For years I bought into the myth. I even preached it myself. “I’m so glad my kids are into basketball instead of hockey. It’s so much cheaper. All they need is a ball and a pair of sneakers and they’re good to go.”
Well, that’s a lie. For starters, once your child passes the age of 8 – when they begin developing opinions and annoying free will – not any pair of running shoes will do. They need to be basketball shoes, preferably endorsed, imbued with Swïsh-Dunnkk® technology and featuring more gels and pumps than a hair salon.
The marketers have convinced kids that wearing the right shoes will help them get to the next level – provided the next level means jumping 4.5 inches off the floor instead of 4.4 inches.
For a while, we were seriously concerned about how much time our son was spending looking at basketball shoes online. “Shoe porn,” I called it. Well, at least it’s better than Internet porn, you say. Maybe so, but at least Internet porn is free.
There is much to love about basketball: the relatively quick learning curve, the teamwork, the physicality without the violence, the fact that even smaller players can find a role. It’s also ideal for our attention-deficit era – someone scores, like, every minute! None of this 3-0 nonsense. We’re talking 82-75. Fine, some of those 8-year-old games were more like 12-7, but that’s still a lot to cheer about.
And I can’t stress enough how great it’s been that basketball has exposed my children to other races and cultures. This wouldn’t be so significant if they hadn’t been raised in a town so racially homogenous that if one of my work colleagues had ever moved away, Stanstead’s black population would have plummeted by 100 percent.
So basketball is a lot of things but it is not cheap. There are registrations, travel costs, camps, hotels, the aforementioned SuperSneakers, and there is food. So much food.
We’ve just come off two tournament weekends in a row that included travel and hotel stays. Make that one hotel and one motel, as in when you register at the front desk, the clerk hands over the key card and the TV remote – that kind of motel.
As long as there are no visible bullet holes or stains of clearly human origin, I’m fine with discount motels. It’s one way to cut back on costs so that there’s more money for sneakers. The other way to reduce costs, we have learned, is to avoid eating at restaurants for every meal.
This is how you do that, and I’ll get to the consequences of doing so in a minute:
- Coffee and breakfast at home and a coffee to go for that early morning start.
- Road snacks – banana, granola bar, maybe a muffin.
- Tim Hortons stop (fill up on fresh and “empty out” the old – and — ooo! maybe a doughnut).
- Drive more, then watch basketball for hours on hard bleachers.
- Tell yourself that groceries will be cheaper than restaurants. Purchase baguette, cheese, bag of carrots, ooo! olives!, two-bite brownies, chips for later, big bag of M&Ms because they’re on special, deli sandwich because it looks really good, potato salad, orzo salad, coleslaw because someone thinks orzo is weird, dried fruit, drinks for now, drinks for later, wine of course because what’s a cheap motel without cheap wine? Total cost: $72.00. Not cheaper than a restaurant.
- Graze through the day, mostly out of the hatch of the car, and during half time, and while driving.
- More coffee? Why, yes!
- Have you had French fries yet? You need French fries.
- The complimentary breakfast includes one of those waffle makers. Have a waffle, even if you don’t like waffles, because it’s free and you clearly need more batter in your system. Coffee?
- Sit more. Drink more coffee. Graze and sit and sit and graze.
By now, 28 hours into your tournament weekend, you’re probably thinking that you will never poop again.
From the few discreet conversations I’ve had, I’ve been relieved (ha!) to learn that I’m not the only one stuck (ha!) with this problem. Apparently, road trip constipation (RTC) has to do with the change in diet and routine, all that sitting, dehydration and the fact that high school bathrooms are really gross.
This would probably occur during any sports road trip. So what does RTC have to do with the cost of playing basketball? Nothing really. In fact, I think I’ve gone way off topic. You might even say this entire post is somewhat irregular.
My son also had his issues with shoe porn. We never found him at the computer with his shoes off, but he would spend hours looking at shoes. I’ll never understand kids these days. Having been down the basketball tourney road myself, I will say that you must purchase a stadium seat (I bought mine at a hiking store) for the many hours you will spend sitting in the stands.
My son is playing at the Quebec junior college level and has his sights on university, so that may be a good investment.
The Canadian invasion of basketball players in the past few years has been impressive. We might need to adopt some Canadian training techniques: eating poutine, ice skating, and spending Sept-June indoors. Good luck to your son.
That whole #wethenorth thing was a little embarrassing, but that’s Toronto for you. But, yeah, Canada’s more than just hockey. I think it reflects our changing demographics. And good for that, I say.
And this is why I’m grateful our kids were never into amateur athletics. Oh, except for rowing, which involves multiple hand blisters, 4:45 a.m. practices, erging (yes, I spelled that right), and unitards that make them look like 19th century bathers. Right, I forgot about rowing. Never mind. I’m going back to bed now.
Why isn’t bed a sport?
Between basketball, volleyball, football and baseball seasons with my kids, I generally don’t have a BM until Christmas break. I think of it as “Miracle On Oak Street.”
It’s a wonderful life indeed.
Ahhh, the away tournament. My step son loved and played hockey for many years – as a goal tender (just about the most expensive to equip 😥 ) – necessitating winter travel to tournaments with him, his sister, my ex (the fact that she is an ex is not related to tournaments, I think 😕 ) and often other hockey players (we had a van so we ended up with overflow passengers from other vehicles). I can empathize Ross. The diet is horrendous. I picked up a sub sandwich which appeared mouth-wateringly delicious. 🌯 Out of habit, I flipped it over and read the nutrition label. It had a mere 162% of my daily allowed salt intake. One sandwich. I cringe to think of the accumulation of crap over the days of the tournament. My body would return home as a certified government hazardous waste dump. But a happy waste dump with a trophy. ⭐ All things come at a price. Cheers!
I think reading those nutrition labels cause more emotional harm than the physical harm caused by the food.
Road Trip Wine – love it!
good news: no need to have to use a port-a-potty. bad news: no need to use any potty. more bad news: more road trips ahead. more good news: tim hortons expanding it’s global footprint. call it even in my book.
I started losing my sentimental spot for TH when they started flogging candy coffee (i.e. ice capps) at my kids.
Yes! Only for us it’s dance, and short shorts (and having to explain to your 10 year old what camel toe is and that’s why she needs to wear underwear under those short shorts).. well also anything that can be purchased at Justice. And in the off-season? Watching So You Think You Can Dance. It never ends, especially when you get convinced to join the adult hip hop class, and Oh by the way that means you get to dance in the recital and twerk your 40-something butt at the audience. The things we do for our kids.
Eek all around.
and to think I thought I was going to be a soccer mom 🙂
Plus if you get hit in the mouth with a basketball, you’ll probably still have all your teeth whereas if you get hit in the mouth with a speeding hockey puck, you can kiss those pearly white Chiclets goodbye.
We had one of those tournament weekends a while back. We had to stay in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania, mind you! This aspect of playing was not mentioned to us early on. During halftime, my daughter came over and said, “Dad, I saw you looking at your iPhone instead of watch me play.” So THAT was taken away from me.
I can honestly say I have no preconceived notion of Pennsylvania. Not really a Jay Leno punchline of a state, is it? Or maybe that’s the point, it’s nothingness. Is it the Belgium of the USA? Wait, I think of Katharine Hepburn! That’s not so bad…
Ouch… and ew! Shaking my head and laughing all at once. Not a bad way to start my weekend. 🙂
I call that a win. Thanks.
For us, i.e is a rugby playing nation, shoes on the field are not allowed, until they reach high school level.
Unfortunately the jump from “no shoes” to “that-is-ridiculous, are-you-frigging-kidding-me expensive shoes” is sooo high; most fathers ends up in the emergency room with cardiac arrest, resulting from the shock. They should ease us into it.
As the father of three rugby-playing daughters, I don’t think there’s a good way to ease into the sport.
Was that a typo? Three. Rugby-playing. Daughters.
We’re talking about the same thing, right?
Three. Two played through high school and on into the junior college level (Quebec CEGEP) and my youngest has just finished her first season. They loved it. My son tried it for one year and decided this was no place for a basketball player.
Wow. You’ve just impressed a South African, so you can tick that from your bucket list.
Needless to say Son is very much into the game, flyhalf and all, whilst Princess is more a netball chick, which is kind of like Basketball.
I just love watching.
This is the same way we travel as well except we don’t travel to games anymore because all our children are grown ups now. But they all live a 15 hour drive from where we live. So hubby loads up his hot cup with coffee & I have a gingerale in a bottle for the car. We usually have some snacks in the car for whichever one of us is driving – the other one is usually sleeping. If I need to drive, then I grab an Iced Capp from Tim’s to keep me from falling asleep. We bring our car snacks into the motel (if we don’t do the drive all in one go) & do the same thing on the way back.
We usually have the opposite problems from RTC because of the change in our diet, so we stick pretty close to our room.
Ha. I’m truly grateful this post has “brought out” so much information in people.