The Snack Racket

In the past, I have written a couple times about the single-most important aspect of youth sports: the snacks.

I have highlighted how this post-game ritual is no longer about just some Goldfish crackers and a Capri Sun. These days, “snacks” almost qualify as multi-course meals as parents pack several treats and a sports drink into themed boxes. In my three years as a youth sports dad, I have even witnessed non-edible add-ins such as toys crammed into these packs. What’s next? A $20 bill taped to the Gatorade bottle?

Sloan received this box full of goodies after a t-ball game a couple years ago.

But as the snacks themselves change, an age-old phenomenon associated with them has not: the mad rush by siblings of the players to obtain one.

I knew the racket quite well as a kid myself. Hover around the spot that the snack is distributed, allow all team members to grab one, and then ask nicely if there are any extras. The jockeying can get quite competitive, especially if there are a lot of other siblings that have the same idea as you. Well, fast forward 25-30 years later and I am not the one scheming for an extra snack anymore. Rather, I am the adult trying to navigate who gets what.

While on snack duty, it is a good rule of thumb to purchase a few extra treats beyond the roster size. This will allow you to provide snacks to the coach and hopefully cover stray siblings. But what do you do when there is a major influx of brothers and sisters? It is reasonable to provide for a handful of siblings but the burden shouldn’t fall on parents to buy treats to cover double the initial roster size, right?

This past weekend we were on snack duty for Sloan’s soccer team. We had prepared 12 snack bags for Sloan’s team of nine girls. The whole team showed up so that left me with three extras (the coach didn’t take one). But it was a major conundrum on who to give the three remaining bags to. You see, before the team was even finished with its post-game huddle, I already had a handful of kids crowded around me. I had to fend them off so I could make sure each member of Sloan’s team actually received their coveted snack.

Sloan put a label on each snack bag with the name of her team (the Inky Squids).

After that, I had to make some major decisions. Did I give the extra bags to the three kids who crowded me first? Or the last three who respected my space? The youngest? The one who gave me the desperate face?

Well, besides the one who disqualified himself by trying to swipe a bag, I didn’t really know what protocol called for. Do you?

For those who have been in a similar situation as I was on Saturday, what is your best advice? Who should the extra snacks go to when there simply aren’t enough for every family member at the match? Or should I simply bring even more extras? But again, I must ask, at what point does it stop? Oh yeah, my son is probably the worst of them all when it comes to scoring extra snacks from the parents of his sister’s team. Don’t Blink.

Leave a Reply