You don’t always know what you will need and when.

For example, 3 weeks ago the kid comes home from college for spring break and forgot his cleats. Had NO cleats at the house, but had training. So, what do we do? We head to Dick’s because surely they will have cleats, right? Well, they did, but only one pair in a size 13 and they were hidden in the back. There was not one football cleat out for sale. Luckily, we were able to grab that pair.

This isn’t the first time this has happened. During the off-season between the kid’s junior and senior year he was playing 7-on-7 and training non-stop to get ready for his senior season and desperately needed new cleats twice during that winter/spring. No football cleats anywhere to be found. We bought 2 pairs of Lacrosse cleats which are very similar, but still, why no football?

So, yesterday, the kid needs some pads for and practice pants so again we head to Dick’s. (We had already visited Sports Authority the day before to no avail – and Modell’s too) And once again, nothing. There were two racks of youth football gear but absolutely no adult. No adult anything. Nothing. So, I ask an employee and he says to me, “We only have what was left over from the fall and we don’t get as much football gear because it’s a dying sport.”

DYING SPORT?

Really?

He says, “There is a lot of research that shows kids aren’t playing football anymore because of the concussion issue.”

Ok, yes, I have seen that information as well, but that won’t really impact the sport for another 10 years or so and even then, how MUCH of an impact it will have is still controversial in some ways.

WHAT ABOUT NOW?

You know who’s not playing football in the off-season? Youth.

Pop Warner kids aren’t playing in the off-season, yet that’s the gear Dick’s had in store.

Yeah yeah, I could have ordered what I needed online had I KNOWN a week ago what the kid needed.

It never works like that. Is no buyer at Dick’s the parent of a teenager? They don’t tell you anything until the last minute. For example, those cleats he needed? He needed them to play on a Sunday but we weren’t even able to go get them til that same Sunday??!!

The point of all this is that I have spent loads of dollars at Dick’s over the years. I am sure of they went through my purchases linked to my name, they would see the value of my buying at their store. Instead, I was forced to shop at a new store, one that caters to football players (and other sports) all year round and had a load of gear. And honestly, those cleats that he bought a few weeks ago were $30+ cheaper at this store. Exactly the same, too. Nike Vapors.

(For all your football mom’s in the Maryland area: http://leagueoutfitters.com/ ) 

From a business perspective, maybe Dick’s doesn’t really care about my money. Maybe they sell so much other stuff that my $100 or $200 or even $300 here and there doesn’t really matter, but carrying even just a few basics all year round would really make such a difference – I would have never even thought about finding a different sports store to buy from – but at this point, I wish I knew about the other spot about 4 years ago. Would have saved me a lot of drama during the off-season. And unfortunately, would have forced me to NOT shop at Dick’s at all.

I appreciate that Dick’s did try to help, but I’m not sure it will make that much of a difference, this is my 3rd year asking them to stock more in the off-season with no more than this type of comment:

Dick's sporting goods tweet

And while I get that I “could” order things online, sometimes due to timing, it just doesn’t work out that way.

Thanks for reading through my rant about Dick’s – The real purpose is that consumers really just don’t matter anymore, I guess. I can’t possibly be the only person looking for football gear in the off-season. And do you really think that football is a dying sport?

I think that kids who would have potentially played casually as part of a team growing up may not play in the future, but I don’t see the sport going away anytime soon. Maybe college kids won’t strive to be NFL players, but while they can still get a free education, I just don’t see them not playing at all, if they love the game.

I worry about concussions just as much as the next person, but that’s also why I spend a lot of money on gear. My kid had his own helmet in high school and he has his own pads. He’s never had a concussion during the game with pads on (though suffered a couple playing 7-on-7). In the effort to make the game more “safe,” I think there are now more injuries to knees and legs.

This is an interesting debate, though, and we’ll see what happens in about 10 years time. But for now, how hard is it really to just buy some football gear during the off-season?

Apparently, very difficult.

**This isn’t just a rant about Dick’s, though I guess it kinda is. The thing is Sports Authority and Modell’s didn’t have any gear either. All the major sports retailers had nada, zip, nothing. So, it’s not just Dick’s. Thing is, Dick’s DOES have the best supply DURING the season, so you would think that during the off-season they would also carry some basics. No one does. No one. It makes no damn sense.