Dear Snarky – Little League Survival Tips

dear_snarky_logoI get a lot a letters from parents about kid’s sports, but nothing has compared to the sheer volume of letters I’ve received this spring about Little League. 

Those of you who follow Snarky in the Suburbs on Facebook are aware of the “Drama of the Little League Jersey.” A mom wrote me because her son, through luck of the draw, had gotten a jersey with a #1 on it and another mom was so upset because her kid wanted that jersey that she complained to the coach and started badgering the mom.

I took the question about what should the mom do – give up the jersey to maintain peace on the team or stand firm on keeping it – to my Facebook page and I got more than 1,500 passionate responses. Most were to the tune of tell the whiny mom to get over herself.

Just in case you’re wondering that’s exactly what the mom did and guess what? The mom that so desperately wanted the #1 jersey for her kid quit the team!

 So based on that letter and the many others I’ve received I decided to do some Little League Survival Tips for Moms.

Tip 1: Think long-term. With practices and regular season games you are going to be sitting on the bleachers for at least 40 hours. Do you really want to spend all that time feeling uncomfortable because you chose to let something as silly as a jersey number upset you? My advice is before you decide to mix it up with the coaches and other parents make sure it’s worth it because you’re going to be spending a whole lot of time together in very close proximity.

Tip 2: Be Open to Change. So, your kid didn’t get on the team with all his friends from school. Instead of this being a downer think of it as a great opportunity for you. We all know this gives your child a chance to make new friends, but even better it opens up your social circle. It’s hard to make new friends when you get older. Really, who has the time? But with your child being on a new team this is a golden opportunity for you to bond with some new people. Some of the best friends I have right now are women I met through one of my daughter’s activities.

Tip 3: Don’t Let Your Practice Snack Define You. I know a lot of you are thinking – huh? But here’s the deal – Don’t be the mom who gets her baseball pants in a twist over snacks. (Warning: I am not talking about food allergies. I know those are life threatening and should be handled with the utmost of care and consideration.) There’s always one mom, on every team, who turns something as innocuous as a team treat into a Snack Smackdown.

If you are opposed to the dozen doughnuts decorated to look like baseballs that a mom has brought for a 7th inning nosh quietly tell your kid to say no thank you. DO NOT launch into a “This is why kids are obese” tirade or start listing the trans fats, red dye #2, carbs and calorie count. Your family’s nutritional intake is your own private business so let’s keep it that way.

Tip 4: Be Nice to the Coach. If you’re one of those moms that always thinks her kid gets the worst coach ever be proactive and sign up to be a coach or assistant. If you can’t do that then I suggest keeping your criticisms silent or at least tempering them with some positive thoughts. Other parents and Karma will thank you.

Tip 5: The Worst Team Maybe the Best Team. Don’t be upset because your kid, in your opinion, is on the worst team get over it and rejoice.There are a lot of pluses about being on a bad team. If your kid is half way decent he or she will get loads of playing time, learn a whole bunch of valuable lessons that only losing can teach you and in the words of one veteran Little League mom it frees up most of your summer and cash. If you kid’s team wins there goes your vacation because of play-offs and championship game schedules. Instead of being at a beach say hello to riding the bleachers in Topeka.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky email me at