On Friday morning, we woke up at 4am to drive down to Virginia for Christian’s last volleyball tournament of the year. Generally speaking, I’m not a huge fan of long road trips and have never been to Virginia, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect. But sometimes in life, delightful experiences can come from the unexpected and this weekend was definitely one of those times.
First off, props to Virginia for being amazing. Google maps took us down through Pennsylvania towards the Blue Ridge Mountains because Jeremy loves to ride his bike and had mapped out a climb on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We made it down there relatively traffic free and after dropping him off, the kids and I drove over to Charlottesville to hang out and grab some food.
This crazy nut rode for three hours. When we drove through the parkway to pick him up, I was a bit terrified. The roads were steep and winding but the views mostly made it all worthwhile. When we found my husband happy and in once piece, all was well and then we were off to Richmond for the tournament.
This trip not only served as a grand finale to Christian’s club volleyball year, but it was also a bit of a mini vacation for our family. We stayed in a nice hotel with a pool and had some great quality time with this sweet girl.
All of our mornings started early with 8:00am work times for the team at the convention center. They played three games after that were nicely spread out.
We loved watching the boys play and had fun cheering them on as they won their first two matches on both Friday and Saturday.
This is where I have to give a shoutout to Christian’s club, The Island Academy Volleyball, or most commonly known as Acad. I’ve shared before that I did not plan for our son to play club volleyball so young. We’d known families that had done club for years, but I could never wrap my mind around the time, travel or money investment. We ended up doing club this year when our son came to us because he really wanted to play. He committed to earning money to pay for a big portion of the year which was commendable since he’s only 13 and can’t technically work anywhere yet. He ended up doing many, many jobs for people (mostly yard work) and not only met but exceeded his goals for the year. This caused him to be incredibly committed to his team and to playing because he put his own money into it and overall, it was really great.
And as far as his team and club? We could not have been more pleased. He gained incredible instruction from his coaches and we were so happy with what he learned from playing for Acad. As a bonus, he also got some great coaching from Acad’s head director Kevin DesLauriers who was named 2017 Coach of the Year for his outstanding work with Molloy.
Moving on. This weekend included lots of fun volleyball matches.
Granted, it wasn’t as fun when they didn’t win.
Which happened when they played this team. But it’s life lessons, right? Sometimes you aren’t the best and there’s something to be said about acknowledging that and learning to deal with it.
Other times, you might be a little better and then that’s pretty fun too.
We had a lot of great players on our team this year.
And we really had great coaches as well. This is Christian’s main coach, and he was fantastic with the boys.
Also, this is my favorite shot from the weekend. For the record, as a photographer, I’m used to working with families outdoors in the nice, natural light. I think I have a lot to learn when it comes to shooting action shots in weird convention center lighting. But I have quite a few years ahead of me to learn.
Ellee took this shot for me. Because someday, I’d like our kids to know they had a mom that wasn’t just behind the lens. Also, I love that man right there, and I’m pretty sure he loves me too. And finally, we don’t match often (ever) but when we do, it’s for a good reason. We absolutely loved being volleyball parents this weekend and representing our son’s club.
Our last two matches of the tournament were tough ones.
On Saturday, we played the number 1 ranked team.
It was pretty intense. And they were really good.
It was a hard loss.
And this kid was pretty disappointed. But, you know, life. And he got over it. And went back to the hotel with his team and had a fun night and good food and got ready for the next day.
Because of their record on Friday and Saturday, our boys made it into the Gold bracket. There were 36 teams total at the tournament and this was a great accomplishment for them. However, their ranking put them against the second ranked team, an absolute powerhouse of young men from Puerto Rico.
Side note, this girl was great overall this weekend, at supporting her brother and his team. It’s not easy to be the siblings of the kids who are doing all of the sports, so credit to those kids because it’s due.
Also side note, our team had some pretty awesome parents this year and we really enjoyed getting to know many of them.
And for how we did in our 8:00am match against that top rated team? Pretty good in the first halves of both games. We were point for point up to about 11. And then it wasn’t as close. But I really do give our boys so much credit for playing with heart and for doing their absolute best. It wasn’t an easy match to watch, but really that’s okay.
Christian accepted some words of encouragement from his amazing dad right after their loss. And later we learned that the last two teams that we lost to went on to play each other in the championship game. The Puerto Rican team ended up winning the tournament which was so great for them. Jeremy had talked to one of the moms from that team and she shared that this was a big tournament that their team had saved all year to get to so even though I was sad for our team, I was definitely happy for them.
And that sums up our 2018 East Coast Championship weekend. We left around ten and had a mostly traffic free ride home which was pretty amazing for Memorial Day weekend. We listened to “Country Roads” by John Denver again on the way home, in honor of Virginia (you should totally listen to it because it’s pretty catchy) and it made my heart most full to hear my family singing it knowing it will forever commemorate this awesome trip that we took to Virginia. Since Christian has four more years and has already started working towards next season, I’m definitely hoping for four more years of this trip to come.