Hello Fellow Hawkeye Fans and Camp Courageous Fans,
What a memorable day!! The Travelers of Camp Courageous really had the Royal Treatment at Carver-Haweye Arena. WOW, we could’t ask for better weather, wonderful volunteers, great travelers, and an AWESOME/STUPENDOUS WELCOME from the University of Iowa, coaches, players and staff. All around it was a fantastic Flash trip. Before I get into all the details, I want to give a HUGE THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart and all the Travelers and volunteers who kept cheering and thanking everyone for an amazing event, THANK YOU to everyone who helped make this trip happen. To Charlie Becker for making his contacts and getting us the tickets, to Emily Sparks who was the backbone of this event. She basically does what I do (plans trips), but for the Volleyball team. Emily pulled together her team and made sure everyone had the best times of their lives. She lined up a tour, a greet and meet from two head Iowa coaches, Men’s Basketball coach Fran McCaffery and Woman’s Volleyball coach Bond Shymansky. The final surprise was an upgrade to floor seats!! That’s right, right up an center, where the sweat is flying and balls are bouncing towards us. IT WAS AMAZING!! Emily and the staff did so much, it was unbelievable. The lady hawks also had the best time of their lives seeing these group of travelers walking up to them giving them a big hug. They were full of joy from seeing the travelers and remembering when they visited Camp Courageous. We would also like to give a shout out to Bud and Georgia Johnson who are HUGE supporters of Camp Courageous and the Volleyball team. They also had a big hand in helping make sure our travelers had the best times of their lives.
The day started around 12:30pm, we picked up our first round of travelers at Camp Courageous. These individuals included Darren Corkery with his staff Susan Williams, Amanda Oswald, Susie Schneiter, Ralph Fiedler, and Ronnie Pfeiffer. Thank you to Sharon for helping with this check-in. Melissa then drove them in a Aloha and went off to Cedar Rapids, to pick-up Christopher Bradley and Steven Esker. They then made their way to Iowa City to shop at the Black and Gold store, where they shopped for some Hawkeye gear. Afterwards they went off to Culvers in Coralville to meet the other group of travelers. In the meantime, while Melissa was checking those travelers in I drove Henry to Davenport to meet a big group at Cracker Barrell. These individuals included Cappy Beckenbaugh, Tom Blackburn, Mike Carnes, John Davison, Annette Grimm, Kathy Kindle, Rosemary LaGrange, Rick Malles, Michelle Schaecher, and Harrison Rollins. After we did our high-fives and hugs, we loaded the bus, and made our way to Tipton to pick up Doug and Kevin Ahrendsen. They were all smiles with their travelers t-shirts on. It was great!
Once we picked up our travelers, we met at the Culver’s in Coralville. Here we met volunteers Hannah Lachnit, Christine Bottelman, Shannon Sullivan-Channon, and Tara Roehrig. We also met travelers Tanna Rowe and Austin Roehrig. We had such a delicious meal. I highly recommend this Culver’s, they are very efficient and everyone received their meals in a timely manner. I was very impressed. The manager came over, thanked us for bring the group in and enjoyed having us. Thanks Coralville Culvers.
After dinner, we made our way to Carver-Hawkeye Arena, where Emily Sparks was waiting for with big smiles. She introduced herself and showed us where to park. We dropped off the travelers and parked in parking spots labeled with our group name! Awesome!! We took many pictures and proceeded into the arena. Emily began by welcoming us to Carver-Hawkeye Arena. They had a HUGE tv screen with “Welcome Camp Courageous” on it. It was AWESOME! I am going to be using Awesome, or Great in this email, because I cannot describe in words HOW miraculous everything was for our group. Emily began the tour and showed us everything that this arena had. We started on the fourth floor, made our way to the second and the 1st floors. The second had the practice basketball gym and some offices. This is where we met coach Fran and one of his players. They greeted our group, gave high fives, and signed a lot of shirts. They even signed bare arms! Oh they guys are funny!
We even met coach Bond in the gym, he talked with us a little and showed us the 1st floor. Here we got to see the ladies locker room, the weight room, press room, and the ground entrance into the arena. This also where we got to meet all the Volleyball players. As I mentioned, they were so excited to see us and so happy that we had the opportunity to come watch them play. This meant the world to them, and they showed us on the court. We will get to that later ;)! After awhile, the players had to head out, because coach Bond needed to continue pumping them up and going over the game plan. We then entered a conference room, where Emily talked for us and answered questions and then coach Bond came back to our group and spoke about how great it was to be their and how the ladies are excited to have us cheering them on. See the full video on Camp’s Facebook page. Actually, see many videos on camps page from last nights game. I just couldn’t keep up.
We clapped for coach and shouted Point Hawks! We were ready to watch the game. After we heard from coach, we were ready pumped up, and knew our game plan. What was that? To shout for the Hawkeyes and chant “Point Hawks!”
Emily guided us into the arena, showed us where our seats were and we jumped for joy, because Emily surprised us with front row seats. Right on the floor! It was incredible. The spirit was high! The pep band was playing, the cheer leaders and dance team were cheering and dancing, and Herky was full of hugs and high fives.
We stood for the National Anthem and then the introduction began. The starting line up was called and we cheered for each individual player. The players even rolled out balls to our travelers. It was a great!! The look on Amanda Oswald’s face when she caught one of the balls was priceless. Before we knew it the game was underway. We cheered, we laughed, we sang, it was a great night to be a HAWKEYE!! I was so excited about all that has happened, I didn’t get to mention who the Hawkeyes were facing. Their opponent, the Michigan Wolverines. A top Big 10 team. Actually, my favorite team, but tonight I was a Hawkeye! They have done so much for us, I could convert! Shhh don’t tell anyone ;)! Anyways, the game began and the Wolverines won the first set. But that’s okay, the Hawkeyes were determined to come back with vengeance. So the Lady Hawkeyes got together, did their cheer and won the next set to tie up the game. Going into halftime, the set was was 1 to 1. During halftime, we saw the most amazing video by the lady hawkeyes department. The volleyball team was out at camp this summer, volunteering their time in some of the groups. They had such an amazing time visiting camp and were touched by all the campers they encountered. During there stay, they took a lot of video and interviewed a couple of campers. Well, they put that video together and we watched it during halftime. It was cherry on top of the sundae! It was an amazing video! After the video, they announced that we were in attendance and we so we stood and cheered! Thank you for the shout out Hawkeyes!!!
It was time for the second half and the Lady Hawkeyes came flying onto the court, figuratively! They were ready to regain the lead and so they did. They started the next set and blew Michigan out of the water. Finally we were on the last set, if the ladies pulled it off. The match was close and the ball was flying threw the air, back an forth. It was intense. Throughout the game, traveler Rick Malles caught all the balls that game that came our way. Thanks for saving the group Rick! In this set he kept on being the hero. We got to the end of the set and the game was nearly tied. But the lady Hawkeye, cheered their last time, and won the game!! The Hawkeyes ran onto the court and the travelers jumped for joy!! It was a great win by the hawkeyes.
After the game, the lady, came right over to the group and hugged each and every one of the travelers. It was such a special moment. A moment that the travelers will remember always. It was perfect end to a fun adventure with the Iowa Hawkeyes! After we hugged, the ladies stopped for signatures and we thanked Emily for all she did for our group.
After we calmed down, well, for that moment, we made our way back to our drop off locations. The travelers were still filled with excitement talking about it all the way home. They cheered, laughed, and thanked all of us for such a great time.
Thank you again to all the volunteers, travelers, and the Iowa Hawkeyes for making this Flash trip the best of all time! We will definitely be back to cheer on the Hawkeyes!