If you value your time, don’t read this. It’s blather mostly.

It might be mildly interesting to a few of you – mainly those struggling through the challenges, financial and logistical, of travel sports with their children. Also, for those of you required to travel by air frequently, if you have had difficulties with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), you might enjoy this read. But for the rest of you, go back to Better Call Saul.

This information is necessary to thoroughly understand this piece: according to the TSA, lacrosse sticks are NOT allowed in carry-on bags when flying.1

Please note that some of the names have been changed to protect minor children (also known as the innocent).

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1/27/2020 – It is my birthday. I am 50 years old. Only a week ago was I negotiating my way through the security screening area at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Bargaining. Arguing. Convincing.

Yesterday, I was 18.

Life is short.

1/26/2020 – Kobe Bryant, NBA superstar, his young daughter, and several others tragically die in a helicopter accident. When we receive this news, I am at Texas A&M University, attending yet another lacrosse tournament with my daughter.

Initially, I hope that the story is a hoax or some unfortunate misreporting. I now know that some other sport broadcasters felt similarly. As you no doubt are aware, it was not a hoax. Air travel is a crazy business. Life is short.

1/25/2020 – LeBron James surpasses Kobe Bryant for third on NBA all-time scoring list; Kobe tweets – Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother #33644 

1/20/2020 – 11:55 am: As soon as we board the plane, I toss the big green duffel bag into one of the overhead compartments and slam its door shut.

We made it.

Somehow, we pulled it off. 

1/20/2020 – 11:50 am: The attendant kicks us out of the boarding line, sending us over to the desk to pay additional monies for the carry-on duffel bag. I gladly pull out my credit card and absorb the extra cost.

1/20/2020 – 11:45 am: They finally call for our group to board the plane. I still hope that we can carry on the large duffel bag as a personal item (versus a carry-on, which requires us to pay an additional fee).

“Do you want me to carry it when we get up to the woman checking our boarding passes?” Erika asks.

“Yes,” I say. “That is an excellent idea.” I figure that if she holds the bag, the view will convey that the bag is light and somehow smaller versus if my muscles were required to tote that big sack.

1/20/2020 – 11:24 am: I arrive at the departure gate to discover that the flight is delayed for 40 minutes. In retrospect, there is no reason we could not have checked our bag, as was the original plan.

1/20/2020 – 11:22 am: I run into the Terminal 5 restroom. We sprint toward our departing gate, 54A.

“Fine,” Erika says to my backside as I continue to hurry. “But this is a mistake.”

Two minutes later, I emerge from the men’s room, and the girls are gone. They’ve sprinted ahead, carrying all of the bags, including the carry-on and my personal item – the backpack. 

1/20/2020 – 11:20 am: We jog through the terminal on the way to our gate. We have regrouped with Maddy, who we lost during all of the security line antics. Apparently, she had to run back to the front desk to reprint her boarding pass because her Spirit Airlines App was malfunctioning.

Erika and I have our backpacks (personal items) on, and we are both holding the big green duffel bag – the soon-to-be carry-on, or so we hope.

“Erika, I need to run to the bathroom,” I say.

“Dad, we don’t have time,” she says. “We are going to miss the plane.”

“We have time,” I say. “It will take me two seconds.”

“Dad, this is one of those times when you should really listen to me,” Erika says in earnest.

1/20/2020 – 11:17 am: Have we made it?

1/20/2020 – 11:16 am: The bag goes through the security screening and is not removed from the checkpoint. I wait, holding my breath.

“We made it through,” Erika says.

“Not yet. We haven’t,” I respond.

“Yes, we have,” she says and quickly grabs the duffle bag. She begins to sprint away from the security screening area. 

1/20/2020 – 11:15 am: In a nearly full-blown panic, we heave the duffle bag onto the conveyor belt for the security screener. I am groggy, sweating profusely, and slightly winded from this crazy scramble, trying to make it onto the flight on time.

1/20/2020 – 11:12 am: We flop the big duffel bag onto the floor, and Erika digs through the clothes to locate the wide, plastic tube that contains both the lacrosse sticks and the screwdriver. She quickly disassociates the screwdriver with the tube and tosses it into the garbage. At the same time, I toss other items into the big garbage can – a nearly full peanut butter container, an almost full shampoo container, and a nearly full container of hair conditioner. I throw away a bag of Doritos and what’s left of our NyQuil, too.

We are in full-blown panic mode trying to board the plane on time. 

1/20/2020 – 11:10 am: My daughter and I arrive at the security screening for our carry-on and personal items.

“Let’s ditch the screwdriver here,” Erika says.

“Good idea.” I concur. She is being smart – proactive. Ditch some of the contraband to lessen our chances of getting caught – I have taught her well. 

1/20/2020 – 11:06 am: I finally locate my Trayvax wallet in the breast pocket of the road-worn black fleece I have been toting around for the better part of a decade. No wonder I am sweating profusely.

This attendant hands back my identification and boarding pass. He appears mildly amused and apparently attributes my panic solely to being unable to locate my wallet. He does not attribute it to the fact that I am trying to board a plane with clear contraband – not only contraband but also items that could be used as weapons while we are in midair. 

1/20/2020 – 11:05 am: We hustle through the security line and arrive at the attendant who checks our identification and boarding passes. I walk up with my daughter because she is a minor. I reach for my wallet, but I can’t find it.

“Where is my wallet?” I ask my daughter in a panic. She looks at me like I have two heads.

“How should I know?” She responds.

I am sweating, frantically and repeatedly patting down all of my pockets. 

Where the heck is my wallet?

I am in a near full-blown panic. 

1/20/2020 – 11:00 am: Now we are back with the first security woman. I tell her that the security attendant she sent us to speak with said we are okay and can address the big carry-on bag with the attendant at the gate.

“What’s his name?” she asks.

“I don’t know his name,” I say. “He’s standing right over there.” He is about 20 feet away from us.

She calls him on her walkie-talkie, and he gives us the nod to proceed. 

1/20/2020 – 10:50 am: “We discussed this bag with the woman at the front desk,” I say, speaking to the second attendant at the airline security gates. “She suggested we could condense the contents and address paying for a carry-on bag with the attendant at the gate.” He looks confused but reluctantly nods and says we are okay to go.

1/20/2020 – 10:50 am: “You need to talk to him,” the woman at the front of the security gate says. “I cannot let you through with that bag.”

1/20/2020 – 10:50 am: We arrive at the entrance for Security. Dramatically pressed for time. I am starting to become groggy, but I struggle to stay focused because I know that I need to negotiate my way through this situation.

The first woman immediately stops us and suggests that our bag is too large to carry on. I quickly convey that we were told we can condense and that we should talk to the woman at the gate about carrying it onto the plane. She looks confused and attempts to send us back to the Spirit Airline main desk.

1/20/2020 – 10:50 am: The woman at the Spirit Airline desk (Los Angeles International Airport [LAX]) advises that I can no longer check my bag because it’s less than 45 minutes away from my plane’s scheduled departure. I ask her what my options are, and she suggests that we can get out on the next flight at 7 pm. I tell her that the later flight is a nonstarter. I ask what my other options are.

She suggests that we try to condense the contents of the bag that was slated to be checked in. She, of course, is not aware that the bag contains two lacrosse sticks, a screwdriver, and several containers of fluids, each exceeding the allowable size for carry-on luggage.

She mentions that we may need to pay for the carry-on but that I should discuss this with the attendant at the gate.

1/20/2020 – 10:45 am: Spirit’s ticketing kiosk will not allow me to check my bag. The note flashing on the screen suggests that I need to speak to a desk attendant.

1/20/2020 – 10:00 am: I should be en route to LAX, but instead, I am walking barefoot on Dockweiler Beach, off Vista Del Mar, just south of Playa Del Rey. I leisurely take pictures with my daughter, Erika, and her friend, Maddy (name changed).



1/20/2020 – 9:30 am: Before we leave the hotel for our return flight to Dallas, I make the brilliant decision to take a double shot of the NyQuil – I have been fighting off a cold and dealing with a recurrent cough, plus I figure that the NyQuil will help me to sleep on the plane. We will have navigated the car return and airport security by the time the drowsiness starts.

1/18 to 1/20/2020: The “2020 Sandstorm Lacrosse Festival” at the Empire Polo Club in Indio California. Erika and Maddy played tremendously, and that’s all I have to say about that.


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1/17/2020 – 9:50 am: We leave the Muscle Beach area, walk along the beach path, and marvel at some of the waterfront digs. We are hungry, and I am scanning Yelp for a breakfast recommendation.

Whenever I travel for sports with my children, I endeavor to find smaller hole-in-the-wall-type establishments versus eating at chains. I love old greasy spoons. I quickly stumbled upon Eggslut.

Its website reads:

Eggslut is a chef driven, gourmet food concept founded in 2011. It's inspired by a true love for eggs. The menu is a balance of comfort and innovation, celebrating food that appeals to both novice and extreme foodie through classic comfort fare with a twist, all-encompassing our key ingredient, eggs …

When patrons dine with Eggslut, we want it to be more than just a meal, we want it to be an experience. Our focus is on the quality and taste of our food, consistent presentation, and great customer service. 2

We order a couple Bacon, Egg & Cheese Sandwiches, and something, under their Specials, called “SLUT.” The food is delicious, particularly the “SLUT.” I would go again.


cage-free coddled egg on top of a smooth potato purée, poached in a glass jar, topped with gray salt and chives, served with slices of baguette2


1/17/2020 – 8:53 am: We have some time to kill, as the Airbnb at which we are staying doesn’t allow check-in until 3 pm. I decide to drive to Muscle Beach Venice, an open playground for gymnastics, rope climbing, and other acrobatic bars, as well as a gated area that encloses the weightlifting equipment.


We park in the public lot, and as soon as we leave the KIA, Maddy notes that the air is thick with the smell of marijuana. I quickly agree, as the smell was pervasive.

“Don’t leave my sight,” I say to them.

It’s early, and most of the weightlifting equipment is still packed away for the day. Nevertheless, we make our way to the gymnastics area, where I jump up on the rings and deftly complete two solid chin-ups. I realize that I am incredibly stiff and sore from the flight. I am getting older.

venice-paid venice-beach

1/17/2020 – 8:10 am: We land at LAX, and we take the bus to Hertz to grab the 2020 KIA Sedona with Apple Play. My daughter and Maddy are delighted.