Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Sports Mama Tip: Top FIVE Essentials For ALL Sports Moms

What do football mamas, soccer mamas, swim mamas, and cheer mamas all have in common?

That's easy! The fact that we LOVE our young athletes and that we spend A TON of time watching them do what they love!

Here are my FIVE Sports Mama must-haves, regardless of the sport your child plays:

  1. Smart phone- I use my smart phone to email coaches, text my fellow sports mamas, get driving directions, access our team roster, take photos,  and to take videos. Seriously. What can't you do with a smart phone?
  2. Planner- An electronic or a good ol' fashioned paper one will do. All that matters is that it is easily portable. Your athlete is going to have practices and games, usually at different times and different places. Somebody has to know what's going on!
  3. Portable seating- Nothing is more uncomfortable than soaking wet (or too hot or too cold) bleachers! Folding chairs and stadium seats are your BFF. You can find folding chairs in all different colors, with cup holders, canopies, and even heated stadium seats!
  4. Sports mama bag- Your athlete has their bag, but you need one too! What I carry in mine typically depends on the sport as well as the weather. A few things that I never leave home without are hand sanitizer, water, my mini-first aid kit, and snacks for siblings (because they will be hungry- even if you did just leave home 15 minutes ago!).
  5. Sports Mama BFF- This is a must! There will be days that you simply can't get your athlete to the field or court on time. Finding a fellow mama who can help you out of this bind will make your life so much less stressful. Not to mention how nice it is to just sit back, chat and spend time with somebody who gets you.

Honorable mentions:

  • DSLR camera (to get those Instagram worthy actions shots)
  • Sunglasses (to keep the sun out of your eyes and or hide the fact that waking up early isn't your forte!)
  • Folding sports wagon (to carry ALL the things)
  • Cooler (to keep your athlete's drink cold- bonus points for packing extras, in case they or a teammate run out!)

I hope you found this list helpful! Do you have an essential that wasn't mentioned above? Please feel free to share it with us in the comment section.

Happy Sports Mama-ing!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

One on One with Mateo Jackson; Youth Athlete Turned College Recruit

Mateo Jackson is one of Richmond, Virginia's top defensive players. At 6'2, 220lbs, with a GPA of 3.5, he was one of the area's top recruits.

His senior year he recorded 98 tackles, 9 tackles for losses, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 12 pass break ups, 5 interceptions, and 1 pick six. He was named 1st Team All-State, 1st Team All-Metro, All-Metro Defensive Player of the Year, 1st Team All-Region, Class 5 Region B Defensive Player of the Year, 1st Team All-804, All-804 Most Valuable Player, and All-804 Defensive Player of the Year.

He had several offers including Villanova, Navy, Cincinnati as well as Dartmouth, Ivy League member.

And he, like so many others, began as a youth athlete with big dreams.

I had the privilege of interviewing Mateo just days after National Signing Day, and his commitment to James Madison University.

How old were you when you began playing football?

Jackson: Seven

What position did you start out playing?

Jackson: Quarterback and linebacker

What position do you play now?

Jackson: Middle linebacker

What do you enjoy most about playing football?

Jackson: Just being able to go out and have fun every time I play. You build friendships and bonds with a lot of your teammates.

What is your least favorite part?

Jackson: Probably two-a-days because it's usually really hot and they're early in the morning.

What is the best piece of advice a coach has ever given you?

Jackson: Patience and hard work. Those might sound a little cliché, but those two are probably what got me to the point where I'm at today.

What advice would you give to those young athletes hoping to follow in your footsteps one day?

Jackson: I would just say again to work as hard as possible, both in the classroom and on the field. And to surround yourself with people that have the same goals and aspirations as you do.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Jackson: Graduating and earning my degree in whatever I pursue. Possibly preparing myself for the next level or putting my degree to use in the work field.

Mamas, I hope you share this interview with your young athletes, regardless of the sport they play.

Let them know that they too, can be like Mateo! While I obviously can't promise that they'll end up playing at the next level like him, I can promise this. They can have patience like him, they can work hard like him, they can surround themselves with people who have the same goals and aspirations like him.

Good luck at JMU, Mateo! This Sports Mama will definitely be rooting for you.


Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sports Mama Review: BodyArmor Sports Drinks

What's the one thing that each and every athlete has with them regardless of the sport they're playing? If you guessed something to drink, you'd be correct!

Hydration is crucial for our young athletes. If they're not hydrated, their body cannot perform at it's fullest potential. Symptoms of dehydration include muscle cramps, feeling tired, and even lightheadedness.

While water is usually all that is needed, sports drinks can be beneficial as well, especially when our athletes are engaging in lengthy vigorous activity. They help to replace the electrolytes lost by sweating.

But not all sports drinks are created equal. Many are high in sugar, sodium, and calories; some even contain caffeine!

Like all Sports Mamas, I want the absolute best for my young athletes. And when it comes to sports drinks, BodyArmor is my drink of choice.

BodyArmor contains potassium-packed electrolytes, coconut water, vitamins, and absolutely no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners. Besides providing superior hydration, it also tastes great! There are 11 delicious flavors to choose from including my boys' favorites, orange mango and strawberry banana. According to No. 1 "it tastes more like juice than a sports drink" and No. 3 even said "I love it! It tastes like fruit."

They also have a low calorie option. BodyArmor Lyte is naturally flavored and sweetened, only 20 calories per serving, and still combines electrolytes, coconut water, and vitamins for maximum hydration. I love the fact that even though it's low in calories, it isn't low on flavor.

Rounding out BodyArmor's lineup, is their new SportWater. It's purified water with electrolytes. That's it. No calories, no sodium, no funny taste.

With three different hydrating products to choose from, you will have no problem finding the right BodyArmor drink for your athlete (or yourself!).

Stay hydrated, mamas!

*** Disclaimer: BodyArmor was kind enough to send me their products, however, all thoughts and opinions are solely my own.***

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

An Open Letter From a Football Mom

Dear Mama on the Fence,

I understand your concern. I understand your fear.

It seems like everywhere we turn these days, football is getting a bad rep.

My son "will never play football. No, no."- Justin Timberlake, days before he was set to take the field at halftime of Super Bowl LII.

Pittsburgh Steelers' linebacker Ryan Shazier suffering a tragic spinal injury on national television.

Maryland state Del. Terri Hill drafting a bill to ban tackle football for children under the age of 14.

I get you.

In fact, I was you.

But that was because I was allowing the thoughts and opinions of others to influence what was ultimately my parenting decision.

What the media doesn't tell you is that almost no sport is free of concussion hazard. Lacrosse, ice hockey, wrestling, and soccer are risky as well.

They don't tell you that most youth football organizations, as well as high school programs, practice Heads Up Football. Fairfax County (VA) Public Schools, the 10th largest school district in the country, has reported a 43.3% decline in concussions since employing the technique back in 2013.

They don't tell you about the health benefits youth football provides, both mental and physical.

They don't tell you about the life lessons it teaches; discipline, work ethic, respect, teamwork, just to name a few.

They don't tell you about the lifelong memories and friends that your child will make.

They don't tell you about the lifelong memories and friends that you will make.

They only tell you a fraction of the story. I wanted to share another fraction. The fraction that seems to get lost these days.

I also want to remind you that as with all parenting decisions, the final decision is yours. Only you know what is best for your child.

And football may, or may not, be it.

And that is ok.


A Former on the Fence Mama

*** Click HERE to read my "What I've Gained and Learned From Being a Football Mom" post that was featured on the NFL Touchdown Moms Page!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Sports Mama Tip: Making The Most of YOUR Time at Practice

"I can't. My kid has practice."

Does this sound familiar? As Sports Mamas, we spend several hours out of our week taking our young athletes to and from practices. So many hours sometimes that we neglect doing things for ourselves.

Today I'm sharing five tips for making the most of your time at practice.

  1. Read. Take your Kindle, a magazine, or one of your favorite books. Reading helps stimulate the mind, improves your focus and concentration, and can even help reduce stress.
  2. Exercise. Walk or run laps around the field. Use the bleachers for stair/step exercises. No field or bleachers? You don't need a lot of room to stretch or do a few squats and lunges. Find a Sports Mama workout partner for even more motivation!
  3. Plan. Pull out your planner and plan your week. You can meal plan and even write your grocery list. Come up with ideas of things to do next time you have a free weekend. Figure out how you're going to get all three of your kids, to three different sporting events, at the exact same time. (Yep, that's currently on my to-do list!).
  4. Run errands. If you're comfortable leaving your athlete, of course. You can use this time to make/pick up dinner, swing by the grocery store, meet a friend for coffee, get a pedicure. Basically, whatever errand(s) you can fit into the hour to two hours that they're practicing.
  5. RELAX. Drink some tea. Put your headphones in. Kick your feet up. Do nothing. It is perfectly okay to not be busy every waking moment of your life.

I hope you found these tips helpful and that you use some of them next time your athlete has practice!

"Success isn't overnight. It's when everyday you get a little better than the day before. It all adds up."- Dwayne Johnson

Monday, January 29, 2018

Team Mama Idea: Post-Game Snacks for Early Morning Games

I was snack mama again! This time for No. 3's team. (Click HERE to see what I took last weekend for No. 2's basketball team.) No. 1's team doesn't do snacks, so I'm officially done for the season. SCORE!

His game was at 9am, Saturday morning. Yawn! I wasn't feeling 100%, so I needed something a little easier than the basketball breakfast kabobs I made last season.

Here's what I came up with:

As you can see, I went with a breakfast theme. I bought bananas, mini chocolate chip muffins, and apple juice. I placed everything in gallon sized plastic baggies and used a Sharpie to write different little sayings on the white label area.

Bagging everything together makes both transport and distribution a breeze. If you don't currently bag your snacks, I highly suggest trying it next time you're on snack duty. I promise you that the extra couple of dollars spent will be worth it!

The team (and parents!) loved them!


*** Sports Mama Tip: I bagged everything except for the bananas the night before. I waited until the morning to add them to slow down the ripening process. Because nine year olds and spotty bananas...

Friday, January 19, 2018

Team Mama Idea: Basketball Post-Game Snacks (NEW!)

Basketball season is in full swing! No. 1 has two practices, one day of training, and two games a week while both No. 2 and No. 3 each have one practice and one game a week. In other words, if I'm not at home, I can be found at the gym 99.99% of the time.

Tomorrow happens to be my turn at snack mama for No. 2's team. Here's what I'll be taking:

Each player will get a Gatorade, a clementine, and a pack of Goldfish crackers.

See the theme I'm going for here?? I'll give you a hint, it starts with an 'O' and ends with 'range'!

I found these cute, free printable drink wraps on Pinterest! They fit the smaller sized Gatorades perfectly! All I had to do was peel off the original wrapper and tape the new ones on. That's it!

I also drew lines on the clementines with a black sharpie.

How cute are these "little basketballs"?!

Finally, I placed everything into clear cellophane treat bags. They make passing them out SO much easier!

As always, I was also sure to pack some extras for siblings.

I love the way they turned out! I hope the team does too!

Go Marshmallows!!! (Yes, that is the name No. 2's team decided on. *insert overly exaggerated eye roll* lol.)

*** Want even more post-game snack ideas? I got you, mama! Click HERE and HERE for some of my past ideas!