Sure, the Little League World Series is all about the kids, but there was a lot of time to fill beyond the few hours they’d be at the ballpark on game days.
On off-days, the kids who were playing for Loudoun South had practices, which meant parents had to run the kids there. But they were in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, for over a week.
So, what about the rest of the time?
“There’s some sitting around,” said Chad Hicks, who said he went home for a couple of days in-between games earlier this week — about four and a half hours each way. “The parents have really bonded together, so we’ve had a good time hanging out.”
And when the focus wasn’t on baseball, Hicks’ two younger twin boys also kept him and his wife busy.
Luckily for Steve Ross, modern technology and the mobility of work helped him.
“Fortunately, I work from home, so I can take my laptop with me and work during the down time — which is good, because a lot of parents have had to take time off,” Ross said. “I’ve gotten enough done,” at least, to keep his boss from getting on him, he added.
Sometimes that meant getting work done at odd hours, “whenever I can” — which wasn’t always easy, as they coordinated carpools for practices, lunches and other team outings.
And while those parents burned through vacation days, the experience ended up being the summer vacation for a lot of families. The team had played or practiced together every day since the start of June, so there was no time for trips to the beach.
And anyway, while the kids were provided with rooms during their stay in Williamsport, parents and other supporters were not. They had to book hotel rooms like everyone else.
“The kids are covered,” said Ross, who added that the costs were adding up — “$200 a night, times, you know, we’ve been here almost 10 days, so it starts to get quite a bit.”
That could be the perilous cost of success, but all the parents seemed to think it was more than worth it.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for us and the kids,” Ross said. “We didn’t really have a summer. We had baseball all summer, so this was our summer vacation.”
“We’re so blessed to be here,” Hicks added. “The beach can wait.”