It is peak youth sports season for my family—and most of Orange County, it seems. I wave at my neighbors as we each pack our cars under the Friday night stars, then again as we all head out early Saturday mornings. For this Mom, long days at the sports field are manageable, if I have the option of wine. The long drives, hours in the sun, the packing, unpacking, trips to the snack bar … need I go on? It’s taxing.
Alcohol isn’t allowed at youth sporting events, for obvious reasons. But, if you were to check the coffee cups and “water bottles” of many parents, you’d certainly find a beer or splash of wine more often than not. Today there are even super-cool, stemless, insulated, stainless-steel wine cups—in assorted colors!
I’m not new to the weekend wine-warrior game. I have travel gadgets galore from plastic Govino cups to teeny-tiny bottle openers. However, I made several rookie mistakes last weekend. So, now I share with you my faux pas and tips, so we all can improve our game.
1. Pack all wines in the cooler.
White or red, keep your bottles on ice. I had a great red blend I let sit in the trunk of the car from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. last weekend. It was evening, I had my coaching hat off, salami and cheese in hand, and couldn’t wait for this Italian blend. Well, it was cooked. It tasted so awful. A special sports and wine-warrior moment ruined.
2. Pack wine you like.
Don’t rely on the little wine mini-bottles or weird wine in a can you’ve never tried. The gas station by the field likely doesn’t have a wide selection, so plan ahead and make your wine purchase a priority.
3. Pack screw-cap bottles.
Ever try to slyly open a bottle of wine in a parking lot with 400 families milling about? It can lead to spills on your player’s uniform, a cork left in someone’s cleat, and other eye-rolling moments. Leave your pricey, aged bottle with a cork at home and crack a quick screw-cap rosé. It can still be a fabulous and tasty bottle. Ease is key.
4. Pack a good cup.
Don’t bring attention to yourself with the blatant red solo cup. You want a lid anyway for when you hop up and holler at your kid during a game and because you are also carrying your chair, your kids gear, snacks for your Mom friends, and a weekend’s worth of sunscreen. This isn’t the occasion for aerating, this is about lowering your blood pressure.
Though youth sports are exhausting, there are many amazing moments that are that much sweeter with a sip of wine in hand—the pride of seeing your kid still working hard after hours and hours of competition, a peak of the ocean through the palm trees at the field, and the blazing colors of the setting sun just beyond. A toast to weekend sports and wine warriors—see you bright and early Saturday morning!