AAU, Family Style…

It’s not something I partake in often. Once Pioneer High School’s basketball season is done, I’m pretty much done too. Landon (Drew-t-t-r-o-t-w) dives head first into AAU ball (Amateur Athletic Union). A traveling basketball league located in many major cities with tournaments almost every weekend. I believe they start around 4th grade, but the group participating in the tourney’s we’ve attended are 15, 16 & 17 year olds.

Landon cleans up nicely for his emcee gig for Black History month…


Distance is one of the main reasons this grandma sits home weekends waiting for texts on how his team is faring. Ok, mostly how Landon’s doing. Money too. Those weekend jaunts are stinking expensive. Not only motels, restaurants, tourney tickets, (thanks BTW Shannon for buying ours this weekend), but most are held very far away, like California far. There are 2 however that are relatively close, one of which was this weekend in Grand Rapids. Probably 75 miles away now. So off we went Friday afternoon.

Warmups with uniform shorts that would fit Goliath. Landon is in the gray t-shirt…

Friday happened to be Peyton’s 13th birthday too. Was she thrilled to be headed for a weekend of watching her brother play endless basketball? Umm, not so much, but mom upped the ante to make it extra-special. Invited PJ’s bestie, Naydia along for a weekend of treats, swimming, shopping and late night slumber parties in the hotel. First stop was in Lansing for mile high frosted cupcakes from Gigi’s. Next Lansing Mall, then Skyzone. Supper after the first game in Grand Rapids at The Melting Pot. A fondue meal. Are you kidding me? That’s still a thing? When Shannon mentioned half these plans to me, I quickly said we were staying at a different hotel. Made me tired just thinking all they manage to squeeze in. (Besides we stayed at a Country Inns and Suites last year which is about a block from the Field House where most of the games are played). Plus the girls made a trip to Rivertown Crossing Mall. They just go and go. Then go some more.

Peyton and Tracey at daddy-daughter dance last month…

Back to basketball. The first couple of games determines where you’ll be seeded in the tourney. Landon’s whole team and coach are new to him. He’s played with most of the same kids and had the same coach for 2 years. So everything was different for him (and us). These games are pretty brutal compared to high school. Not very many fouls are called. A little bit loosey-goosey. The games are 32 minutes long, divided in halves, not quarters. With 3 minute half times. Holy Hannah, let me tell you, they play hard! The first game was a yawner, point wise, but it was kind of like watching an awkward teen couple on their first date. Starting point guard with a new team of kids and a coach who might have heard some good things about you, but really doesn’t know you. (Getting to know you, getting to know all about you). It was interesting to watch the weekend progress. How the coach and Landon became better acquainted with each other, their play style and the rest of the team.

Warmups-again…

So in a little over 40 hours Landon played 7 basketball games, starting at 7:30 Friday night. Each game takes about an hour. Thank heavens we weren’t subjected to any 10:30 p.m. games or the equally obnoxious 8 a.m. ones. Talk about brutal. None of those boys look good at 8 a.m. Not a one. Sorry Landon. (Staying up late, playing video games, goofing off, eating (grazing) constantly probably doesn’t help). Once seeding is done, the tourney starts and it’s one loss and you’re out. The Family played 3 games on Saturday, each from a couple to 4 hours apart. Won all three by about 20 points each time, Landon scoring about 15 per game, but playing more minutes every game. Ah, the coach was paying attention.

Keeping stats in my own unusual style…

The only halfway close game they played was Sunday morning. We won 56-51. Landon played the entire game and scored 18. Not his highest game total for the weekend but maybe his best game. Toss up, I guess. He had 21 points on Saturday morning and played only 22 minutes. He must be a morning person like his Gram.

Tracey was a no-show for most of the weekend. He anticipated being back in Michigan Saturday afternoon. He had a school function which included flying to New Orleans on Thursday to watch Pioneer’s orchestra perform twice on Friday. His weekend peaked when all his flights back home were canceled. Not a happy camper. He did manage to get a flight to Chicago on Sunday morning, then flew into Lansing, where he rented a car, ydrove to Grand Rapids. Just in time to watch Landon play the second half of one game, before the championship game. Which was anticlimactic. And a little bit awkward like that first game (date) Friday night.

Someone convinced John we needed T-shirts…

The championship game was between Landon’s new team, The Family and Ken, his former coach with King James Shooting Stars. Remember how disappointed I was towards the end of last year? Ken was out to lunch the whole last half. Don’t know what was going on in his life but I truly thought he was burned out and needed to retire. Obviously he didn’t and bounced back I guess. I didn’t recognize one player on Ken’s team, so everyone is new. The game wasn’t a blowout, but we were consistently staying ahead by 6 to 10 points for the most part when Landon broke his finger. Bummer. Of course he refused to come out of the game but his shooting was pretty much done. He did keep his team on that ‘even keel’ thing he does when he runs the floor. Since I’ve yet to learn any of his teammates names, I can’t tell you who the kid is, but # 11 for The Family shot the freaking lights out. The final score was 70-60. He must have had 30 points-at least.

Coach w/ trophy, Landon wearing 0 instead of #3 this season…

I’m wondering about the next tournament Gram can attend? Shannon said The Family is playing in a tourney in Detroit this year so that’s close and a must see. Plus the one in Fort Wayne. You should see the size of that field house. Has at least 8 or 10 courts. But I’m also ready for a couple weekends at home.

I’m bushed and glad to be back home. Got to gear up for a new week of a dozen babies. But the rest of the family is still going this Sunday night. Shannon’s taking Landon to the ER to have his crooked finger worked on. John’s driving Tracey to Detroit Metro to pick up his car. Naydia’s back home and Peyton’s ecstatic to be done with basketball for a few days. By game 7 she and her BFF were all out of bubbling enthusiasm. For sure…

We are SO done with this. Peyton & Naydia by Sunday afternoon…

5 thoughts on “AAU, Family Style…

  1. I'll try this again….I'm getting super frustrated now as I'm trying to comment back to you and it won't publish and then it erases the comment altogether…yikes-this is frustrating as it happened yesterday too! Sooo. I was trying to say this remind ed do me of Ryan's road hockey games back in the late 80's, early 90's. Los of time, expensive….rather all-consuming. I was sheepishly and somewhat guiltily elated when we moved to NY where there was no hockey team for Ryan to participate in. We switched over to football which involved less expense and time as it was local….ohhhhhhh, those were great games; the highlight of the week! I STILL miss those games!

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