Hey Chicago What Do You Say?
Welcome to Chicago! How great is this?!? First regional qualifier in Chicago in 9 years....and to make it even better, home is only 45 minutes away!! We are happy to be here at Salt Creek Sports Center in Palatine...
When Peter Dale approached me last June in Taylor, MI with the idea of hosting an event in my new hometown in 2016, I honestly didn't think it was realistic. While Peter's program was on the rise, I knew we were going to need considerably more to pull this event off. Well, with the help of Dan Costanza, the Des Moines Xplosion making the trip over from Iowa, and my good friend Tim Harrington bringing a couple of his Tour Lizard Kings up all the way from Georgia, we have pulled off a fantastic event here in Palatine.
Peter's Farm Tough program is leading the way with all 9 teams participating this weekend, including his 6u and 8u teams. As many of you probably know, pulling off these divisions is the key to our sport continuing to grow. And in a market like Chicago which has not seen a regional tournament in a long, long time, we are very proud of the fact that we have (3) 6u teams and (4) 8u teams!! This bodes well for the future of our sport. With this type of growth, we expect Chicago to return to the market it once was almost a decade ago.
Additionally, it is great to see the local teams who are participating this weekend. The Chicago Legends, Chicago Chill, Illuminati, and Costanza's Hornets and Oilers have all gotten underway, and I have spoken to several parents already who are delighted that we are back, some of them who remember the last time we were here 9 years ago. An added bonus for the these local teams is that Kalamazoo is only a short 2 hour drive, and all of them seem to have our National Championships in the plans, which is great to hear!
I seem to say it a lot, but its never too often to recognize the teams who travel to a regional event, and in this case, we are talking about 80% of the tournament. The Xplosion teams traveled 5 hours, while the Farm Tough teams traveled just under 2 hours. The Lizard Kings came from Georgia, yes you heard that correctly!! Tim and Fred Abrahamian coordinated flights for their entire 14u and 16u teams to get them up here for the weekend. This type of travel for regionals used to be more common back in the day, but in this day and age, we never see this type of thing and we could not be more appreciative of the Lizard Kings commitment to T2H4I! They have just entered the building for their 1st game of the day, and squared of with Peter's Farm Tough Black in the Peewee division.
Gelly and Bell are with me this weekend, while GB is hosting our friends in Long Island! George went straight to Long Island from a vacation down in Florida so it appears the sun may have gotten to him since we have not yet seen a blog from New York. With Jay Muro and Vio, I know he is not short of things to write about....c'mon GB, get it together!!
My wife and daughters are heading up to take in some of the action and Bell just brought in Chipotle so I will check out for now. Will be sure to check back in tomorrow with some updates on the action...