Next week, Ill be in charge of bringing the snack for one of my childrens football teams. Im stressed about it already.
In the spring, during lacrosse season, parents were asked to take a week providing the team snack, and I dutifully signed up. A day or two before my turn came, I hopped in the car with my environmentally friendly, reusable grocery bags and headed to Whole Foods (yes, I splurged for organic). There, I picked up a dozen or so pesticide-free oranges. I took great care in slicing those oranges, and I was certain theyd be a hit. After all, I was a star soccer player as a child (according to my parents, at least), and orange slices were all I ever got. That was circa 1978.
I also picked up some yogurt-covered raisins. I realize that kids today are used to getting postgame treats that are a bit less healthful than oranges, but this was as far as I would go. For drinks, there would be no food dyes or sugary cocktails. I took water.
I was certain that all it would take was one week of going retro, and I would start a wave of change. I could see the newspaper headlines heralding that sideline junk-food binges were no more: Orange slices had made a comeback!
No such luck. It was a brisk Saturday morning, and I was in a good mood as I carried the snack to the designated gathering spot. The kids ran over to me like I was Santa Claus. But when I pulled out the oranges and water, their expressions changed. It was as if I had pulled out rat poison. Looking insulted, they turned and walked away, without so much as a no, thank you. These kids could not even fathom a postgame snack that didnt come in a doughnut box or wasnt a natural shade of blue or green.
The only child left standing was my own. He was mortified. Ashamed. Of me. I told you, Mom, was all he could say.
Wait! Wait! I called out to the kids as I remembered the yogurt-covered raisins. They didnt even glance over their shoulders.
I was loading my treats back into my car when I noticed that the team had gathered around another parent. A dad. He had brought bags of Doritos and sports drinks for everyone.
This raised two questions:
No. 1: It was my week to bring the snack, so why would he do that?
No. 2: Who had tipped him off?
Could it have been my son? Had he anticipated how this was all going to go down? I wanted to scream, Great game, everyone! Way to be healthy and active. Cinnamon twist or chocolate glazed!?
I was hurt and angry. I had shelled out some coin for those oranges. I also was appalled. I couldnt and still cant understand why parents hand out Doritos, doughnuts or Gatorade to little kids who have made the effort to get involved presumably at least partly for the health benefits in organized sports.
Just to clarify, Im all for the occasional treat (and by occasional, I mean every day when the kids are at school and Im free to eat what I want). But this makes no sense. I may not really be a jock, but even I know that professional athletes arent downing pastries on the sidelines.
Im not surrendering. I dont remember who won that lacrosse game. I certainly didnt have the winning snack. But that was just one game. You win some, you lose some. So while Im not sure what I will take next (and Im open to suggestions), brace yourselves, Rockville (Anklebiter) Steelers: Theres a new sheriff in town, and she aint bringing Krispy Kreme.
The Washington Post
The writer is a resident of Potomac, Md.