Written By: Leslie Murrell
Photograph by Bob Safar
Today we are starting the 20-hour drive to AAU Nationals in Orlando, Florida! We road trip a lot, but even for us, this is a long trip! All four of us think it’s worth it to be a part of some great volleyball.
My daughter, Lucy, is playing her first year of club volleyball with River City Juniors 131’s. We’ve had a fantastic experience with her club and her team! I credit our great experience mostly to fellow team parents. We all get along ridiculously well. I’m pretty sure it’s annoying to outsiders. We’re too busy having fun and cheering our girls on to notice.
One of the moms on our team mentioned at our last practice that she made sure the knee pads and ankle braces were washed because she didn’t want to stink up the plane. It’s best us moms discuss these nuggets of wisdom, especially when we’ll be in a car for 40 hours with said knee pads and ankle braces. So, wash those knee pads for your trip! And that’s a lot of playing this week – so definitely for the trip back home - I urge everyone to soak knee pads and ankle braces in equal parts vinegar and water. Then rinse and dry.
We waited too late to have our admission passes mailed to us, so we’ll be picking those up at will call at the ESPN Wide World of Sports on Monday. Later that evening, we’re looking forward to the opening ceremonies at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. It starts at 7p.m. and I hope your team can make it! It’ll be a great way to kick off the week.
Some of the moms on our team have been to Nationals before, and are on my speed dial (texting) for any insight. I’ve already quizzed them on how early to be there, to bringing snacks in to facilities (oh yes you can, but there’s concessions also), to reminding me to bring a hoodie or something in case the facility is chilly (the convention center tends to be chilly so, pack a sweatshirt or pullover).
***I want to share a tip about getting to the venues early my team moms told me. If you are going to the Orange County Convention Center and your team starts in a morning wave, plan to get there extremely early. All other teams will be arriving early as well, creating a bottle-neck effect just having to stop to pay to park, and then another potential traffic jam getting in to the facility. Please pack your patience, and plan accordingly! Remember, we all love our kids the most, and this whole crowd of traffic is there with a common purpose: for fun competitive volleyball. Road rage was never on the itinerary.
See how well my team moms take care of me, and hopefully now you?
So, we’re on the road now. Once the tournament starts, my mom jobs are as follows: Feed her, get her to the right court on time, cheer her on. We’re excited to see some great volleyball. It’s worthy of a road trip!
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