Friday, December 29, 2017

Olympic Spirit

Last week while mom was away we headed up to Lake Placid NY for a hockey tournament, and though I had reservations about going because of the expense and time away, we had a really good time. We always do, so I don't know why I'm such a wet blanket... actually, I do know, it's in my genes. Either way, I often have a bad attitude for anything that forces me to get off the couch, and I was a little bummed about the costs associated with weekend tournaments, but anything that costs more than $20 is going to make me whine.

I wasn't about to impede on the team experience with N's new teammates, however, mainly because I think they are some really cool dudes. I don't know the parents that well, being the new guy on the block, but I think he's jiving with his mates. They're pretty decen kids, despite being part of the affluent big-city intense demographic. More on this later. Anyway, we took a few days off and made the 3 hour drive; for the record, I wasn't thrilled about that, either. What a stick in the mud I am.

First off, the drive wasn't that bad, though we passed through a snowstorm, and it's a rather circuitous route to get there (blame Google Maps). There is nothing for the last 30 minutes of driving, so being the neurotic traveler that I am, I began to wonder if we were lost, though sure enough, as we got closer, there were signs telling us we were in the right place. The hotel we stayed at was really nice, much nicer than something I would have chosen, but we got a group rate, and it was walking distance to the rink, which is key. The food in the town wasn't that expensive, and they had a really nice variety of interesting choices. The hotel didn't come with breakfast, so I had to get creative. Finally, and most importantly, N hung out with his teammates and really jived with some of them, and I hung out with the dads and bonded over all sorts of topics. A win-win situation if there ever was one.

The teams in the tournament were all evenly matched, and N's team just missed playing in the final, where the team they beat won it all. It could just as easily have been them. They weren't too stressed about it, and they had fun grabbing pizza for lunch and hanging out in the hot tub and pool. I sat with the dads during games and we chatted about guy things like careers and lawn equipment. One of the selling points of the tournament was playing in the Olympic hockey rink where the Miracle on Ice took place, and I wasn't so impressed going into it, but in the end, it was pretty cool. I think the guys got a kick out of it. We also had a nice team supper where the players all sat together and got crazy while the parents sat together and talked about who knows what. It's always a little forced, though I've found the parents of this team to be very affable. The coaches sat with us and I bet they found us all to be a little stiff - they're younger (and single) than all of us by probably 20-25 years.

Breakfast was a bit of a challenge, but I managed to get out and pick up some breakfast burritos before his games. For supper we got burgers or Mexican food, though one day he had an early morning game and nothing was open at that hour. Of course this spoke loud and clear to my OCD, so I spent a few minutes walking up and down Main Street trying to come up with a plan. I'm a big believer in the importance of him having some food in his stomach before a game. I finally got some breakfast bagels with eggs, cheese, and sausage and some juice. I put them in the fridge and in the morning I nuked the bagels and they came out pretty darn good. Good enough to fuel a high performance athlete.

I purchased Olympic “passports” that allowed us to tour the Olympic facilities and see where all the events took place, and we did not go to a single one. N just hung out by the pool and with his buddies, and I stayed in the hotel and wrote, read, took naps, and watched TV. What a life.

On the last day they won their game but they were locked into third place and were not going to play in the final. I had mixed feelings, because I thought they could have beat any of the other teams and a championship medal would have been nice, but it was also nice to leave Lake Placid in the morning and get home before it was dark.

All in all we had a really nice time, and I'm glad we went. I think N had fun, and that's the most important thing, right?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Spicy Jellybean for the pic.

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