Since beginning work with the GCAA in October 2021, these last two Decembers have been whirlwind journeys traveling-wise. Both of those months presented unprecedented challenges for my colleagues and I, but this post will focus on my experiences this past December.
The month began in Las Vegas for the 2022 GCAA National Convention. This wasn't my second time attending both the convention and city, this time with more responsibility than the last. Through very long hours during a stretch of an entire week and vital teamwork among all staff members, we accomplished new heights in new spaces. Big things are coming for the sport and our association, and I'm thankful to all who continue supporting us.
After spending almost eight full days back in Oklahoma, I got to (safely) make it home to Michigan for some of the holidays! The weather outside was definitely frightening, but the views were exciting:) Very glad I was able to get out and capture them, many on Christmas Day itself.
I then flew out to Phoenix on December 26, one of a seemingly few who made it unscathed and with all of their luggage at the same time and place, to be an essential member of the 2022 Patriot All-America/inaugural Thunderbolt invitationals. Due to airline and weather issues, I along with two of our traveling interns ended up being the lone representatives of the GCAA for the six-day trip. My main task was being an/the official photographer for the Thunderbolt, held at Sterling Grove Golf + Country Club in Surprise, AZ. "The Golf Course is a world-class (Jack) Nicklaus Design course, operated by the renowned Troon Golf Management Services and designed to be enjoyed by golf enthusiasts and newcomers alike." Hope you loved the content I captured as much as I and social media did!
Before taking the rental car, myself, and my luggage to the airport to head back to Oklahoma on 01/01/2023, I made an afternoon seeing Phoenix's main professional stadiums, including State Farm Stadium (NFL's Cardinals), Chase Field (MLB's Diamondbacks), and Footprint Center (WNBA's Mercury and NBA's Suns). State Farm Stadium was the home of the CFP Semifinal at the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl, a classic 51-45 victory for TCU over previously-undefeated Michigan. I found a couple of keepsakes as I walked around the exterior of the stadium, one that will be hosting Super Bowl LVII in one month's time. Even though it was chilly (per Arizona standards) and wet for much of the week, I had a great time in my second-ever trip to the Patriot All-America!