The Wife

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When you propose to your wife in your office and then head off to practice with your team, that’s called dedication and trouble all in the same moment. Thank god for George Sourlis his wife NIKIE loves him and Rumson basketball.  Because that’s exactly  how George Sourlis proposed to his wife and a few hours later Mrs. Sourlis was at the high school showing off her new ring to her extended family; the RFH girls’ basketball team.

Nikie Sourlis has been with George though the good times and the rough times and she would not trade it in for one second. When she met George Sourlis on a blind date in 1990, little did she know, less than a year later they would be married? Little did she know after the wedding, she would drive back to the high school and the Rumson team would be THERE waiting for her and cheering wildly. But what really touched her and brought a belly laugh was when the newly married couple left to attend the reception, rather than go home, the uninvited team followed them to the reception. The players sat outside on a brick wall peeking in like little children, trying to get a look at what they were missing inside.  Inviting the team to the reception was a line even George Sourlis would not cross with his future wife and family. There are simply a few things in life that even a great basketball coach must accept, you can’t do as a team… and a wedding reception is at the top of the list.  But his team was not about to let him celebrate his marriage without them…. invited or not invited! They wanted to see a reception and that’s just what they did…KIDS!

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Nikie smiles when talking about how two of the Sourlis children were born in December, right in the middle of the season. For most coaches and their wives this would not be a problem, the Head Coaches misses the game and the asst coach takes over. Well George and Nikie are not most people. When the children were born, the team bus simply met George at the hospital, picked him up and off he went to his game…BOTH TIMES. You see Mrs. Sourlis has seen and it all and she chuckles when thinking about those days.  She understands her husband’s dedication and commitment to her “extended family”. She thinks of the RFH players as her children.” The girls used to babysit our children and now we go to their weddings and they bring their children to our house.” She talks how when her children were little, they would go to games and she would cover their ears when the crowd got too loud. She talks about the Mission night, when the girls paper towel their home and she loves it. It brings the team together and is a way to show Coach Sourlis they are a family. That is except for the one night Chrissy Fisher got thrown in a police car because they thought she was vandalizing the house. Thank god the family was out at a local restaurant and the police called Coach Sourlis. Those were the fun days and they are seared in her mind forever. She knows being the wife of a basketball coach is not easy. She talks of how Coach Sourlis sometimes wants to talk all night after a tough lost or big win. She says “his sleeping patterns change during the season. She gets all that, but its par for the course the past 23 years! She met George in his 5th year of coaching. She has followed the fire trucks after a sectional title. She loves the tradition of the fire trucks leading the RFH team back into town whenever they win a title. The players hanging on the truck laughing for joy, she has never been on the truck after a sectional title and doesn’t plan to anytime soon. She likes the view fine from her car and its PRICELESS

Mrs. Sourlis has seen her husband’s passion; “his dedication, watching film, scouting and getting his team prepared” and she understands this is important to him. He wants to touch the lives of these girls and make them feel special. She says” he is not around for Holidays to put up the X-mass tree or help with the shopping and she’s fine with that. She knows they have two families and nothing makes her happier than knowing this! It’s the journey the two have taken together and its this, which has made the trip so much fun and she hopes it’s never ends. Every year the morning of the first day of practice “he kisses me and says I will see you in APRIL” I look forward to that kiss every year”

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