The secret league of horrible parents

We just won a moral victory of sorts. It took two months, and there were times I doubted the Fates would allow it, but now that it’s done, I feel free to speak of it.

I mentioned that our seven-year-old son was on a basketball team. If you saw that post, you may think our victory is a decision to keep score at the games, but it’s not. It may be even more valuable than that.

Over our three years in sports, there has not been a team that didn’t require a rotating list of hapless parents to bring healthy snacks for the kids to eat at the end of every game. The Team Snack was the Sacred Cow of youth athletics. God knows, kids playing ball for an hour would wither to dust if not fortified with granola and sugar-free fluids within seconds of the final whistle.

When I was a boy, we played all afternoon without a thought to our bellies, but then we were not enlightened enough to know we were doomed to die young for our bad habits. We drank whole milk too, to give you an idea of how recklessly ignorant we were. Our parents were the worst, making us have fun all the way until dinner time. For shame.

My wife and I dislike game-day snacks because we struggle to get to the games on time without having to remember the groceries, and it’s not like we can just grab a bag of Doritos or Oreos on the way out the door. These evil snacks we have, but only because our tragic upbringings neglected to teach us any better. Blame the 1970s.

old school

After the game, we had to take up the planking from the pasture and milk the cows before we could even think about eating. (Image: Russell Lee/US Farm Security Administration)

They told us it couldn’t be done. They said the kids on a snackless team would grow envious of the other team’s snacks, though I don’t know a single kid who covets a V8 juice box and a bar of pine needles. Still, no one would want to be on the team whose bad parents didn’t do exactly what the good parents do.

So after the first practice, we waited for that email – the one organizing the snack rotation. We’d highlight a game on the schedule, dread it’s coming, and hope we were both available to attend, so all our children and all our snacks could be at the same place at the same time.

The email never came. The coach was new, and I don’t think she even thought about snacks, which makes me love her a little bit. For the entire season, we went to games where other teams had snacks. Our team never bemoaned our lack of snacks. I saw no indication they even noticed. From our team’s other parents, I never heard a peep about snacks. Our snackless rebellion was our little secret.

I now suspect that many parents dislike the post-game snack, but no one publicly decries it, because that might make them the worst parent ever, and who would ever dare flirt with that consequence?


38 comments on “The secret league of horrible parents

  1. Lisa V says:

    Funny! Last soccer season I was grateful we had no “Team Mom” for the same reasons as you. Let the snack rebellion begin! Soccer starts in a few weeks.

  2. Lynn says:

    Man, parenting is just to complicated these days! I was watching Steve Harvey last night on Ellen & he delivered a classic line. He was talking about his new show called, Little Big Shots. The premise is showcasing young people who possess incredible talent. When Ellen asked him if he possessed a special talent when he was kid, he paused for a moment & replied, “I liked dirt” I love to play in the dirt, I love to make things out of dirt. I didn’t have no iphone, no ipad, no video games, I just had dirt! Brilliant I say!

  3. aviets says:

    Dare to be different! This is awesome – I hope ditching the snack rotation becomes a popular trend. Can’t everybody just bring their own water bottle and call it good?

  4. Ah, the post game snack. I feel your pain. We aren’t as picky around here, though. We’re good on kool aid and little chocolate donuts.

  5. Margie says:

    I know exactly what you mean. I felt the same way about ‘lunch’ at our ladies mahjong games once a week. The lunch became a one-upmanship thing that could have been avoided if we just got together for a few hours in mid-afternoon.

  6. AmyRose🌹 says:

    Snacks? Are you serious? Man have things changed, Scott. I remember days being forced in to eat. And no we had zip for snacks. Now does this come as a shock to some? I hope not because we best start looking really good because so many of our kids our overweight. No snacks is a good thing, and I applaud you!

  7. Not quite 40 says:

    My lad plays rugby at a local club that is VERY good at the higher leveks. His team has been beaten once this season. If it’s a home game, they get a hot dog from the club house afterwards. During the game? Water bottles. Identical water bottles in a crate – just grab one, boys, any one. So, not only do they get non nutritious snacks, they also get to share germs. I love it!

  8. Matt says:

    I don’t remember having any post-game snacks when I was a kid. Not that I played any competitive sports but I had to sit through more than a few of my brother’s soccer games. It seems to me like each parent should just bring a small snack for their own child if they want to have a post-game snack.

  9. Gibber says:

    You did and even lived to tell about it! lol

  10. We finally came out of the dark-ages with the advent of team snacks. I just don’t know how the human race survived up to that point. Some things just have to be chalked up to luck, Scott.

  11. Ahdad says:

    Back in the day (which is after the period you grew up in, as I never had to milk cows for milk, we got it in cartons) we used to get a quarter of an orange during half time of whatever sport we were trying to play. A quarter of an orange. That’s it. And we didn’t die.

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