Game Day Diaper Bag Favorites

Game Day Diaper Bag Favorites

This weekend I drove a few hours to celebrate with a former staff member at their baby shower. It’s been a few years since my kids were unable to entertain themselves safely at a game. As we chatted about how life with a baby changes the football season I couldn’t help but remember all the preparation that went into each game day with the hopes of seeing at least one quarter of the game.

I mean, seriously, we tried everything we could think of to allow our kid to have fun and attempt to cheer on our favorite coaches. By far the hardest years were the ones with littles who needed naps. I figured out quickly the only way I was going to keep my sanity on a Saturday was by having to do as little as possible to get out the door.

Game Day Diaper Bag Strategy

My strategy for game day actually started the Sunday before the game. I would unload the car and make sure all the things that needed to be washed were added to the laundry or dishwasher.

  • Sort the game day bag and take inventory (5 minutes)
  • Consolidate and reload bag (10 minutes)
  • Place in the car or in a closet so as not to be touched until game day.
  • On Game Day a quick glance through the bag after checking the weather as well as a few minutes to grab snacks was all I needed to do. (10 minutes)

Game Day Favorites

D3 football stadiums aren’t all created equal. While our home field had a reserved space where we parked our cars near the field allowing our kids to have a napping location a well as a great space to play away from the stands, away games required a bit more creativity. Either way, the goal was always to have the least amount of items possible. Especially with 2 kids under 3, I needed my hands available for kids, not stuff.

I’ve divided my list into a few categories, hopefully, you will find the part of my strategy that works best for you somewhere here. *No affiliate links are present.

Infants:

Toddlers:

  • snacks
  • snack trap
  • disposable cup/water bottle
  • special game day toys
  • spare batteries for toys
  • portable battery pack and charging cord (for cell phone or iPad for the long road trips home)
  • cash for more snacks
  • travel diaper pad
  • diapers
  • wipes
  • extra clothes
  • bottle of water
  • trash bags for diapers
  • lovie/blanket/paci
  • sun hat/snow hat/sun block
  • blankets
  • On-Guard hand sanitizer
  • chocolate
game day favorites for the diaper bag
                                                                                                        Top Game Day Picks

Snacks:

You will always find snacks at the concession stand, but let’s be real, we aren’t millionaires, and most of the foods aren’t really kid-friendly anyway.

Here are my favorite snack options:

  • Cheerios/Chex
  • Goldfish crackers
  • freeze dried fruit
  • applesauce pouches
  • Puffs
  • sliced fruit and veggies
  • Cliff bar jr’s
  • Chocolate covered almonds (for the Mamas)

The Bag

The bag you use can make all the difference. Depending on how many kids you have and whether you have to deal with cold weather you might require a large bag. You may also prefer two smaller bags, one for every game gear and one specific for weather. I always went the route of carrying the same bag and then keeping blankets separate.

Here are some of the bags we’ve dealt with in the stands:

Just remember Mama, your husband loves your presence at the games whether you see one snap or all of them. Keeping the kiddos happy is for your sanity, so if that means bringing along a babysitter or half your toy closet go ahead and do it.

Remember, by keeping things simple you will have less to haul, keep track of, and risk losing.

A Football Coach’s Impact

A Football Coach's Impact

Last weekend Ordell and I traveled 6 hours to meet up with several coaching families for two days. While he spent most of two days listening to presentations, gathering information about football formations, strength training ideas and other strategies I caught up with friends we hadn’t seen in several years.

As we compared notes on our teams, kids, moving experiences and jobs I couldn’t help but smile at how quickly our group fell back into easy conversation.

With Football Families Distance Isn’t A Factor

There are always exceptions to the rules, but I’ve learned that 99% of the time distance does not impede coaching families’ desire to support each other.  Whether it’s late night phone calls, group texts, watching games online or traveling on a bye-week to cheer from the stands for other teams, coaching families celebrate and mourn with each other even after we depart for different staffs.

As great as it is to stay in touch with those we used to be on staff with or once coached, nothing compares to uninterrupted time laughing and reflecting on crazy adventures lived together.

Reflecting on the Impact of a Coach

For many in this group, our early coaching experiences were influenced by the opportunity to be on staff under the couple in the center. It’s been 15 years since we left Andy’s staff and even though he’s now easily identified by his silver beard, I’ll always remember the day he was named head coach of my now alma mater.

Andy recently celebrated his 50th birthday and as part of that celebration, our group took time to reflect on our how life timelines have been directly influenced by Andy’s decisions. This group spent much of our 20’s and early 30’s together either as coach/player or on coaching staffs together. Between us there have been 23 coaching jobs (at least) which have covered 7 states. We’ve had amazing seasons and terrible ones. At one point while four of the families here were on staff together we averaged someone having a new baby every 6 months.

The memories are great, but the legacy cannot be ignored.  Andy took a risk with each of these men when he hired them. He took a risk when he created space for us to all learn as dating, engaged and newlywed couples. For Ordell and I, our relationship with Andy and Betsy began when we were still college students, and included two short windows on staff. My story is unique because I was an athletic training student and served Andy’s football teams for a few years.

Andy and Betsy modeled life both on and off the field. We watched them make hard decisions for their family. We watched them pursue the Lord together and individually. Mostly, we experienced life together through meals, games, bus rides and prayer. Our experience was such a positive one that years later their influence is still easily identified in our current team and staff interactions even with our individual adaptations.

Ordell and I may have a unique story about our time under Andy’s leadership, but similar stories can be told by each family represented here as well as many others not pictured. Andy is an example of how the impact of a coach extends well beyond the games he coaches.

There has been a lot said about how a coach influences his players, but it extends further. A head coach models for his staff how to treat their wives and children. He sets the tone for the discipline of players as well as community interactions. As his staff learns by observing him and working directly with him their personal coaching philosophies are formed.

Just as a coach’s influence will help young coaching families learn how to survive the football life he can just as easily model how not do things. We’ve worked with those coaches too. But it is Andy to receives our credit and appreciation for all that has transpired the last two decades.

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It may seem crazy that Ordell and I would drive 12 hours in a weekend to spend time with this group, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s great to know there are people who understand you without having to explain things, but to sit with them for even a few hours in person is worth the investment. To get to celebrate Andy for a few minutes was the icing on the cake of an amazing time away.

Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself moving forward is to remember how far you’ve come and acknowledge those that helped you along the way. It’s worth it to do so, even if it takes a 6-hour drive to do it in person.

The High School Side of Signing Day

Even with the addition of an early signing day in December the beginning of February marks the time when football families around the country rejoice. Hopefully, with players announcing their commitments team numbers will look strong enough at this point that families get their coaches back for a few additional hours until spring ball starts.

Football & Family

This is our first time on the high school side of things, and this year it’s pretty anti-climatic. Players have either decided they won’t play football in college or haven’t yet committed to a specific team.

On the High School Side of Signing Day

On the high school side, there are a lot of opportunities to help players and former players connect with the teams and colleges that have the potential to be a good fit. Since the average guidance counselor will see a student less than 1% of their total time in school, a coach is going to have a better idea of what direction to point a student.

Additionally, it’s likely that over the years relationships have developed between coaches who recruit the same areas of the country. This means that high school coaches can learn about the way football programs are run. Coaching philosophies change with coaching staffs, and some players will thrive where others will wither.

Leading up to signing day at football coach can also tell a recruiter who they should avoid. Is your kid known to cause division? A recruiter wants to know that so they don’t waste their time.

The Actual Signing

One of the fun things that a high school coach may be invited to participate in is a signing day picture or announcement. Since some levels of football don’t allow college coaches to be in pictures and it’s nice to have a high school coach present.

It’s a fun ceremony that symbolizes the changing of the guard for the player, but for the team, this happened months before.

Hello vs. Goodbye

Regardless of when a player makes a college commitment or where they choose to continue their career, it’s a big deal for the player and his family. The opportunity to cheer former team members on is always fun, and the high school signing day is one way that happens.

Ultimately, signing day on the college side is about saying hello and welcome to the family. On the high school side, it’s about saying goodbye. We all know the difference in emotions between a hello and a goodbye. Some goodbyes are easier than others, but in athletics it’s unavoidable. On the high school side we celebrate what was and say see ya later which makes signing day less exciting for this coach’s wife.