'Always plan to be 15 minutes early' is true for players and parents

By Jon Buzby | Posted 5/26/2017

Mother’s Day is the day we celebrate moms, and sometimes that means we do so at the big game. 

That’s exactly what happened to us on Mother’s Day this year as we piled into the car at 7 a.m. to head 50 miles south for back-to-back games. 

We learned two valuable lessons along the way.  

The first happened before we even left the driveway. Twice before we got into the car and once when we did, I asked my 10-year-old if he was sure he had all of his equipment. After three resounding replies of “yes, Dad!” my wife walks out to the car and hands him his shoulder pads. 

My reaction was not pleasant since we’ve been focusing all season long about him being responsible for ensuring all of his equipment is where it’s supposed to be — mainly with him or on him — on practice and game days. 

My wife quickly reminded me that I basically packed my oldest son’s hockey bag until he was in high school and that our 10-year-old deserved the same understanding. She also reminded me how many times I’ve returned to the house shortly after leaving for a local college or pro game only to get a call from home telling me I forgot my tickets. 

Lesson 1: You’re never too old to have someone looking after you, even if you are a know-it-all high school athlete.  

The second incident happened about 15 miles into our trip when there was a loud “bang” underneath the car. The low-pressure tire light came on and it was obvious we had a flat. 

We pulled off the road at an exit that was 45 minutes away from the field and panic set in as we quickly calculated that best case scenario was that we’d arrive right on time.  

So we hopped out of the car, maintenance manual in hand, and all quickly learned where the spare was located and how to lower it since we had never done it before in our somewhat new car. In 15 minutes the tire was changed and we were back on the road. We pulled into the parking lot with one minute to spare. 

Ever since I started driving on my own my father’s advice has always been: Leave 15 minutes earlier than you have to so you have time to change a flat tire. I typically follow that advice, just like on this particular day. If I didn’t, we wouldn’t have arrived until halftime. 

Lesson 2: Always heed dad’s advice.  

Even if it is on Mother’s Day. 

Jon Buzby has been involved in and writing about youth sports for the past 30 years, originally as a coach and board member with his now-adult son and most recently "just as a dad" with his 8- and 10-year-old sons. Jon is an award-winning writer and his latest book, “Not an Expert, Just a Dad … In this Crazy Game Called Life,” is available on Amazon. Send comments or future blog topics you'd like to see to JonBuzby@hotmail.com and follow him @YouthSportsBuzz on Twitter.