Cactus Classic

After begging us for two years Karlie got to do club volleyball this year.  We have shied away from club because in general we feel like youth sports has gotten way out of hand.  The intensity, commitment and cost are unreal.  These are children people!  I had a friend who they told her son needed to become a one sport athlete in 3rd grade.  An 8 year old boy needs to decide if he wants to do baseball or soccer.  Really?  No wonder kids burn out by 12.  However, the sad fact is if you don't play club, you don't play high school ball.  The skill levels are very clear, even in middle school.
So we gave in.  We managed to find a club that aligns with our philosophy though.  The owner said we believe it is family, church, school, volleyball, friends.  Volleyball comes before hanging out with friends but not at the expense of important family or church functions and you must be doing well in school.
 Karlie had her first tournament in Tucson.  It was three days of volleyball.  Clubs from as far as Brazil and Mexico came to compete!  It was incredible watching the 17's.  This was certainly a different level of volleyball. 
She is already improving!  She did an underhand serve on the middle school team and is working on mastering her overhand.
 Karlie and one other girl are the only ones that have not played club before.  Some have been on club teams for three years already.  Most had left other clubs to try Ignite, so everyone is new to the team.  It is great the girls are all learning about each other and there are no underlying clicks.  They are still young enough to be silly and allow for that unique openness of childhood friendships.  Most adults won't go running and hug each other after only knowing each other for a week. :)
 They are bonding as a team and learning to trust each other on the court.
 While I love watching Karlie play, I have to say my favorite part was the night that Max and all the kids went back home and Karlie and I had the hotel room to ourselves!  We did a peel off face mask that literally took a few layers of my face off.  I think I am too hairy for those masks!  Then we ordered room service and ate the cheesecake in bed.  It is not often I get to spend quality time with the kids one on one.  We had a blast giggling, snuggling and chatting.
 The final day was elimination round.  They fought all day for number one in their division but ended up losing a close one with the rival club in town.  Of all the clubs they would end up with, it was the club two girls on our team had left.  Emotions were high and both sides really wanted to win.  I got a taste of the good and the bad club parents.  I was very happy we did not go with that club.  It was a tough loss for sure.  But they took 2nd in their very first tournament!
Still not sure if we are on the club bandwagon, but I couldn't be happier with the parents on the team and the girls Karlie gets to play with.  But I am definitely going to need to go back to work if one day we have three kids playing club sports!

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