learned a lot along the way. Today I'm sharing my tips for surviving those long days at the court aka tourneys. You're welcome!
- Location, location, location. Be sure to plug the address into your favorite gps app at least a couple of days prior to the tourney. Find out how far it is and how long it will take you to get there- don't forget to factor in traffic! I also like to do to a little research as to what will be around me (restaurants, Starbucks- Mama needs her caffeine!, gas stations, etc.).
- Pack ALL bags the night before. This includes your player's backpack as well as your Sports Mama bag. Nothing is worse than driving all the way across town and having to find an athletic store because your kid forgot his sneakers. I've said it before and will say it again (and again!), it's better to be over prepared than under prepared. Besides, you'll get to sleep in a few extra minutes this way!
- Pack food. Your player will need to eat, you will need to eat. Sure you can order lunch from the concession stand if you'd like, but packing food allows you to control both the quality of the ingredients as well as your budget! Don't forget about snacks! Many times teams will go out and eat together, which is why researching the area ahead of time is always a good idea.
- Bring seating. You never know what the gym you are playing in will be like. Will there be bleachers, will there not be bleachers? My folding chair is always in the car, just in case. And if there are bleachers, bringing a stadium seat or a sport cushion is best. Ain't nobody got time for bleacher butt!
- Bring cash. And by cash, I mean real cash. Most tournaments charge spectators (yep, even us Mamas) an entry fee. If they offer both a daily and weekend pass, and you plan on being there both days, I suggest going with the weekend pass. They'll usually save you a couple of dollars. The cash can also be used at the ever so tempting concession stand... mmmm, French fries!
- Bring sibling entertainment. If this pertains to you, of course. I'm not even going to lie, I don't always bring No. 2 and No. 3 to the tourneys. For one, they usually have their own sports going on. For two, it's a long day. And quite frankly, it can get expensive. Quick! But when they do go, I try to make sure they have something to stay occupied (i.e. electronics of some sort). Anybody else's kids on a Fortnite kick at the moment? *insert overly exaggerated eye roll*
- Get to know your fellow sports parents. You're going to be spending A LOT of time with them. Find some that share similar interests with you. And chances are you'll need carpool help at least once during the season. It's always great to actually know the person you're sending your kid with, amIright?
- Keep calm and cheer loud! AAU basketball can get pretty competitive. You're going to win some games and you're going to lose some... that's the nature of the game. You'll probably even come across a parent (or two!) who thinks their 14 year old's D1 collegiate scholarship is being handed out that same day. Just take a few deep breaths and remember the real reason you're there; for your child's love of the game. Not for anyone else.
Good luck this season, Basketball Mamas!