I am declaring war on Orange Slices Moms -- you know who you are. My battlefield is every soccer, volleyball, baseball and basketball game where a Team Mom assigns a rotating schedule of who has to bring snacks to each game and practice.
With two children -- both heavy into team sports -- I estimate that I've fed snacks to other people's children approximately 9 million times. I have born historical witness to what began as simply grabbing a large bag of chips and some juice boxes from the grocery shelf and has now evolved into a Mussolini-like regime that assigns not just when you bring food but also what you bring.
The last straw for me came when one Team Mom suggested that certified organic oranges could be bought at the farmers' market, chilled overnight and then sliced up into unpeeled sections that reminded me of the candy lips you see around Halloween, which was kind of how the kids treated them too, wasting a lot of perfectly good oranges -- organic or otherwise -- in the process. But Team Mom wasn't done yet. After her organic orange suggestion, she provided a convenient list of gluten-free alternatives, cautioned us that one boy may be peanut-allergic and noted that anything that required kids grabbing it by the handful also demanded a bottle of hand sanitizer "for the safety and good health of all our children."
The Orange Slicers have gone too far and I, for one, have had enough. When my daughter moved up to play club level soccer, I rejoiced at hearing that there was no snacks schedule. In fact, when I naively asked about one, the coach replied: "Can't your daughter last for an hour without being fed?" Precisely, I thought, as I joyfully wrote out a check for his club fees that was only slightly more than the snack schedule would have cost me.
Snacks, by definition, are supposed to be a treat. But instead of regarding them as such, a competition has arisen among mothers to best the previous week's snack mom. If she brought $20 worth of organic grapes (in addition to the oranges, filtered waters and gluten-free power bars that taste like cardboard), this week's snack mom will do all that plus watermelon slices and healthy gummy bears.
The pressure is relentless: If you bring cheese sticks, please make sure they are fat-free and kept properly refrigerated. Soy cheese -- aka fake cheese -- is acceptable, but do check for allergies and lactose-intolerance first and please don't ever bring anything one kid can't eat because that would be exclusionary and might upset him. Skip the cupcakes on your child's birthday and buy small toys instead, and if you must bring drinks, don't forget to recycle the bottles afterward.
Uncle, I say. Enough.
So now I have this fantasy thing going, where I lead a rebellion against the Orange Slicers. My weapons of choice are Hostess cupcakes and in my fantasy, I use them to lure the little sugar-cravers in their AYSO uniforms right over to my cooler and let them scarf down seconds -- even thirds -- washed down with peanut M&M chasers and bags of potato chips. I ignore the gasps from the gluten-free crowd and glare back at the Team Mom who is mumbling under her breath ... "Healthy snacks, I said healthy snacks."
I emerge victorious, hero to children and dentists everywhere and a menace to the overzealots whose lives are devoted to ridding the world of empty-calorie foods.
Now, won't you join me in a Pop-Tart celebration?