When you hear of team travel, most people think of the difficulty of setting up food, hotel, transportation and entertainment for a group of 27 people. However, our favorite part of the schedule here at Valpo is when we TRAVEL our team. This is where our team connects with each other and creates memories that last forever. The bond that develops between players creates a excitement to work for one another on the field, the “WE not ME” environment emerges. When I visit with former players and alumni the stories always seems to revolve around travel, for example the “Who’s Line is It Anyway” team activity in Cleveland several years ago. I still laugh myself to tears every time I think about the hilarity of that event. This past weekend was no different!
The Valpo family is always present and willing to lend a helping hand to assist our team during the time away from the comforts of their dorm room beds..lol. The Henderson Family (Brooke Henderson – So. – Westlake, OH) fed the team on Thursday evening with pasta, salad and pumpkin cookies that I really need the recipe for. The best part of the evening was the post meal – ski jumping and soccer heading on the Wii Fit. It was great to see the excitement of landing a jump or the laughter when they were hit by a shoe in the heading game. In the end, Jackie Kondrako proved to be the best Ski Jumper in the Group and Luisa Desario was the master header in the soccer game.
Saturday afternoon, the Wladecki Family (Trisha Wladecki – Fr. – Avon Lake, OH) had their turn and hosted the team. The lunch menu had traditional Italian pizza cooked in an authentic wood burning stone pizza oven (amazing), pork, delicious soup and finished it off with S’mores. The relaxing afternoon saw the team play bags, climbing the backyard rope and others had their hand at Harry Potter in the woods.
Sunday morning and Friday post game, the Lytle Family (Janine Lytle – Fr. – Wooster, OH) made awesome sandwiches post-game and pancakes and eggs on Sunday morning pre-game. I loved the energy the Lytle’s had which energized our group early on a Sunday morning. The bright smiling faces needed some energy at 8:30 am on a cloudy downtown Cleveland morning.
For our big team activity on Saturday night we played a three team competition of Jeopardy. The topics may have been difficult because I tend to forget that some of the people I recognize are not always the individuals our players will remember or know..I might be getting old…lol However, those of you following the blog should know that “yes” the “Ha Ha shirt” was earned on this night and a few other times this past weekend.
Oh – by the way, We won both of our games 2-0 over Youngstown State and Cleveland State and we were really ROCKIN’ in Cleveland. These victories were big because they qualified the team for the Horizon League tournament setting up a big game on Friday October 23 at 3 pm at Eastgate field against Butler. If we win, we finish 3rd in the conference and would host a first round tournament game. I always wonder what comes first the chicken or the egg? In our case, the team bonding comes first and the results are sure to follow. So, when I hear our team is traveling, I have nothing but excitement and energy.
Go Crusaders and I am so proud of our team !!!