Dos and Don'ts of sports

Taking your kids to a baseball game: A guide from a single parent

Here are the dos and don'ts of taking children to the game. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

I took my daughter to the Astros game recently. Usually during the summer, I like to take the afternoon off and go to day games. First, they are cheaper, and second, it’s just less stressful when there are less people in the ballpark.

We met up with a friend who has two kids, and the two adults to three kids ratio was difficult to manage. Parents with more than two kids are heroes. But an evening game can be fun with all of the excitement especially with the home team being really good now.

Having done the difficult leg work, I’ve come up with a list of dos and don’ts for taking your kids to sporting events:

Dos:

  • Do set expectations early about what you will and will not be purchasing at the game. For example: “I will be buying you cotton candy and a Sprite, because it’s Friday night and I’m a cool mom, but I will not be buying a $13 Astros-branded fidget spinner because, while I am cool, I know you will lose it immediately.”
  • Do limit yourself to two beers. For some reason baseball game beers seem to affect some of us more than regular home beers.

  • Do purchase cheap seats and then move down and sit in the 100 section. This should be a no-brainer, and I promise you the team does not care.

  • Do keep your kids engaged by actually talking to them through the game. I like to explain to mine what everything on the scoreboard means and who each of the players are.

Don’ts:

  • Don't take the train to the game. Many of you won’t have this problem as you probably live far enough away that it’s just impractical. I am a five-minute walk from Wheeler Station, so we often take the train. But when it’s 100 degrees outside with 80 percent humidity this is a poor decision. Also, you’ll be with the night train people when the game is over - less than ideal!!

  • Don't let your child run up and down the aisles during at bats. I cannot stress this enough. I wrote about this baffling trend a couple of weeks ago on Houston Sports and Stuff and it’s like Astros fans have been trolling me ever since. 

  • Don't let people make you feel like a bad fan for leaving a game early. The second inning of a recent baseball game was approximately 15 hours long. At 9:30 pm it was only the fourth inning of a baseball game that ended with the Astros and Twins not scoring after the fifth. I had an ornery 5-year-old who had spilled two Sprites and been awake for 13 straight hours.

Follow these simple rules, and you’ll have an amazing time at the game and keep yourself generally sane.

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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