If you’ve got a sports nut in your life, holiday shopping victory can be yours! We’ve rounded up a competitive bunch of gifts for those with a love of the game. And if you think we’re talking about team hats or jerseys or something else a fanatic would already have, well, that’s strike no. 1. This list has a full roster of unique gifts we can almost guarantee your die hard has never dreamed of. So get ready to hit a grand slam, go for a hat-trick, score an overtime W, hit a hole in one—or any other sports metaphor you can think of—with your all-time-high offering.
Wherever you go, you’re likely to encounter some kind of sports enthusiast, whether it’s soccer groupies, football fans, or members of NASCAR nation. Yet, this varied demographic tends to be very misunderstood. When you’re only at the Superbowl party for the game time food, it’s easy to wave off the cheers and groans and think to yourself “calm down, it’s just a game!” But then you decide to tag along to your first live game and you start to understand the rush of being surrounded by 90,000 people in a stadium. As you witness the intense bond between fans and observe the deep rivalry between the teams, you realize that it’s not just a game, but a way of life. At the core, sports inspire dedicated players and amaze loyal fans alike. We know that the sports fan on your wish list lives for this adrenaline. We picked out a lineup of gifts that will remind him or her of that favorite pastime and feel that familiar rush all over again.
Max is a budding entrepreneur who created a slam-dunk design: The Mug With a Hoop™. It’s no surprise that he’s a fan of playing with his food—after all, he was just 8 years old when he stepped out on the court to get in the design game!
The young inventor presented his product at the Babson College Center for Entrepreneurship, and in the Product Pitch at Fenway contest—so he could then tell his friends he had “pitched” at Fenway Park! Max’s mug was named one of the ten finalists in the contest, encouraging him to stay in the game.
Great publicity soon followed, including stories in the Boston Herald and Boston Business Journal. Max and his team (mom, dad and brother) then mounted a successful crowd-funding campaign, and their full court press put the mug into production.
The Mug With A Hoop™ isn’t just an addictively fun product; it also serves as a model success story and celebrates the creative focus found on the upside of dyslexia, a learning disability that’s affected Max from an early age.
Max (chief creator for MAX’IS Creations, now 10 years old), his brother Sam (13 years old and VP of product testing), and their mom, Jen (chief creator’s creator) took some time out from juggling school, entrepreneurship, and sports fandom to give us more detail on their uncommon venture, insight into the inspiration for the mug, and a glimpse of what’s next.
Q.) What was it like starting a business at a young age?
It was hard but I got it done. I like that I get to make money by doing my job. Other kids make money by doing chores, but I sell mugs. It’s more fun than doing chores, but it’s hard because I have to do a lot of work. And I’m proud to be donating 5 percent of the profits from MAX’IS Creations to charities that support learning disabilities like dyslexia because I’m dyslexic.
I made my original mug in art class at school. But then to turn it into a product to market, I had to work with design people to turn it into a prototype for a mug we could manufacture. I had to decide on what it would look like, what shape it should be, what color, and how big it should be. Then I had to decide where to make them. We had to talk to lots of factories until we found the right one. And now I do a lot of work going places to sell my mugs.
I’m very happy for Max and his business. He’s very entrepreneurial, and our whole family is helping him succeed. I like seeing the reaction of the people buying the mugs. Everyone seems to really like it. And it’s great to see places like UncommonGoods wanting to carry it.
Q.) Your company motto is “The world would be better if we could play with our food.” Did you get in a little trouble?
Sometimes…I like playing around but this is a good way to have fun at the table! I really like to play with my iPad at the table. But my parents don’t like me to do that because then I’m not part of the conversation. The Mug With a Hoop™ is a way for kids to play and be part of the conversation. It’s something you can do as a family. And the world is better if you can play with your food because it’s more fun!
Q.) What came first, the motto or the mug?
The mug came first. As our family connected with other entrepreneurs, we quickly learned the adage that successful products solve a problem. Looking at Max’s invention, we asked ourselves what problem it solved, and realized that Max’s value proposition in his own words was rather simple but true: “it makes eating fun.” And for many families, the dinner table is not seen as a place for fun. So we came up with the tagline “the world would be better if we could play with our food” to address the problem Max’s product solved and how his way of looking at things could make a difference in the world.
Q.) Now that The Mug With a Hoop™ is doing so well, do you have something new in the works?
Yes, my baseball mug—The Mug With a Glove™—is in production and should be available next spring! I 3D printed a prototype this spring at Fenway Park. The Mug With a Glove™ has baseball colors: the bowl is white in the shape of a baseball, with red baseball stitching with a brown glove attached that you throw the marshmallows into. It’s fun because you can throw marshmallows into the glove. It’s going to be great for small kids and big kids—any kind of kid, because it’s easier to get it in than The Mug With a Hoop™, which may be harder for little kids. I also have mugs coming out for football, hockey and soccer!
Q.) It must have been cool to visit Fenway a couple of times related to promote and develop your products.
I’m a Red Sox fan and love going to Fenway Park! I was excited to be able to go to Fenway to pitch my Mug With a Hoop™. And then they invited me back and I got to 3D print my baseball mug. It was fun to be on the Jumbotron. My favorite player is Dustin Pedroia, because he’s really good in the field.
The Mug With a Hoop ™ and The Mug With a Glove ™.
Q.) Do you have any advice for other young entrepreneurs?
Don’t go too big at first because you may not sell that many. Keep it simple. And then if it’s good keep doing it. Also, you should get other people to help you. If you’re a kid, you don’t really know what to do, so get someone to help you. My mom and dad are helping me, and my brother Sam and his friends Bobby and Marc also helped me a lot.
Starting a business takes time and effort. If you put in time and effort you’ll have a good product and will be able to sell more and more until you make enough money to create another product and you keep building up.
You don’t really need to be an expert. If you want to be successful you just need to put time and effort in.
When Max made his first product, we chose to take a lot of time out of our regular activities as a family to try to make this product successful. And if you put in enough work and effort you will have a great product and it will be able to sell well.
Max and his team have every reason to be proud of their record so far. You can become a fan by picking up a Mug With a Hoop™ for yourself or for your favorite sports fan.
That stinky muck that likes to lurk in the deepest, darkest parts of your drink bottle finally met its match–but only after inspiring Clean Bottle founder Dave Mayer to invent a better bottle.
The moldy mess lead to the creation of an innovative product–a sports bottle that opens on the top and bottom to allow for complete cleaning, but Dave, a triathlete himself, and his team of designers and engineers weren’t done there. Realizing that the design could still be improved, the team set to work to create the Square Water Bottle.
“I saw that everyone was carrying water bottles but they all had the same dull ‘fuel canister’ look and had some real design flaws,” said Dave. “We wanted to create a bottle that was as aesthetically pleasing as the clothes, handbags, shoes and phones that people also carried with them.”
The shape wasn’t hard to come up with. A square bottle makes sense, because it won’t roll away if knocked over or accidentally dropped. The challenge was making the product they envisioned a reality. It took time, but after around 40 mock ups and prototypes the Square Bottle was born. “Our final product stayed mostly true to the original design,” said Dave. “It took longer to not make compromises but it was worth it.”
The Square Bottle, like it’s predecessor, the original Clean Bottle, is easy to clean, because it screws open at both ends. It’s also durable, because the body is made of durable stainless steel, while the BPA-free plastic Vibrant Fresh Taste Lid ™ keeps your drink from taking on a metallic taste. The bottle is also slim enough to fit in a cup or bottle holder and is complete with an ergonomic handle, so it’s comfortable to take on the go.
Creating something that had never existed was no easy task, but time, collaboration, and hard work made it possible. “It was extremely difficult to do a Square bottle – there is a reason no one has done it, but we wanted something totally unique,” Dave,who uses the product himself every day, explained.
“People either want the cheapest or they want the best,” he said. “Aim to be one of these two and create a truly unique product and you will succeed.”
With THE PLAYERS Championship underway we’re quietly and quite politely clapping in celebration of one the newest additions to our men’s accessories assortment, PGA TOUR licensed TPC Sawgrass Golf Ball Cufflinks.
These sterling silver cufflinks feature material reclaimed from actual golf balls collected from Sawgrass’ iconic 137 yard 17th hole. While a few pro balls are sure to find their way into the water surrounding the hole during the week-long tournament, the rest of the year the course, located in Ponte Vedra, Florida, is open to the public, helping to create quite a bounty of sunken ball treasure.
As you’ll see in the video below, these balls aren’t exactly easy to recover. It takes a little hunting and some scuba gear to get them back to the green.
Milan Micich, Designer and Sales Manager at Tokens and Icons feels that sterling silver is the perfect complement to these carefully recovered golf balls. “Sterling silver, like TPC Sawgrass itself, is a rich experience,” he said. “There is only one Sawgrass, only one 17th hole island green, designed by Pete and Alice Dye, themselves icons in golf course design. It’s on every weekend golfer’s bucket list, and if a diver is going to evade alligators to scoop mishit balls off of the lake bed, the balls deserve being set in sterling silver.” (After seeing Mr. Gator show his head in that video, we definitely agree!)
“This is a gift [you] can give to a guy that connects to his emotions of having played or wanting to play this famous course and try his luck at 17,” said Milan. “Golf is a place you’ll see men laugh, shout, bicker, cry (ok, whine) and hug all in the space of an afternoon and talk about it for a lifetime…especially should a few go into the drink.”
Valentine’s Day is coming up, and while chocolates and flowers are nice, we know that some fellas would probably prefer valentines that can’t be devoured and won’t wilt in a few days. These great gifts for guys are uncommon ways to show the special man in your life just how lovable he is.
Custom Map Cufflinks
If there’s a place close to his heart, you can help him wear it on his sleeve. Whether it’s the place you first met, a landmark where you shared a romantic moment, or another special location, these custom map cufflinks are an elegant gift with a personal touch.
Titanium Multi-tool Collar Stays
Perfect for the dashing gentleman, who isn’t afraid to use his hands, Titanium Multi-tool Collar Stays each feature a half-phillips screwdriver, a slotted screwdriver, a thread cutter, and a bottle opener. Thanks to these sleek little gadgets, your Mr. Fix-it doesn’t have to sacrifice style.
Ball Park Color Top Pens
Maybe you’ve had a great times at a ballgames together, or maybe he’s just a huge fan of a certain team. Either way, this gift is sure to be a home run. Made from the wood from salvaged stadium seats, these pens are officially licensed Major League Baseball collectibles. Each also includes a certificate of authenticity.
The Buck Stops Here Money Clip
Cash might not be a traditional Valentine’s Day gift, but a stylish way to stash that cash is definitely acceptable. Featuring a vintage 1984 twenty-cent commemorative stamp, this money clip tells him that your search for your one-and-only is over. The buck has stopped, and your relationship is right on the money.
Cast Iron Tool Bottle Openers
Although they look and feel like the real deal, these cast iron tools are actually hand-forged bottle openers. If your guy is handy with a hammer, ready with a wrench, or prepared with pliers, let him know you appreciate his DIY home repairs and can-do attitude with a tool he can use as he kicks back and relaxes while enjoying a bottle of his favorite beverage.
He has everything you look for in a partner. A sense of humor, great style, and he isn’t afraid to be a little different. Sure, silk ties are nice, but a wood tie is a way to show him that you really do like his uncommon look.
Frog Prince Paperweight
You knew that one day your prince would come. Now that he has, you can thank him for giving you your very own storybook ending with this pewter paperweight. Of course, your Prince Charming wears many hats–so why shouldn’t he have fun changing the crown on his?
You could give him a gift card…OR you could give him a device to help him actually use the leftover plastic when he’s spent the gift cards he got for Christmas. The Pick Punch® cuts functional guitar picks from credit cards, gift cards, and similar sheets of thin plastic, so it’s a great way to show your Valentine that he rocks.