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These days, sports for children have become so competitive and intense that the fun and benefits are disappearing. Children are losing interest after a couple of years and their physical activity diminishes as they focus more on sedentary activities such as computer games and television.

As a way to combat this and bring back that good, old-fashioned mentality of get up, go, and be the best you can be, we founded the Bouncing Bunch. As children, we grew up in a sports centric family. Lynn and Ericka, the founders of The Bouncing Bunch, also have a brother, and all three siblings were scholarship athletes. This didn’t happen overnight and the grueling times of the hyper competitive environment they were released into, was buffered by their mother’s love and devotion to bringing a concept to life.

This concept was a pillow that she personified and called Vollie. This is our story.

One afternoon after a long tennis practice our mother brought home 3 very frustrated children. One was struggling with their forehand, the other had complaints about their serve, and finally, the third was frustrated because not yet being of age to participate in tennis like her brother and sister, she was stuck watching them play for hours and hours. During the ride home, our mother had many thoughts of what she wanted to tell her children of how they could improve on certain areas of their tennis game to ease these frustrations of bad forehands and shoddy serving, but she knew with the level of aggravation they were currently combatting, they would simply view this as nagging and it would cause more harm than good. Juggling around ideas in her head, she decided she needed to bring a motivational figure into their lives that they would all be enamored by.

After we went to bed, she pulled out some yellow fabric, wrapped it around a round pillow, sewed felt eyes onto it, and some big, red lips. She called her Vollie and from that moment on, Vollie became our mentor, friend, and confidant.

Waking up that morning to our breakfast, we noticed there was another member sitting at our kitchen table. Our mother and father played it coy and waited for us to inquire. Sure enough, the questions/statements began to spew out of all of us. “What is that? Why is it at the table? It looks like a tennis ball.” Our mother sat back and smiled and when we were finished she began to tell us the journey of Vollie. She said when she was sleeping last night there was a knock on the door. As she opened it, Vollie introduced herself and told her she was here to help 3 great little athletes improve on their tennis game. She said there were certain rules involved in how Vollie helped out and if we obeyed to them, Vollie would come to life in the middle of the night, and leave a reward under our pillow at the end of each week. She also explained to us that if we didn’t do the things Vollie had set forth, it would make her very sad and she would have to leave and find other children in need that really wanted her help and were willing to listen. This was a monumental day for all of us as the gears in our little minds slowly changed from tennis developing into a beast of burden, to suddenly tennis becoming the best thing that ever happened to us.

The desire to impress our new magical friend with the best performance we had began to grow. The sheer thought of letting Vollie down after her long travels and strategically picking the three of us as her children to help was something we could not bare. A new pride set in within the three of us. We would not let Vollie down! As we sat in our seats around that kitchen table, eyeing our mother, then Vollie, back again at our mother, eyes wide, mouths gaping with excitement and anticipation we knew that our lives would forever be changed.

She explained that Vollie had a long journey, but starting that afternoon she would relay to them what Vollie had told her was important to their success as athletes. That was one of the hardest days for us at school. We couldn’t wait to get home to hear what Vollie had to say. As we raced in the door off the school bus, we hammered our mother with questions around Vollie.

We have taken this story that was given to us as children and developed it into a business we now call The Bouncing Bunch where we are making sports magical as they were made to us. We have also written a children’s book that was a collaborative family effort. It will be available as an e-book in the spring of 2014 and it will take your child/children on the magical journey of our soccer character, Striker, and his mentee.

The three of us will never forget Vollie and her magical help, rewards that were so special to us, and the increased enjoyment and success we had in athletics. This taught us discipline, self-respect, the desire to be the best we could be, and an indestructible work ethic that carried into our performance at school and eventually into our professional careers.

There is no child that can’t excel at some type of sport or physical activity if the approach set before them is right. We love athletics in our family and want to give back to others what we have gained. Athletics have taught us invaluable lessons and shaped us into the people we are today. We hope you enjoy these guys as much as we enjoyed our Vollie.