For the past 8 years BAM Jam has been a co-ed event that welcomes participants of all ages and abilities, making it an ideal opportunity to get the whole family involved. The Allen and Sailors families have taken full advantage of this opportunity as both Chris Allen and Leah Sailors compete every year with their families.
For the Allens, Chris’s brother, Corey, comes to town from Spokane to take part in the tournament, and his wife and children also often compete in their respective age groups. With the Sailors, Leah competes on the women’s side and also has children who participate.
We had the pleasure of speaking with Chris and Leah about their BAM Jam experiences and learn more about the basketball families!
Chris annually competes in 3 on 3 tournaments all over the northwest. In his opinion, BAM Jam is tied with Spokane’s Hoopfest as his favorite due to its “family oriented feel and atmosphere” as well as the high level of organization. The family feel does not take away from the talent that is present at the BAM Jam tournaments, as Boise is home to some of the best 3 on 3 competitors in the region. A great example comes from 2008 when Boise teams accounted for three of the teams in the Elite 8 at Hoopfest, which is the biggest 3 on 3 tournament in the world. It is impossible to deny that “the 208 has some hoopers”.
Leah first got involved with BAM Jam by invitation of one of her City League teammates and has been a force to be reckoned with ever since, winning multiple summer and spring tourneys. She has also been a pivotal part of recruiting more women to participate each year, which has not been a simple task. Every year circumstances change that effect women’s participation. “Women get married, have children and they usually have to take a couple years off from playing to take care of their kids. Some girls never end up coming back.” These factors affect Leah’s team every year, but she remains a constant competitor.
Both Leah and Chris have kids that participate in BAM Jam as well, which is a blessing and a curse of sorts for Leah. “Watching my kids play is way more stressful for me because I feel helpless coaching and yelling from the sidelines compared to playing and being able to have more control.” Leah states, “but it’s definitely worth it because I love watching my [two] girls play and learn the game and improve.”
Chris enjoys watching his sons participate and is “thankful to have kids to pass the torch to.” His two boys definitely have their dad’s competitive spirit, though he’s pretty certain that he still has them beat. Says Chris, “I’m one of the most competitive people on the planet but my boys run a close second and third.”
BAM Jam has provided a great opportunity for Chris and Leah to get together with family over the summer. Chris and his brother have been playing side by side for about 25 years and have experienced countless victories and defeats together. The outcome has never been the important part to Chris as he genuinely enjoys competing alongside Corey, stating that when he competes in tournaments alone it’s never quite the same. He even goes as far as to play in two separate brackets every year so that he can compete with his 6-foot and over elite team and with his brother in the 6 foot under elite. Their whole family makes the trip from Spokane to Boise to watch the 3-on-3 tournament, though lately it seems that the kids have stolen the show. “They (family) don’t watch me or my brother anymore, they come down to watch my boys and I am definitely ok with that.”
BAM Jam is the perfect venue for the Allen and Sailors families to get together and enjoy each other.
What about you? Do you compete or come to watch your family play?
We’ll see you this weekend!