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Cornelius News

My totally OCD approach to watching my kids play sports

Modern Dad | By Jon Show

July 8. I was indoctrinated into Travel Sports Season five years ago when someone convinced me that I had to sign up my 8 year old son because it was the only way he was going to become the best lacrosse player in the history of the world or even the galaxy.

I have a philosophy on Travel Sports Season because I have a philosophy on pretty much everything. I believe in excellence. I believe that every performance can be improved upon. Failure is not an option.  Perfection might never be attained, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth pursuing.

Am I talking about my kids and their performances on the field? No. I’m talking about my performance as a Travel Sports Season parent.

At this point I consider myself somewhat of a veteran. Whereas I once posed questions like, “Do I really need a wagon for all my stuff,” I now provide the answer to that question, “Not if you leave your wife at home.”

As such, I present to you my opinions on how to survive a weekend on the fields with the least amount of sweat, sunburn, weight gained or back pained. Notice I said “least amount.” Ain’t no avoiding them entirely.


I’m a firm believer in mobility but backpack coolers have size limitations so you need two coolers if you’re out of town. The bigger Yeti knockoff stays iced down in the truck and the backpack Yeti knockoff transports food and drinks to the fields, which are usually located a half marathon from where you park.

To keep everything as cold as possible I use frozen ice packs supplemented with real ice. When the ice melts it creates ice water and the ice packs keep the slurry cold. You don’t want to drink room temperature water when it feels like you’re standing on the surface of the sun.


I’ll never understand big chairs. Big chairs equal big energy and you’re not looking to expend big energy when you’re roasting like a pork shoulder during three afternoon games on rubber turf.

My chair is a mesh hunting stool from Academy. It cost $11, has a flat seat and upright back support so I don’t get too achy. It’s extremely light, collapses for easy carrying and has a small pocket I use to store the AirPods I wear so I don’t have to listen to other parents scream valuable instruction to their kids like, “RUN!”

Sun relief

Shade is imperative. Some go with handheld umbrellas or chair umbrellas. Others bring tents.

I don’t like bulky items so I have what I call the Urban Sombrero, which is like a ‘70s gardening hat crossed with a wicker chair that extends from shoulder to shoulder. It looks ridiculous but it shrouds me in a complete cone of shade almost all day.

I also recently started wearing the long-sleeve hooded UPF shirts. On really hot days I dunk the shirt in the cooler, wring it out and it offers an hour or so of relief until the sun bakes it dry.

Last summer I went down an Internet rabbit hole and emerged two days later with a portable air conditioning unit I built from a Home Depot bucket, PVC, dry ice and a battery powered fan, but it never made it to the field of play. Not every improvement list item works out as well as hoped.

Food & Drinks

Does all of this sound ridiculous to you? Well strap in because here is where I have what might be described as “a problem.”

I don’t know if it was the subpar pizza, concession hot dogs or dining at the apostrophe restaurants –  Domino’s, McDonald’s, Applebee’s, etc. – but last fall I decided that I’d had enough.

Here’s a sample menu from last month. Saturday we had avocado toast (I make the toast with a blow torch) and lunch was shrimp ceviche. Sunday was sausage cheddar biscuits (reheated with the blow torch) and lunch was homemade chicken salad wraps with a parmesan peppercorn dressing.

As for beverages, I carry a Mason jar of Arnold Palmer in the cooler and tell people it’s apple pie moonshine just because I think my entire food situation makes more sense if people think I’m drunk.

Speaking of drinking, some people drink beer and seltzers all day but I can’t handle it in the sun. I usually pack one Michelob Ultra for the end of the day. I find my time is better spent drinking an ice cold beer while everyone else is packing up their wagons.


I have the cooler on my back and chair in one hand, so I need something small and handheld to transport my food and wares. I have a yellow and black storage bin that is light but big enough to hold what I need and doubles as a footrest. It also has a handle that I made out of paracord and the cardboard tube from a clothes hanger.

I know all of this seems like a lot but it’s not my fault. I truly can’t help it.  Am I mentally ill? Probably, but I’ll never give a medical professional the opportunity to make a diagnosis, which means I can just continue to describe myself as weird.

After all, perfection might never be attained, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth pursuing.

Jon Show lives in Robbins Park with his wife, who he calls “The Mother of Dragons.” Their 13-year-old son is “Future Man” and their 10-year-old daughter is “The Blonde Bomber.” Their dog is actually named Lightning.