Kids’ Sports Weekends

Last night Kish and I went to a delightful dinner at one of the downtown Columbus hotels for featured authors at the Ohioana Book Festival.  As I entered the hotel and again as I left, I saw that the lobby was overrun with kids and teenagers and parents, and I thought — kids’ sports weekend.

19989456Every weekend, a significant part of suburban America hits the road in furtherance of kids’ sports.  Whether it’s a group of 11-year-old boys playing “travel league” soccer, or a girls’ softball squad, or a basketball team off to play in a tournament, on any given Friday entire families leave their comfortable homes and journey to Columbus, or Fort Wayne, or Dayton or some other location for the weekend, chasing dreams of athletic scholarships and sports glory and feeding the coffers of the grateful American hospitality and restaurant industries.

When they arrive they stay in a hotel or motel that, by law, must have an indoor pool that kids can play in while the parents try to have a conversation, or read a book, or — most likely — drink a few lukewarm beers and wish they were back home.  The weekend involves eating at Waffle Houses and Big Boy restaurants, watching your kids and their teammates play games in gyms or on fields as you endure uncomfortable seating and try desperately to carry on a conversation with people you barely know, and then returning to your generic but competitively priced lodgings and ultimately, listening to the echoes of screeching kids at the overly warm indoor pool.  Then, when the last game is played and the last whiff of chlorinated water has been left behind, the exhausted family heads back home to steel themselves for the work week and school week just ahead.

Yes, I suppose you could say it’s a special kind of hell.

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