Dear Athletic Support: My granddaughter plays travel softball. Last weekend, her team got second place in a tournament. She’s a go-getter, for sure, and wasn’t very excited about getting second place. But then they called her whole team out to the middle of the field and presented them with these huge rings. These things looked like Super Bowl rings. It hurt my heart to watch my granddaughter sulk around while wearing such a gaudy ring. Just made me feel like she was spoiled. But it also made me think maybe the rings were too much, especially for second place. What ever happened to those little plastic trophies? I’ve still got boxes of them in my attic from when her dad was playing sports. – Put A Ring On It

Dear Ring: Let the girls enjoy their bling. I understand your granddaughter wasn’t too excited about getting second place, but she’ll enjoy that ring for years to come.

It also tells me whoever put that tournament on did a good job. They must’ve been extremely invested to come up with prizes like that.

Travel-league-softball tournaments can be grueling. The girls put in long hours, playing in the dead head of summer. The parents fork over a lot of cash and time just to get the girls there.

At the end of the day, if the girls are getting fancy awards, they might as well enjoy them.

Dear Athletic Support: My son is gearing up for his seventh grade football season. He’s obsessed with all the equipment. I’m all for having him properly outfitted for his first school-organized season, but I’m also on a budget. The one thing he’s pushing for that I just can’t quite seem to reconcile are sweatbands. These are basically just tiny pieces of cloth with elastic in them. He wants at least three for each arm. This seems like a stretch to me, and it will definitely stretch my budget. Is there any reason he needs so many armbands? – Sweating It Out

Dear Sweating: Every player is different. Some wear multiple sweatbands. Some wear visors on their helmets. Others just go for the bare-bones look.

I was one of the players who didn’t wear much extra equipment. I did wear a sweatband on my right wrist, though. I didn’t wear it to gain extra style points; I wore it because it protected my throwing hand from sweat. Excessive sweat really impacted my grip on the ball.

Your son is young. He’s probably just wanting to look like the players he sees on TV. I bet you can find some cheaper wristbands. These won’t be name brands, but they could save you some money and achieve the look your son is going for.

If, however, he balks at the idea of wearing off-brand bands, then maybe it’s time to have a good long talk about that budget you mentioned!

Eli Cranor is a former professional quarterback and coach turned award-winning author. Send questions for “Athletic Support” to eli.cranor@gmail.com

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