1.  By the grace of God we made it to middle school before dipping a toe in the travel team waters. Up until now the time and money just didn’t make sense, but then Bear fell in love with basketball. She fell hard. So we’ve gone and joined the rodeo.

2.  She’s been doing these intense practices – holy cow, are they intense – and putting in free throw time in the driveway. We are officially a hoops household, y’all, and on Saturday morning we dragged our hoops loving butts an hour away for our first tournament.

3.  The look of betrayal on the dogs’ faces was piercing. What do you mean, you’re leaving? It’s Saturday. (I don’t know how they know, but they do.) You should sit here and love on me. Don’t. I. Look. A. Dor. A. Ble? Bless.

4.  Which means we met our first travel ball parents this weekend. These are some extreme people. This-game-is-life-or-death sort of extreme.

5.  Extreme I can live with. Invasive? Not so much. Repeat after me:

a)  My child has a coach.

b)  I pay good money for my child to learn from this coach.

c)  This coach does not need me screaming play by play instructions.

6.  For example, here are some redundant phrases from the bleachers: He’s the shooter! Run the play!! He’s the shooter!!! You need to swing it! OMG, woman. Shut It.

7.  Also, you have for real got to plant your ass in your seat for the game’s duration. Cheering I get. But prowling the court’s perimeter, shouting instructions at players and berating refs? That makes me wonder why they don’t hire tournament security.

8.  That was the game before Bear’s. I won’t say her game lacked intensity from the parents (ahem! myself included) but there was a decided lack of invasiveness. Maybe because we’ve got a seriously stellar coach, or maybe because I doubt she’d put up with that sort of nonsense from the sidelines.

9.  So what did we learn from our first tournament? Pack a cooler and some camping chairs. Bring stuff to do in the down time between games. Remember extra hair bands, deodorant, bandaids, and water bottles.

10.  And try not to horrify your child by doing the wave when she runs onto the court.