Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Stinky gear

If you have been around sports gear and or locker rooms, you are familiar with that unique smell that permeates the air. What causes the odor? Well it is a combination of factors starting with athletes sweating from their physical exertion and usually ending with gear that has sat in a gear bag or laundry hamper and never dried. This wet environment allows bacteria, mold, and mildew to grow and thrive. 

My personal experience with wet and stinky gear comes from playing and coaching hockey. I have coached teams from mites, through high school hockey, and finishing with a college club team, with several travel and all-star teams in between. When traveling for weekend games, teammates would share hotel rooms to cut costs. The unintended consequence was multiple, very fragrant hockey bags of gear confined to a small space.

After the first game, back at the hotel and ready to commence their mini-sticks game in the hotel, they spread out their gear to get some dry time. A short while later, the stench reached my limit and said "let's put the gear in the bathroom, turn on the exhaust fan, and close the door". That at least got us some bearable rest time, but good luck trying to use the bathroom. Multiple players' worth of elbow pads, gloves, helmets, skates, etc... spread all over the bathroom. You needed a hazmat suit and a GPS to make it to the toilet.

The next morning, I thought of a rack that would hold the gear and hang from the shower curtain rod. They say most inventions are born out of necessity and boy did I have a need. We built a couple of prototypes that my son has used for the past twelve years and the two of us finally decided to see if others would share in the need for this product. You can visit our website at www.ratzproducts.com and check out our 'Sports Equipment Drying Rack". It is portable, weighs under three pounds, works great in helping to dry hockey gear, and helps to relieve 'the stink'.

After 18 years of coaching, my son is still playing hockey in a men's league. We started him on the ice at three and now he is in his late 20's. Fun times, but boy I can do without the stink.

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