Yeah, for starters, write your own code. You can get the same effects in just a few lines of JS.
You *could* use preload for all the images that don't appear on the front "page", so that when the user selects (example) "bowling" only then will it need all the bowling images and, in the meantime, you have preloaded them.
But another way to do this would be to load *ONE* image per category and use an image map. However, that won't let you achieve your cute trick of rotating the image a little when it is selected. You'd have to find some other equivalent way of highlighting the selections.
An optimist sees the glass as half full.
A pessimist sees the glass as half empty.
A realist drinks it no matter how much there is.