Kathy's Chaos: My First Cup

Welcome to the world of athletic supporters

I have been procrastinating the writing of the following incident. Why? Because it was embarrassing. The reason? I had to buy my first cup.

What’s so embarrassing about buying a cup, you might ask? Well, it was not the kind that you drink from. It was the kind used as an athletic supporter.  And, yes, you are correct in assuming that I am a female and didn’t need the cup for me. I needed it for my son who is 6 and starting hockey lessons.

This embarrassing incident actually occurred right before Christmas. I am a fan of having Santa bring some things you actually need versus what you want. I thought it would be a good idea for Santa to deliver some of the hockey gear my son needed for his lessons, which began this month.

The lesson brochure listed all of the required equipment: helmet, hockey pants, shin guards, elbow pads, mouth guard, skates, a stick and AN ATHLETIC SUPPORTER.

I said to my husband, “Can’t you just go get all this stuff? You know what all of this is, I know nothing about hockey or athletic supporters for that matter.”

We had this conversation a few days before Christmas. Time was of the essence. I had a spare hour and he didn’t. I sucked it up and offered to take the ride to the Sports Exchange on Route 9 in Howell to pick up the equipment. How hard could buying a cup be? I grabbed the brochure and stuffed it in my purse.  

I arrived at the Sports Exchange determined not to ask for help.

I reviewed the list. Already have skates, helmet, stick and shin guards. Just need a few things. I can do this. 

I walked around bewildered for a while, such a newbie hockey mom. Much to my dismay, I discovered that there are about 30 different kinds of mouth guards. Huh? I texted my college-age nephew who played ice hockey in high school, “WHAT KIND OF MOUTH GUARD DO I GET?” I couldn’t bring myself to ask him about the athletic supporter.

I must have looked as lost as I felt because one of the employees — a young man, probably between 18 and 22 years old, same age as the nephew I just texted — asked me if I needed any help. 

I have the brochure!

“Yes, I do.” I handed over the brochure.

“My son is starting hockey lessons and this is what I need.” 

With the visual aid, I was able to avoid speaking the words “cup” or “athletic supporter.”

He helped me gather what I needed and then it was cup time.

“Okay, you need a cup. How old is your son?”

“He’s six, but he’s a big kid.”

Oh gosh, I meant big in a tall, all-over way, not in the cup size area!

I am now blushing bright red, stammering and following the young guy to the cup display. The guy didn’t even notice my embarrassment; he probably sells 50 cups a day.

He grabs one off the wall display. I don’t even look at it. No idea what I am getting or how much it costs. I don’t care I just want to get out of there. I think this must be how men feel when they have to buy tampons for their wives.

I paid the bill and then escaped to my car in an adrenalin rush of having survived.

When my son opened the box of hockey gear on Christmas morning, he and my girls weren’t quite sure what the cup was. My husband helped them out.

“It’s a bean bag protector.”


We then explained the truth, but it will forever be known in our house by that first catchy title.

It turned out that Santa brought the wrong waist size. If only I had been brave enough to check the package! The tighty whiteys that came with the cup were so snug they would have most certainly cut off the circulation to my son’s legs.

“I don’t think you can return a cup. Oh well, fifteen bucks down the drain for Santa.”

Since then, we got him the right size, hockey is going well and all is good in bean bag world.

I imagine this is only the beginning of the joys of welcoming athletic supporters into our home. Can’t wait to see what else is in store for me on this topic.

Tailgunner January 25, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Kathy, I hope you got him a neck guard also. I have seen on more than one occasion a skate come up and slice someones neck not to mention a stick to the neck. If it was not on your list it should be. From a hockey dad of 20+ years.
Kathy Yevchak January 25, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Thank you! Great advice!
Cathi January 25, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Thanks for sharing Kathy. You do need the protection. I won't reveal which son but one needed stiches after a mishap over Easter Break when he was about 10 and the result was stiches were needed in area of the "bean bag" (thanks for that title). Everyone, including the nurses and doctor said, "Oh boy". Most men I shared the details of the injury with crossed their legs for some reason. I will never forget it and I'm sure my nameless son hasn't either. As a female I can only imagine...... poor kids.


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