Sully Says: Uekman Tourney

I wish I had known Garrett Uekman better. I do remember that Friday night, when Garrett was a young star for the Rockets, he made a couple of huge plays. I got the highlights back about 9 pm, and spent the next 45 minutes calling all my Catholic high connections in an attempt to find out how his last name was pronounced. I don't know what I went with but " Youk-man" is probably a possibility.

Garrett was on his way to becoming a great college player, when he died suddenly due to an enlarged heart. We lost Garrett a day after he helped the Hogs beat Mississippi St. at his home stadium, War Memorial stadium. Garrett was just 19 years old.{}

Thanks to his family and friends, a lot more people know about Garrett and his heartbreaking story. The first Garrett Uekman foundation 7 on 7 tourney was a big success . I wish I could name all the volunteers. I do know that Chris Monroe handled the twitter updates and Michelle Miller sent updates via email . Everywhere I looked Friday at War Memorial, there were people in red shirts , reminders of Garrett. {}His high school coaches, {}relatives and {}friends. Garrett had some great friends.

It was Garrett's buddies who came up with the idea for a 7 on 7 tourney at Garrett's home stadium. {}They had {}four goals heading into this event. They wanted to raise money for the foundation, support heart disease research, continue Garrett's legacy, and put on a great event. Mission accomplished.

What made this tourney unique is that it featured kids from 5th to 12th grade. 7 on 7 tourneys are usually reserved for high school teams. {}Garrett would have loved our first highlight from Friday's action. A kid ,with a tight end build from Holy Souls, worked his way into the middle of the field. {}As the ball was thrown, three defenders converged on this wabbit and bang !!! He got hit just as the ball arrived, but{}held onto the ball. {}I didn't see him as a junior high player, but I was thinking, that's the way a young Garrett Uekman played.

Garrett's mom , Michelle, put it best when she said " It's hard to give up on Garrett's hopes and dreams and what he hoped to accomplish, but this is a step in the right direction, channeling that into something positive." She went on to say that Garrett would be smiling down, seeing these young players learn 7 on 7, and knowing that his friends wanted to keep his memory alive. {}

The challenge now is to make the second annual Garrett Uekman foundation 7 on 7 Tourney bigger and better. One thing we plan to do at Channel {}7 is provide each player with a Garrett Uekman DVD. Young players who never saw Garrett play will see how Garrett approached life and football.{}

I learned Friday that Garrett approached everything football, basketball, school, fishing.. I could go on and on.... at full speed. {}I look forward to learning more about GU88 at next year's tourney.{}