SPORTS SERIES, PART 5: TEAM PARTIES

ENTERTAINING PARENTHOOD

Alright… we’ve made it to the fifth and final blog post in my Sports Series! I hope you have enjoyed reading these posts as much as I’ve enjoyed putting them together. Most importantly, I hope they have been helpful. If you missed some of the information along the way, you can always type “Sports Series” in the search box on my blog and all of the posts will pop up. Now let’s move onto the last topic… team parties!

If you are the Team Mom, your last duty of the season will be to organize the team party. This is a time for the coaches, players and families to come together and celebrate the season in a fun atmosphere. Usually this is where the trophies are given out (if your league provides them). Often, coaches will also give out their own awards recognizing each player for something special they brought to the season. A couple years ago I styled a baseball team party that I loved, so I’m sharing that one with you today as an example (this theme would also be super cute for a birthday party)! When you’re halfway through your sport season, you want to start forming a loose plan for what your team party will look like.

STEP #1 – WHO’S IN CHARGE?
The first step in planning your team party is to decide if you are going to be the point person or not. If you are not the party planning type, it’s perfectly acceptable to find a parent volunteer on the team to lead the charge instead. The leader can choose to purchase everything needed then collect money from the team, or they can make a sign-up sheet and have each teammate be responsible for a party item. My preferred method is to organize everything myself and then collect the money.

STEP #2 – PICK A LOCATION
These parties can be anything from a simple affair with pizzas at a park, to a huge pool party at a teammate’s house, and every level in between. As long as the team has fun, there is no wrong way to do it. The party I styled here took place at a local park on a weeknight so it was convenient and free of charge. If your local park has picnic tables then I highly suggest this as an option because the kids can play on the equipment and run around without worries of them destroying anything (wink)!

STEP #3 – CHOOSE YOUR THEME
When I style a party, I prefer to not be too matchy-matchy. I love a cohesive theme or color scheme that ties everything together, but I don’t like when every paper good and decoration have the exact same pattern or design. I love to change it up! This was the first baseball party I had ever styled and the first idea that came to mind was CRACKER JACK (yum)! I purchased a bulk pack and then worked everything else out based on those cute little boxes.

As I said, this party was a couple years ago so these exact plates and napkins are not available. But I’ve linked an entire related theme for you at the bottom of this post (you can’t view the thumbnails if you’re reading this in your email; you must click open the post on my website). In addition to the Cracker Jack boxes, I laid out a coordinating tablecloth, dinner plates, dessert plates and napkins for you. In my previous post about organizing the dugouts, I mentioned that the player cards would also be useful at the team party. I used them here as the players’ placemats and then let each player take them home as a memento.

STEP #4 – ORDER EXTRA DÉCOR
Depending on your location, you may or may not have the ability to hang decorations. This park location always tends to be windy, so I chose to hang my banner in between two candlesticks on the food table to keep it simple. I purchased these alphabet baseball letters on Etsy and then printed, cut and strung them at home. This is an inexpensive way to do a banner because you purchase the digital file once, but then can use all the letters again for years to come.

I had some extra white balloons laying around and thought it would be cute to use a red Sharpie to make them look like baseballs and it provided just the right amount of fun décor on the food table. If I was doing this theme as an indoor birthday party, I would’ve made like 50 of them and had them tossed all around the room!

I recently found these inflatable mini bats and baseballs that would make cute decorations, and these mini chocolate baseballs that would be adorable packaged up in clear bags with a bow.

STEP #5 – FIGURE OUT THE FOOD
For this particular party, I chose to have it on a weeknight and give everyone a break from cooking dinner! I often order sandwich trays and salads from our local Togo’s sandwich shop and they are always helpful and accommodating for my parties. I’ve also had pizzas and salads delivered right to the park where a party was. Both of these options make it easy.

In addition to the Cracker Jack boxes, I also made baseball-shaped Rice Krispies treats which were a big hit! I used to always make my own Rice Krispies treats, but when you have large parties it actually can get quite expensive and time-consuming. So now I purchase these large Rice Krispies Treat sheets and use cookie cutters that fit my given party theme. Here I used a circle cookie cutter (also here and here) and some red decorator’s icing to make little baseballs. At the end of the party I sent each player home with one in a cute bag.

Then for the big dessert, I collected an extra $10 from each family and was able to order a super fun ice cream truck that drove right up to our party and served every player and their siblings whatever kind of yummy cone, sundae, popsicle or shake they wanted! Mister Softee has over 600 trucks around the country, so check to see if there might be one around you. The kids thought this was the coolest thing ever!

STEP #6 – GIFTS FOR COACHES
Recruit a parent volunteer to collect money and organize coaches’ gifts to show the team’s appreciation for their hard work all season. I find that it’s nice to give some sort of personalized keepsake along with a gift card to a place they love. Below is an example of one of the printables on Etsy that you can have customized in many different ways. They were each personalized and one was given to the head coach with a movie theater gift card, and the other two coaches with Starbucks gift cards. This way they have a memento from the season, as well as something they will enjoy using.

Don’t forget to check out the shopping thumbnails below and please comment here or email me if you ever have any questions about anything! I’d love to hear what sort of team party themes and ideas you’ve enjoyed seeing where you live.

Thanks for reading! xoxo, JB

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