There was another cookout at the Kucks 10 days ago.
For the fourth or fifth straight year, North volleyball coach Chad Kuck and his wife made breakfast for 14 girls before the annual Sheboygan County Tournament.
“It’s a really long day,” Kuck said. “You don’t get a break at all. You get like a half-hour lunch period but you actually play seven matches back to back – if you make it to the championship. My wife (Stacie) wanted to do something so we knew the girls were getting a good breakfast before that long day, so we decided to do it at our house.”
Not that Kuck minds.
He says he loves to grill and smoke food outside as a way to get his mind off coaching, so this was not a hassle.
“Oh no, I love it,” he said.
So does his German shepherd.
One year, the coach was making pancakes and trying to do two other things at the same time.
“Every time I would put one on the plate, I’d go back and try to make another one and I was always missing one,” Kuck said. “Every time I’d turn, she would grab it and run off. I wouldn’t notice. So she probably got like four before I actually realized she was stealing one at a time off the plate.”
Kuck does most of the cooking the night before and then wakes up between 4:30-5:00 Saturday morning to continue.
There’s four dozen eggs, three pounds of bacon and three more of sausage to go with yogurt and granola.
The highlight, however, is the protein pancakes: pancake batter with powdered protein.
“The protein pancakes are one of the team’s favorites,” senior Hope Sholten said. “Everyone looks forward to that most of the year.”
Kuck says he has never burned anything or heard any bad reviews from his squad.
“Not that they’ve told me,” he said. “They’ve been very polite about it. I’m sure they’ve hid it and given it to my dog.”
Kuck’s wife – he calls her the coordinator of the event – helps if something needs to be baked and gets the tables ready with blue and yellow cups and tablecloth.
The girls arrive around 6:45 and eat outside in the driveway.
However, at least three bees were not invited this year.
“As you’re eating, they were constantly on our food or by our drinks,” senior Natalie Dulmes said. “We were all scared that we were going to get stung.”
The neighbor’s dog – the size of a horse, according to Sholten – also put a scare into some of the players.
“It’s massive,” she said. “It peeks it’s head over the fence and we’ll go by it. Half of our team is afraid of dogs, so it’s a funny experience.”
Dulmes was not scared and calls herself a dog lover.
“I thought it was cute,” she said.
After breakfast, another tradition is for the team to walk to the tournament at South since the Kucks live less than two blocks away.
The girls also had to bring the traveling championship trophy with them since North won the title the previous two years.
“It’s kind of fun, because we get a lot of cars honking at us and stuff like that,” Kuck said. “Everyone kind of knows what’s going on because we’ve been doing it so many years in a row.”
North advanced to the semifinals this year – Howards Grove took first – and maybe it was because the girls did not eat all of their breakfast and left some leftovers.
“I have a son that’s a freshman on the South football team that really enjoyed them,” Kuck said.
The Sheboygan County Junior Varsity Volleyball Tournament Oct. 5 does more than decide a champion.
It is also a fundraiser, with the proceeds this year going to Mark and Bonnie Schultz.
Bonnie discovered she had breast cancer in 1996 and has been battling the disease ever since.
Her husband, Mark, is a former freshman volleyball coach at North.
Donations in the form of money, gift cards or raffle baskets are being accepted.
To help, call Stacie Kuck at (920) 226-1271 or send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.