Friday, April 3, 2009

April Madness

I am sure many of you are familiar with the term March Madness….well in the Sullivan household we celebrate April Madness which kicks off this weekend, and actually runs through the end of July! April Madness begins as all of Jake’s highschool teams return back to his program from their highschool seasons, and we start traveling to various tournaments throughout the country each weekend. Today we head to Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the first tournament of the year….this year Jake has 19 teams going (3rd graders through 11th graders) to this particular tournament.

These weekend trips pile on the memories for our family and for all the players. In the excitement of this weekend a few of my most cherished memories from the years before came to mind. The image engraved in my mind from last year is this:

We were fortunate enough to get invited to an elite tournament in Florida last July, and we took all the boys to Daytona Beach. If I remember right, only one or 2 of these boys had ever been in the ocean before, and I remember as they all walked in they were holding hands and jumping over the waves. 3 hours later when we met back up with the boys to load up and head back to the hotel, they were still in this same spot on the ocean, swimming and jumping over the waves. They had sent one boy up to the Pizza Hut on the shore to order them a pizza, and other than that, they hadn’t left the ocean! :)

I will also remember this image from 1 ½ years ago:

When JJ was about 18 months old, he went through a phase in which he only wanted to be with Jake. So, when we traveled to these tournaments, he would see Jake coaching across the gym and scream and cry and throw fits because he couldn’t be with him. Some tournaments I couldn’t even sit at the games that Jake was coaching at because JJ would get so out of hand that I couldn’t get him to stop crying. It was SO EMBARRASSING! Thank goodness we are over that now! In fact, JJ gets to sit on the bench with Jake while he coaches now!

It was funny because the other day I was sitting at a game on the bleachers with some of the other parents who didn’t know I was Jake’s wife. JJ was sitting with Jake on the bench and I heard them say, ‘That kid is not normal! Look at how he just sits there! He is so well-behaved.’ I smiled and thought, oh if you only knew how it used to be!

Each of the Sullivan’s have their favorites about traveling each weekend:

Jake’s favorite is the high of getting to coach game after game after game and to ‘prove wrong the doubters’. :)

My favorite is getting a vacation from housework and cooking! I also love the bonding for our family and getting to spend LOTS of time together. It’s also fun to watch as new families in the program get to experience the tournaments for the first time. I can’t even imagine what the little 3rd grade boys are thinking as they step into a facility with 10 courts, a Nike store, a McDonald’s and Subway, and people from every walk of life coming together to play the game they love.

JJ has learned fairly quickly about what traveling to these tournaments means in his exciting 2 ½ year old life. All week long I’ve been hearing him say, “Wa-wee! (as he throws his left fist in the air) Garden! (as he throws his right fist in the air) HEY! (both fists pump in the air)” To translate he is saying he is excited to go swimming and go to the Olive Garden!

I wonder what Miss Jayla will hold as her favorite in the years to come?

Cheers to the beginning of the madness!


Lori said...

I'm a little worried WHO will be taking pictures without gram-cam along? :)

Hollie said...

Your tournaments sound like so much fun! What an awesome opportunity for your family!