Joanne Palmer: How to survive a lacrosse tournament |

Joanne Palmer: How to survive a lacrosse tournament

Packing, planning and patience are keys to sanity

Joanne Palmer

In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at or

— One of the challenges of living in paradise is that, when it comes to your children's sporting events, you are light years away from another team. For example, if your Susie happens to be a budding Lindsey Vonn, you, as the supportive, loving parent you most certainly are, must spend countless hours in the car chauffeuring her to Aspen, Vail, Telluride and Winter Park to watch her compete.

After attending a few out-of-town lacrosse events with my darling son, I offer my collected tips on surviving these character-building weekends.

■ Overpack. The weather in Colorado is unpredictable. One minute it's summer, the next winter. What's a girl to do? Overpack. Because you are traveling by car, you can stuff a month's worth of clothes into your luggage even though you will be gone only one night. What with global warming, El Niño and the rising Mississippi River, you should be prepared. Make sure you take your comfort objects such as bed pillow, pjs and bathrobe. Don't forget 85 changes of clothes because, as previously mentioned, the weather in Colorado changes constantly, and you never know when a tsunami may strike.

■ Sit next to another parent who understands the game so you will know when to cheer, know what the score is, know what the penalties are and, most important, know when the game is over.

■ Download maps and directions to all sporting goods store within a 600-mile radius because surely you will forget something critically important, like cleats.

■ Pack duct tape and put it over your mouth so you do not commit a faux pas by cheering incorrectly. You are not allowed to yell things from the sideline like, "What the !?*@ were you thinking?"

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Practice politically correct cheering. You can yell things like, "Good D!" "Go, Steamboat!" "Way to go!" and "Yeah!"

■ Double-check equipment bag for the all-important cup!

■ Become best friends with the other parents at the game because these are the only adults you will see for the foreseeable future.

■ Download maps and directions to all consignment stores in the town of the tournament because, hey, a mom has to have something to do between games.

■ Do not tell your teenager not to low ride. Let the referee yell, "Pull up your shorts and use the drawstring!" It is much more effective.

■ Know what number your child is because once he is geared up with a helmet, mouth guard and protective pads, you won't recognize him.

■ Pack an alarm clock. Game time is always earlier than you want it to be.

■ Empty your Swiss bank account because your teenager will be hungry every 90 seconds, will need the tournament T-shirt, will want new sporting gear and don't forget … the price of gas!

■ Do a Google search for restaurants a mother and teenager can be equally happy in.

■ Pack sunburn remedies, as teenagers know everything and won't use sunblock until after they are burned to a crisp.

■ Pack a medical kit filled with bandages, anti-inflammatories and ice packs and you won't need it. The reverse also is true.

■ Do a Google search for "big warehouse stores" and Mapquest directions to get there. In case you have any room in your car (which you probably do not because you overpacked) in between games you can stock up on a year's worth of toothpaste, toilet paper, dog treats, laundry detergent and dental floss.

■ Bring a bike. Once you have given up your parking spot to go shopping, you will need to park five miles away from the field to watch the next game.

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