Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Sports Mama Tip: College Football Game Day Must-Haves!

Long time no see blog. Life is still busy, per usual. We moved No. 1 into his college dorm room a little over a month ago. He had to report early for football camp. No. 2 is a Senior and No. 3 is a Freshman. My baby... a Freshman! I'm still working full time, momming, on the Board of our High School Football Booster Club, and trying my best to keep up with all things Confessions of a Sports Mama (including our Facebook group which by the way has over 30,000 members now!). Speaking of, have you joined us yet?

This past week I attended No. 1's first college football game!!! Talk about all the feels. It was 5 hours and 45 minutes away from home, so I wanted to be sure that I was as prepared as possible. There was absolutely no turning around if I forgot something. So I asked for help in the group, and of course, they came through!

Here is a list of our college football game day must-haves, in no particular order. Except for the first.:

  • Clear stadium bag. Just about all other types of bags (backpacks, fanny packs, purses) are banned in most stadiums. The only bag you are allowed to bring in? A clear bag no larger than 12" x 6" x 12". I found mine on Amazon. You can even find some with colored handles, for those of us who want to match them to our team colors.
  • Hand sanitizer. I always carry it. Pretty self explanatory. Came in super handy after meeting/shaking hands with parents, especially during the tailgate.
  • Sunscreen. Who likes to be sunburned? And because you already know that you're going to be sitting in direct sun if you're at an away game. Isn't it funny how that always happens?
  • Sunglasses. Refer to the previous must-have.
  • FAN. Paper fan. A battery operated fan. A piece of mail. Anything to fan yourself with. Game day is HOT. Especially in the beginning of the season.
  • Portable phone charger. Game days are long. Nothing worse than a dead phone.
  • Poncho. Because Mother Nature. And because umbrellas are a no-go in most college stadiums.
  • Wallet. To purchase food/drinks from the concession stand. Or to buy some new team swag (can we ever have enough?). One mama suggested carrying cash too, just in case the credit card machines go down.
  • Spirit items. Cowbell. Pom poms. Streamers. We are their number one fans after all!
  • Positivity. College football can be an emotional roller coaster. Remember, they aren't in high school anymore. Coaches are playing to win, not to make everyone happy. Cheer loud. Be proud! Only 7% of high school athletes make it to this level!

Something I missed that you don't leave home without? Please let me know. I'm still learning the ropes!


Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Team Mama Idea: FREE Baseball Printable for Senior Night or End of Season Gifts!

With many baseball seasons wrapping up, I thought it would be the perfect time to share this post. Kelly S., one of the amazing mamas in the Confessions of a Sports Mama Facebook Group (which by the way now has over 23,000 members!!!) was sweet enough to share not only the idea, but the printable to go along with it!

The cute, home plate shaped printable reads "On this dirt you've literally left it all- blood seat and tears. You've made friendships that will always be a part of you. You've fought side-by-side with the guys who relate with how bad you want to win. This dirt holds your laughter as tightly as it holds your frustration. Life goes on off this dirt but nothing can compare to the feeling you get while standing on it. Each time you look at this jar of dirt, know in your heart what it stands for and remember these years and all of the wonderful memories it holds."

Click HERE to download.

Once downloaded you simply print it out on cardstock, punch a hole in the top, and attach to a mason jar filled with dirt from the baseball field. You could make it even more special by adding their name to the jar.

They make the perfect Senior Night or end of season gifts.

If gifting them on Senior Night, you could have each player collect the dirt from the field as they are announced. Shout out to Adrienne W. (another mama in our group) for the idea!

Thanks again to Kelly S. for her help with this post! More from her can be found HERE.

And for more daily sports mom inspiration, be sure to join our Facebook Group!

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Team Mama Idea: Adult Beverage Gift for Coaches

We had our end of season football banquet about a week and a half ago. It's hard to believe that this is the final one for No. 1. Four high school seasons came and went so quickly. 

As in years past, I took the lead on coordinating coaches gifts. I began as I always do by collecting money from the parents. I sent out an email asking for donations. I never specify an amount. The actual wording in my email states that "no amount is too little (or too much!)". I've found that this is the absolute best way to go about getting the most participation (and money!)

We've previously gifted our coaches personalized photo balls, framed photos signed by the players, shirts, and gift cards. I knew I wanted to do something different. Besides being unique, I also wanted it to be useful. So here's what I came up with!

A bottle of their favorite liquor, personalized glasses, and personalized coasters. Seriously, how cool of a gift is that?!?

Here is a close up of the glasses and coasters.

Both were purchased at HomeGoods. The etching and engraving were done by someone local.

On to the tags...

Because let's be honest, coaching a team during a pandemic is definitely deserving of a drink (or three!).

The coaches were so excited about their gifts. They absolutely loved them!

They also each received a gift card.

And our Head Coach was given this awesome signed frame.

It says "Behind every fearless player is a fearless coach who refused to let them be anything, but the best they can be." Inside of the word "coach" are team photos. This was another Etsy find.

Here are a few photos from the banquet. 

We had posters with baby photos of our Seniors and Coaches. (It was actually recycled from our Senior Banquet where we used it for a guessing game). So much fun!

And what would a banquet be without a little cake...

Or two?

I'll miss high school football... but I am looking forward to seeing my boy on the college field!

*** For more banquet and gift ideas click HERE and HERE. Don't forget to join the Confessions of a Sports Mama Facebook Group either!

Sunday, February 27, 2022

10,000 STRONG... and Counting!

We did it, Sports Mamas! WE DID IT! Our Facebook Group hit 10,000 members last week!!! 10,000! So amazing.

So why should you join, if you haven't already? Let me tell you why. It doesn't matter whether you're a football mama, a soccer mama, a basketball mama, a baseball mama, a swim mama, a wrestling mama, or a dance mama. All Sports Mamas; rookie, seasoned and retired are welcomed.

It's a fun, positive place to share personal tips, tricks, experiences, victories and defeats. We share photos, stories, and ask questions.

No judgement passed. Just support!

But don't just take it from me. Here's what our Mamas have to say.

  • A place where you can "brag" about your athlete's accomplishments and victories without embarrassment or feeling bad.
  • Good advice from other moms.
  • Shared experiences... we appreciate each other because we know.
  • Seeing the accomplishments of kids you've followed online and will probably never meet in person but feeling so happy for that kid because as a mom, you know how happy that mom is.
  • Such an amazing place for us Sports Mom's to come together.
  • Have never felt more belonging or "at home" in a FB group before!!

So if you're ready to be part of this awesome, private, women only, Sports Mom community, click HERE to join us today! If you're already a part of it, thank you. Thank you. THANK YOU!

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Team Mama Idea: DIY Candy Leis for Senior Night!

Another Senior Night is in the books for No. 1! We celebrated our Senior basketball players last week during the final home game of the season. I can't believe how fast time is going.

I wasn't Team Mama for a change so not only did I get a chance to relax, but I was totally surprised as well!

There was this cute balloon display, which also served as the perfect photo backdrop.

Each Senior had a banner.

Our Team Mama made special programs which included photos and bios of each of our Seniors. The team managers each got a beautiful bouquet, us Mamas got roses (in our school colors, of course!), and our boys got leis!!!

In Hawaii, leis are given for many celebratory events, especially graduations and birthdays. To honor our Seniors on Senior Night, our Team Mama made them candy leis!

I absolutely loved them! So unique and special. And guess what? She was sweet enough to give me the instructions to share with you all! So if you're interested in making a candy lei (or several!) for your next celebratory event, keep on reading.

What you'll need:

  • fun-sized candies 
  • cellophane
  • curling ribbon
  • scissors 
  • tape

What you do:

  1. Roll out your cellophane (about 7 inches wide) and lay out the fun-sized candy bars on top to see how long you'd like to make the lei. (She used approximately 10 candies). Be sure to leave enough space between candy bars to tie the ribbon.
  2. Cut the cellophane to size and fold it over the candy bars, enclosing the candy into the cellophane. 
  3. Tape ends of cellophane, creating a tube.
  4. Cut 10 pieces of curling ribbon (approximately 10 inches long) and begin tying the ribbons between each candy bar. Leave a 2 inch space at the beginning and end of each cellophane tube.
  5. To close the lei, tuck the 2 inch cellophane end into the other and tie a ribbon to close it.
  6. Curl the ribbons between each candy using scissors.

After the game our boys had pizza and cupcakes.

Hard to believe that No. 1's basketball career is coming to an end. Seems like just yesterday he was shooting the ball into No. 2's baby swing... bittersweet, for sure! 

We'll miss you Class of  '22!!!

*** Special thanks to our Team Mama, Kristin S. for her help with this post! Also to Paolo Films for the 5th pic.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Sports Mama Tip: Recruiting Process 101

2.2.22.... February 2, 2022.... One of the best days of my life aka National Signing Day. No. 1 did it, mamas! He signed his National Letter of Intent to continue his academic and football career at the next level. I HAVE A COLLEGIATE ATHLETE!!!

No. 1's been playing the Quarterback position since he was 8 years old. In fact, he was only 12 when I started this blog, crazy! We didn't really begin the recruitment process until his Junior year. He is our oldest and the first collegiate athlete on both sides of the family, so we really had no guidance. If we did, we would have known to begin much sooner.

I don't want you all to make the same mistakes we did, which is why I decided to write this blog post. Now I am by no means claiming to be an expert in this area, however, I did learn a lot along the ride. And thankfully, it all worked out. No. 1 achieved his goal of receiving an athletic scholarship at the Division 1 level!

Here are my 10 tips to help you navigate the recruitment process:

  1. GRADES. This is my MOST important tip. Get that GPA as high as you possibly can. One of the first things that a college coach will ask you is what your GPA is. Don't wait until your Junior and Senior year to start. It will be very hard to do at that point. A's and B's, little to no C's! People are often misinformed when they read the NCAA eligibility guidelines. They see that they only need a 2.3 for D1 and a 2.0 for D2. That is the bare minimum to be eligible to play yes, but you still have to be accepted to the college. It doesn't matter how good you are!
  2. Visit the NCAA Eligibility Center. Create a free account. There is no need to upgrade to the paid account until you are sure that your athlete will be playing at the Division 1 or 2 level. Be sure that you are on track to meet all of the requirements to be eligible; including GPA, core courses, and test scores.
  3. Film. Make sure your athlete has film. This is one of the biggest ways that your athlete will be evaluated. If your high school or club team doesn't record games, you do it. Film is your best marketing tool. You don't need a fancy camera, you can even record on your iPhone. Don't wait until they're on Varsity to start. Your kid is on the Freshman or JV team? Get film! You want to be on coaches radars sooner, rather than later.
  4. Social Media. Social media is huge! Almost all of my son's contact with coaches came via Twitter. Have your athlete follow schools they're interested in, as well as the coaches. Make sure your athlete's handle is professional; it should be their name not something like "Flashy Dude 21". List their position, measurements, and GPA in the bio. Have them toot their own horn. Upload your film and share your accomplishments. Get chosen as a team captain? Share it! Earned a scholar athlete award? Share it! Broke a school record? Share it! Share, share, SHARE! 
  5. Camps. From our personal experience camps at specific colleges you are interested in are the way to go, not combines. Combines turned out to be more of money grabs. College coaches are rarely at combines. Focus your time and energy where it can potentially pay off.
  6. Do NOT pay for a recruiting service. I repeat, DO NOT PAY FOR A RECRUITING SERVICE! It is totally not needed. Google is your best friend, mama. Use it. Google the colleges you are interested in, find the contact info for the coaches (head and position) and send them your film. Film is what will draw them in.
  7. Be realistic. Not everyone is a Division 1 athlete, and that is ok. Only 7% of high school athletes go on to a play a sport in college, with less than 2% going on to play at the D1 level. Do not discredit Division 2 and 3 schools, or even JUCOs. Playing in college, at any level, is a huge accomplishment!
  8. Respond to all coaches. This ties in with number 7. No. 1 had contact with coaches from all 3 divisions and responded to each and every one of them. You never know where they can end up. My neighbor played Division 1 soccer. She was originally recruited to play Division 2 soccer, however that Coach ended up moving up to Division 1 and took her with him. The athletic world is very small. Don't burn your bridges!
  9. Let your kid lead the way. This is their future, not yours. Coaches want to hear from them, not you. The purpose of calls and visits is for the college coach to get to know the athlete better. They want to see/hear how they conduct themselves; their maturity level, their plans for the future, if they will be the right fit for their program. You can definitely help them, just take a backseat. Help them come up with a list of colleges, proofread their emails before sending out, remind them to check and respond to their messages.
  10. Enjoy the ride. No one said it would be easy, but they did say it would be worth it. Everyone's ride is different. Some kids have 20+ offers, some have 1. Some have full rides, some have PWOs. Try not to stress too much. The process will be over before you know it and you will be wishing for the time back. I promise.

I hope you found this post helpful! For daily #sportsmomlife inspiration, be sure to join the Confessions of a Sports Mama Facebook Group and connect with thousands and thousands of REAL Sports Mamas, just like yourself!

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

I Will Miss Those Friday Night Lights...

High School football has come and gone for No. 1. I honestly can't believe it. I still remember his first youth game; he scored two touchdowns, one of which sent us into overtime. His first game on the Freshman team; he played quarterback, safety, and was the punter AND field goal kicker (we won 20-0!). And of course his first Varsity start, he threw for 375 yards and 6 30 something degree weather!

It's so very bittersweet.  

I will miss driving him and his teammates to and from practice; hearing them talk and laugh about what happened, rolling down all the windows trying not pass out from the smell of their pads.

I will miss waking up while it's still dark outside to take them breakfast to eat after 6am walk-thrus. The looks on peoples faces when they walk past me and the 75 bananas in my grocery cart. True story! I struggle to wake up for work, but somehow could always pull myself out of bed for the team. Hearing them whisper "we have the best team moms EVER" definitely helped!

I will miss feeding the team and coaches their pre-game meals. Man, can those boys put away some food! Them coming together to say "Thank you, Moms!" when finished. Luckily, I always recorded it so I can look back and reminisce whenever I feel like it.

I will miss spending time with my favorite football mama BFF's. Selling spirit wear together, our trips to Costco, our craft nights, coordinating our game day outfits. Cheering, laughing, and crying in those stands together. Loving each other's boys the way we love our own.

I will miss those Friday nights, under the lights. The band, the cheerleaders, the colored smoke as the boys run out of the big helmet. The student section chants, hearing Sweet Caroline being played on the loud speaker, and ringing my cowbell of course.

I read a quote online and I couldn't agree more; "Football is not a lifetime sport... but high school football IS a once in a lifetime experience".

Youth sports; The days are long, but the years are short. WAY TOO SHORT. 

Enjoy every moment, Mama. You'll be touring colleges before you know it.