My family (including my in-laws) spent last week vacationing at the Massanutten Resort in McGaheysville, Virginia.

The resort offered a lot of different scheduled activities and events throughout the week. Some were free and others cost money.

Last Thursday, my son (Ethan), my brother-in-law (Reco) and I decided to participate in a Madden Xbox tournament. I had never played in a Madden tournament so I thought it would be a fun experience. Ethan was especially excited about it because we had recently started playing Madden 2015 again after not playing for 5-6 months. We’re both big NFL fans and we took our Xbox One with us on vacation.

The tournament was free so we had nothing to lose. I just didn’t want to have some kids wipe the floor with us. Our goal was to win at least one game.


I have no idea why they picked a game that was nearly 5 years old.

We showed up about thirty minutes before the tournament was scheduled to start so we could get signed up and find out about the rules. To our surprise, we were told that we would be playing Madden 2010 and that we had to team up with a partner.

Ethan signed us up as the Big Red Blobs. I’m a Western Kentucky University graduate and our mascot, Big Red, looks like a big red blob.

I quickly got online to find out what teams were good in Madden 2010. Ethan and I agreed that we would use the San Diego Chargers because they had LaDainian Tomlinson (awesome running back), Antonio Gates (I love passing to tight ends) and a good defense. We almost went with the New England Patriots because they had Randy Moss (when he broke the season receiving touchdown record). We also decided against our Minnesota Vikings because they sucked in this game (it was right before they signed Brett Favre).

There were a total of 32 teams (64 players) participating in the single elimination tournament. We were to play 2:00 minute quarters and each person would play for an entire half (total of 4 minutes).

Here’s a recap of our four games:

Game 1:


Here’s Ethan dominating our opponent in one of our games.

Opponent: Pittsburgh Steelers

Final Score: Chargers (7), Steelers (3)


  • Ethan played the first half and shut out our opponent
  • Our opponent kicked a field goal in the 3rd quarter (score was 3-0)
  • I threw a 70-yard touchdown pass with Philip Rivers to Vincent Jackson with 8 seconds left in the game (after a kid behind me said “this game is over”)

Game 2:

Opponent: Pittsburgh Steelers

Final Score: Chargers (14), Steelers (8)


  • Ethan played the first half and shut out our opponent again
  • I recovered a fumble in the 2nd half on our 12-yard line and then scored a touchdown (score was 7-0)
  • Our opponent scored a touchdown with 10 seconds left in the game (score was 7-8)
  • I returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown with Darren Sproles as time expired (final score was 14-8)

Game 3 (Semi-Finals):

Opponent: Philadelphia Eagles (my brother-in-law’s team)

Final Score: Chargers (17), Eagles (7)


  • Ethan played the first half and shut out our opponent yet again
  • Ethan threw two touchdown passes to Chris Chambers (score was 14-0 at halftime)
  • Our opponent scored a touchdown in the 3rd quarter (score was 14-7)
  • I was able to hold the ball and run down the clock
  • I kicked a field goal with time expiring (final score was 17-7)

Game 4 (Championship Game):

Opponent: Arizona Cardinals

Final Score: Chargers (7), Cardinals (0)


  • Ethan played the first half and shut out our opponent (for the fourth time)
  • I scored a touchdown at some point in the 3rd quarter (score was 7-0)
  • As I was attempting to run out the clock in the 4th quarter, I ripped off a 50-yard run with LaDainian Tomlinson where he broke 5-6 tackles.
  • I was able to hold the ball and run out the clock

We won the whole tournament!

It was pretty amazing. Ethan did not allow a single point in his 8 quarters of play. I was blown away because he didn’t have that much experience playing Madden.

The most amazing thing was that he got over some anxiety about playing in a video game tournament with kids and adults that he didn’t know.

I was so proud of the way he handled himself.

While we didn’t win a trip to Disney World, we did get two $10 gift cards to the resort’s arcade and two free entrees at their restaurant.

We took advantage of the free meals and game cards the next afternoon. Ethan won enough tickets to get a foam football (that we played with in the pool), some playing cards and a couple little parachute men for his brother and sister.


We’re going to Disney World!!! No? We’re going to the Runaway Lounge and Crazy Jim’s Arcade!

The Madden tournament was my highlight for the week. We had a blast.

It’s something we’ll both remember forever.

2 Responses

  1. Jake P

    awesome. After the nail-biters in the first couple of rounds, the championship almost sounded easy!

    • Jay Lane

      You’re absolutely right, Jake. The first two games required a little last-second luck. It all made for a fun story for my son (and for me).


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.