Hot gyms, Stinky uniforms and banana sandwiches!
For the ones that that have experienced AAU travel basketball you can definitely relate, for the newbies…..this is an official “heads up!” Being involved with AAU travel basketball whether it was supporting my kids or coaching, this was truly a part of my life that I will always, think fondly of and treasure those experiences the rest of my life. I met so many new people, forged new friendships and stockpiled enough stories to write a best seller no doubt. I decided that I would share a few of my experiences with you, for instance we were playing in a tournament in Southern Pines, NC and in between games the group decided to go to the local Subway in this small town to get something to eat. When we walked up in that Subway there was only one person on the job, you could see the fear in this employees face because we rolled deep (a large group) and he was dreading this you could tell. The young man started taking orders and doing his job as best he could….and boy was he struggling, it got so overwhelming for him that when our coach asked if he could “come back there and help” the young man said “yes please!” Our coach and I think one of the other parents “Took over the Subway”…… and those subs were awful, but that experience was grand and definitely unforgettable! When you become a part of AAU organization you soon find out that “It ain’t cheap” and if you are anything like my wife and I we’ve learned that “money doesn’t grow on trees” and you sometimes have to get creative, especially when it comes to eating. My wife is a frugal person anyway, so this was never a stretch for her like it was for me. My wife is a “coupon wonder woman”, she will whip those things out, no matter how long the line is and pinch every penny out of those things….and she’s good at it. I recall once preparing for a weekend AAU trip, she went to the grocery store prior to the the trip and stocked the coolers with gatorade, bottle water, bread, mayonnaise, bananas, tomatoes and chips. Next find a quiet, shady spot between games and lunch is served! Those sandwiches hit the spot in my gut and my wallet loved them as well. At some point and time you are going to come across a tournament with multiple venues operating, chances are one of those gyms will be hot and I do mean HOT! I have had my share of those and over the years we began to recall which gyms were which and we learned to prepare for them so be warned, live and learn! One more thing that comes to mind as far as these AAU tournaments are concerned is that with the multiple games and the bracket play, you could finish a game and get maybe an hour break before the next one. After a few of those your “little ballin’ angel” doesn’t have the fragrance you came over the road with, its not just your kid it’s all of them on the team and their opponents as well……boy what a smell coming off that court as the race back and forth! You look out in the parking lot between games and you see uniforms hanging out windows, on top of vehicles and in trees in attempts to dry them out. I’ve seen parents spraying uniforms with Febreze between games and I do understand….”that funk is real” and it takes no prisoners! At times a parent would volunteer to take the uniforms to a laundromat for a much needed washing, thank you Jesus! Those are just a few of my personal experiences that many of you can relate to and for some of you to look forward to because “it’s gonna happen” and you too will look back on them fondly just as I do. Ball out!