Like any good baseball parent, I spend a lot of time at the ball field watching my kids scoop up grounders (and sometimes flowers, if they're in the outfield). I love to watch them play, especially in the spring, when the skies are blue and there's a gentle breeze. But let's be real. Baseball is a summer sport, and you only get a couple of those really nice days. The rest of the time, it's hot as blazes out there, with no shade to be had for players or for fans. So you slather on the sunscreen and you go sweat it out. Case in point: Our last tournament was smack in the middle of a heat wave, and the game was in the afternoon. The visitors' dugout at this field faced right into the sun, so there was no relief for anyone. Kids were kind of limping out to the field, looking like baseball was a punishment rather than something someone would ever choose to do for fun. It was just about 100° outside that day. The temperature on the infield sand had to be more like 110°. IT'S A MIRACLE! When one of the other parents rolled a cooler over to the dugout, we all figured the kids were getting a Gatorade or juice box to stay hydrated. What happened instead? This cooler had a hose attached, and at the push of a button, the kids were getting cold air blown in their faces for a major cool-down during the seventh inning stretch. Instant smiles. When the kids took the field again at the top of the eighth, they all had a spring in their step. I can't say that they won the game, but no one fainted from the heat, and everyone was having fun again once they cooled off. WHAT IS IT? The genius mom who saved the day did it with an IcyBreeze personal air conditioner. An IcyBreeze looks like a regular cooler at first: inside there's ice and drinks, and maybe some freeze pops. But there's also a big, flexible hose that shoots out cold air, turning that cooler into an air conditioner that you can roll right out to the middle of a ball field and use to keep kids safe in extreme heat. Personal AC outside, in the middle of nowhere — who knew? HOW IT WORKS Like any regular cooler, the IcyBreeze has thick walls to insulate the inside and keep ice and drinks cold. Like any great cooler, it has a pull handle and big wheels to make it a snap to take anywhere, plus a valve to make it easy to drain out the water when you're ready to put it away. But there's more: What transforms the IcyBreeze from a just great cooler into a truly awesome personal air conditioner is its radiator. When you add a little water to the cooler (about two quarts) and then add ice, the radiator takes in the chilled water and circulates it to cool the air. That air is blown out through a flexible hose by a three-speed fan, so you can control just how much of cooling blast you want and where you want to direct the air flow. All of this is powered by a portable, rechargeable battery pack that lets you take air conditioning with you anywhere you go. There's no Freon or other chemicals involved in the cooling: just good, clean ice and air. Does it work? Yup. Turns out that ice is pretty powerful stuff. The chilled air created by the IcyBreeze can be up to 35 degrees cooler than the air outside. That means that while we were sweating it out in the 100-degree bleachers, the kids in the dugout were relaxing and enjoying spring breezes that were more like 65 degrees. No wonder they were smiling! NOT JUST FOR BASEBALL My kids play a lot of sports, so of course I'm thinking about how great this will be for football training camp and soccer matches. (I'd be lying if I said I was only thinking about the players. How great would this be parked next to my folding chair or in the bleachers for all those summer games?) Just think how amazing a 35-degree drop would be in all kind of situations: * Make your tent cool for sleeping during all those summer camping trips. High humidity doesn't have to ruin your sleep anymore! * Bring it along on the golf cart and enjoy a tee time when everyone else gives up and stays in the clubhouse. Sipping a drink and staying cool in the cart between holes would be golfing in the lap of luxury. * A 35-degree drop could be the difference between life and death for a dog in a hot car. With personal AC, you could bring your best buddy along for errands on the way to the dog park to play without worrying about him being in the car too long. * Taking the kids out to the pool can be fun for parents, too, if they can stay cool on a scorching pool deck. Let all the moms and dads circle up around the IcyBreeze with some drinks while the kids swim, and everyone is happy. * Make gardening a lot more comfortable by rolling some personal AC along — the kids might even pitch in with the weeding this way. If there's room for the cooler on your riding mower, Saturday afternoons doing yard work will never be the same. * Outdoor concerts and picnics are great, but a blast of cool air will keep the kids from complaining and let you enjoy being together without any whining about the heat. (Unless your kids never complain? Mine definitely do!) With so many ways to use the IcyBreeze, I'm sure I didn't think of everything. How will you use it?
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