Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sullivan Fam Hoopsters!

Ever since Jake started coaching youth basketball he’s only had teams aged 3rd grade level and above in his program. But this year all that changed as he added teams all the way down to kindergarten on the boys’ side and 1st grade on the girls’ side! His main motivation was that JJ was really wanting to be coached by Dad! Last year as JJ played in a rec league I noticed that he was ALWAYS looking at Dad in the crowd after plays and was yearning for his feedback every step of the way. The two of them have a very close relationship, and I just had a hunch that if Jake were to coach him it would be so beneficial to JJ’s confidence and development on the court. At this age he thinks Dad knows EVERYTHING :) and he is like a little sponge, ready to absorb anything out of Jake’s mouth! So, over the summer Jake began prepping to integrate K-2 boys teams into the Kingdom Hoops program by holding camps and getting the word out. JJ was practically through the roof in excitement all summer long as he anticipated his first season as an official Kingdom Hoops player. Then, earlier this fall Jake got a phone call from a parent in his program asking if he’d consider starting up a 1st grade girl’s team. For the past 6 months Jennifer had been showing a lot of interest in wanting to try basketball, so Jake figured it would be a perfect way for her to try it out under the umbrella of his program. The team was formed in less than two weeks! Jennifer was so pumped for practice to start that she even let JJ ‘coach’ her through a preview of drills in the driveway so she would be ready to go for practice. ;)

Our little Miss Jayla, kindergartner, of course also wanted in on the action and decided to try out the first couple of practices to see how she liked it. In true Jayla style, she was a bit more concerned about the fashion aspects of the sport such as what color basketball Daddy might get her and if he could also find her some basketball headbands. :)

First night of fall skills...

As anticipated, the demanding practices ended up being a bit too intense for Jayla right now, but maybe next year it will be a better fit.

Last week was the season kick-off, and my two little 1st grade hoopsters were ready to roll! When I took the picture on the right at the kick-off event it gave me a flashback to the picture on the left from the day we first met Jennifer in Ghana of March 2012. What a transformation!

This past Sunday was JJ’s first game and my action-picture-taking skills proved to be a lil rusty! These couple of pics were the only ones that I managed to grab…

They ended up losing 20-30 but JJ’s team has some tremendous potential….a couple of his teammates have never even played before and I know they are going to really improve over the season. JJ knocked down his signature left-handed drive into a lay-up a handful of times and finished out the game with 10 points. I am noticing a MAJOR difference in his confidence and aggressiveness from last year to this year. Last year he was extremely timid and passive, especially on defense. This year already it’s like the exact opposite. Could be because Coach Dad told him that he can be as nice as he wants to be off the court, but as soon as he steps onto the court he needs to be ready to rip someone’s head off. :)

Jennifer’s first game was last night, and they dominated their opponents 32-12!! And our little Miss Jennifer has quite the athletic ability if I do say so myself. She is very strong, very aggressive, and very, very speedy! Those ingredients make for a great basketball player, and she just absolutely LOVES being out on the court! Every time she was even close to being open she was calling for the ball! She drove into the hoop numerous times, showing off some impressive control with her ball handling skills. She ended the game with 4 points, but she was everywhere. Grabbing rebounds, getting fouled, executing drawn up out-of-bounds plays (she got to pass the ball in), making key assists, even taking off for two breakaway layups that she just barely missed the tail end of. It was so fun watching her play, and even better getting to see how much she really likes it! Can’t wait for the next games!

[She made that one!]

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Adoption Journey to Jennifer and Jasara and First Year Home

One year ago today we arrived home from Ghana with two new daughters – Jennifer and Jasara!!! In celebration of this day I put together a little video of our journey to them and pictures of our first year home.