I will admit that I wasn't as excited as Max. It was an expensive tournament that involved a road trip...on a bus...with 30 other people. Road trips are not my favorite, might go back to 6th grade when we did a family "driving" vacation. We were driving across the desert, the air conditioning had broke the day before, it was over 100 degrees and my brother was laying over the top of the seat (this was before we wore seat belts) moaning in my face, "I need Agua. I need AGUA", over and over again. Good lord, give the kid a glass of water already because I still hear his voice clearly 35 years later when I get in a car!
Did I mention that I also "sometimes" get car sick (yes, it happened and it sucked)? And, although I knew to some extent, it quickly became abundantly clear that I am someone who should be part of the planning and not just following the pack OR I need to get a prescription for Xanax if I don't.
But this is Max's last year of association hockey. I have a small panic attack whenever I think of that because it means that his childhood is coming to an end. YES, I know he's 15 but he started association hockey when he was 4 so in my "head" it is still part of his childhood. It is another milestone and I want to be there for every second of it.
So, we boarded a bus last Thursday morning for three days of hockey. We played New York, California, Toronto and Michigan. They did a lot of homework on the bus, a little sight seeing around town, ate some Chicago Deep Dish (my personal fav Giordano's Spinach!! If you go to Chicago it is a MUST eat.) and most importantly became a team in every sense of the word.
Because we were on a bus and together pretty much the entire time, I had a LOT of time to observe. The coolest thing I noticed was that boys weren't attached to one person or clique, they all worked the room basically. They were supportive and respectful of each other AND they used their manners. I heard please and thank you without prompting and saw doors being held without a second thought. I saw a bunch of boys who showed heart on and off the ice and it made me proud to be a hockey Mom.
I also got to see what our coaches were made of and I was completely impressed. They had a system in place for the weekend. They helped the boys with their homework, knew when to be a friend and when to be a coach and admitted when they made mistakes. During some tough games they taught the boys how to dig deep and see what they were made of. They held them accountable without the boys even realizing it. No easy task with a bunch of hormone driven teenagers. My hat is off to them.
At the end of the weekend, we found ourselves tied for first in pool play but didn't advance because of tournament tie-breaker rules. We were ONE goal away from moving on to the championship round!! If you want to read the full story, we were featured here.
If this first tournament was a taste of what the season has in store, I think it might be something special.