Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Youth Volleyball: Crazy Weekend, Crazy Money Spent

I had to share my crazy youth sports weekend and the ridiculous amount of money I spent because of it.

Flash back to November, my wife and I planned a five day getaway trip. Five days is about all I can handle being away from the kids. We planned to leave on Sunday, January 26th and return on a Friday, January 30th. We typically plan our getaways on a Sunday to Friday schedule for two reasons: 1) Every night is a school night. This makes it easier for my parents to watch the kids and 2) chances of missing a game are reduced.

As our trip approached, we found out that our daughter had a volleyball tournament in Nashville, Tennessee which is a 5 hour drive from Cincinnati. Our flight home from vacation was supposed to arrive at 11:30 pm on Friday. I did not want to drive 5 hours at night after a long day of traveling from the Caribbean, so I called Delta and the resort and changed our trip to a Saturday to Thursday schedule. 

COST: $300 and 20,000 miles to change the flight. No charge for the room change.

My wife and I had a great time, but we were ready to go home on Thursday to see the kids. Right before we were about to leave the resort, we found out that our flight to Atlanta, our connection city, was cancelled. We were stuck in the tropics for an extra day. We had to buy an extra day at the resort and Delta was not going to reimburse the amount because it was weather related.

 COST: $350 for an additional night at the resort.

We had to scramble and figure out how we were going to get our daughter to Nashville. Option 1 was to get home at 11:30 pm on Friday and drive all night. Option 2 was to get our daughter a ride to Nashville with a teammate or coach and meet our daughter there. 

We were very reluctant to choose option 2 because we do not know the coach or the other families yet. This is the first season that we have been with this club and this was the first tournament. We spoke to our daughter and she thought it would be fun to ride with the coaches, so we chose option 2. 

We called Delta to change our final destination to Nashville instead of Cincinnati. They were willing to do it, but would not put us on the 7pm flight to Nashville because they did not think that we could make the connection in time due to customs. Our option was a 10:30 flight. Instead of waiting 3 hours for a hour long flight, we decided to reserve a rental car in Atlanta and planned to drive the 3.5 hour trip. Well, our flight arrived early into Atlanta and we breezed through customs, so we asked Delta if we could jump on the 7pm Nashville flight. We made it with minutes to spare. We then rented a car in Nashville.

COST: $270 for a three day rental and a drop off fee.

Nashville is in the south, but it was not exactly warm there in January and the forecast called for snow on the Sunday of the tournament. We did not have any warm clothes. We left Cincinnati in a snow storm the day we left for our trip, but we left our coats at home. As a result, we had to buy a few sweatshirts and some long sleeve shirts. 

COST: $170 for warm clothes.

The team gathered for a team dinner at Old Chicago Pizza and Tap Room and we stopped at a grocery store to get tailgating food, paper plates, forks, etc. so the kids could eat quickly between games. 

COST: $130 for food and drinks.

It was all worth it. My daughter's team did really well in the tournament. Too well. They advanced all the way to the finals. The final match went to 3 games. The final game went to 16-14. As a result, we did not leave Nashville until 4:30 EST which was just about the same time a big snow storm was sweeping across Tennessee and Kentucky. After 6 hours of white knuckle driving, we got home, but we missed the Super Bowl. I apparently did not miss anything because it was not a good Superbowl.

I would rather watch my daughter than Payton Manning any day. She was fun to watch. At five foot one, my daughter was the shortest outside hitter in the entire tournament, but she did great because she can jump. She also played middle back.

The Main Point

Total cost $1,150. 

I would do anything to watch my kids play the sports that they love to play. 


  1. =>Here is an old ESPN article that I think you will get a kick out of. I always reread it when I lose perspective and turn into the crazy sports parent.


  2. I just found your blog. I found this story very interesting. I share your pain on costs. I guess we are lucky because getting away is over for a while and we have no one willing to watch the kids even if we had money.

    Still though I share your idea of doing anything to get your kids where they need to be. My oldest swims. It is a straight up you need to be at practice to even think about getting any better sport. Of course there are other aspects to getting better like eating right, sleeping enough and working hard at practice. But you have to be at practice. So my number one goal in life is to get her to the practices she needs to get to. And when your pool goes down you turn a 2 hours practice into 4 hours door to door. But it is just what you do for your kids.

    I feel like I have one role with my kids and their sports. It is to give them all the opportunities they need to get better, but only if the don't complain about it. I don't make 13 year olds go to practice and kill themselves. She does it because she wants to. And if she doesn't want to go then we all can find something else to do with our time.

    I guess it comes down to this. As each year passes you should be making your kids do less because they want to do more.

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