Five years ago this April, I eagerly ushered my then 4-year-old onto a soft green field for his first year of T-ball. I donned a tank top, baseball cap, and flip-flops, and prepared to enjoy a blissful baseball season – soaking up the sun after a long winter while my son played his heart out or picked flowers in the outfield (either option worked for me).
Cue Snow. Yes…Snow.
Opening day had to be rescheduled the year my son started baseball because of a late snow storm.
Turns out, it’s not all that uncommon. In fact, we’ve participated in many snowy practices and games during the last five years.
Little did I know snow would be the least of my baseball season weather worries.
The wind…The dirt…The random rain showers…
Spring in Flagstaff is unpredictable at BEST.
And if you’re not prepared, it’s downright miserable. So I’m sharing the top tips and tricks I’ve both envied and adopted for baseball season survival:
Layer your layers.
Temperatures swing wildly, and I’ve both sweated and shivered during the same 1-hour baseball game. My go-to baseball outfit includes jeans (leggings under them if it’s already nasty), tank top, sweatshirt and a windbreaker jacket.
A sweatshirt simply isn’t enough…the wind will cut right through it without a jacket. Winter coats are just too warm during the day, but a windbreaker (waterproof is better) doesn’t add a lot of heat and protects you from that biting wind.
Bring a sleeping bag.
The first time I saw someone at the field with a sleeping bag, I thought they were crazy. Now I know they were crazy smart! Blankets blow around, but you can crawl into a sleeping bag and enjoy 360-warmth while sitting in the bleachers.
One Pro Mom took it a step further and purchased a sleeping bag “suit.” Again…crazy smart. She stays toasty from her car to the field and back again, and she doesn’t have to lug around a sleeping bag.
Bring your own seating.
The bleachers are perhaps, the worst place to sit at the fields. Their design features wind flow above, below, in front, behind and on either side of you.
But if you bring a camping chair, you can seek out somewhat sheltered viewing spots (e.g., in front of the field storage shed). Similarly, if you bring one of those pop-up chairs for the bleachers, you can at least add a windbreak at your back.
Want to go pro? Invest in one of those rechargeable heated seats typically reserved for places like the hockey rink. (spoiler alert…the hockey rink is WAY warmer than the little league fields)
Bring your own shelter.
If your child plays at Continental Little League’s fields, look for me…I’m the mom chilling out in the bright orange pop-up sports pod. And I’m happy as can be in there.
The “sports pod” folds down to a little backpack easily carried from car to field. Once released, it beautifully, effortlessly pops up into its own little tent featuring a roof, clear plastic siding, and a floor. It protects you from the wind, rain, and dirt.
An early adopter of the pod, I paid a pretty penny for mine. But now they have all kinds of varieties – some for under $30. Trust me, it will be the most enjoyable item you ever spend $30 on. And if you’re worried about the “sports pod” interfering with your baseball socializing, let me put your mind at ease – my pod is the place to be with every mom on the team visiting during games to warm up.
Of course, you can also improvise with your kid’s pop-up play tents. But whatever you bring, make sure it has a floor. Without it, whatever pop-up item you bring will quickly blow away.
And if you’re an “I’m not spending money” pro, make a bleacher fort! Our team began creating blanket “forts,” for all the littles and quickly realized they were also awesome for the parents. All you need to create your own windbreak is some big blankets and bungees to secure them.
Pack a poncho.
It’s a gorgeous sunny day? Better be ready for rain during your baseball game. And umbrellas are not your friend in the Flagstaff wind. Dozens of options come in little pouch sizes that unfold into full rain ponchos when/if needed.
So, how do I get all these items to and from the field?
I carry what looks an awful lot like a beach bag around the baseball fields, with my pop-up sports pod backpack on my shoulders.
When you see me at the start of the season, you’ll think I’m crazy…and I am…crazy smart.
Oh – and one more thing! Now that I’ve written this blog post about baseball weather being miserable, we will have the most beautiful baseball season EVER just to prove me wrong. You’re welcome. ;o)
Much Love – H