- Did you remember to pack a book to read in the hotel room between games?
- I wonder if he really thought about the consequences before punching that guy in front of the ref?
- Can you believe he wore a red helmet when his team colours are orange and blue?
- Maybe you should order a salad with that instead of fries.
- I waved at you from the stands, did you see me?
- Check this out! There’s a sale at Williams and Sonoma! Wanna go?
- Are you going to listen to your iPod all the way to Toronto?
At the time, these all seemed sensible questions or comments to me. I have since learned, however they should either be texted in private or not even uttered (insert sad emoticon here).
Not long ago, out-of-town hockey tournament weekends were a family event for us. During the 2009-10 hockey season, however our 3 kids participated in a total of 10 tournaments averaging about 3 each. Five of these tournaments involved hotel stays out-of-town. As the kids get older, they are no longer content to sacrifice their own busy hockey and social schedules deferring to that of the tournament child, so we now travel alone. The parent left behind must contend with the busy home schedule and the travelling parent gets to fork out hundreds of dollars for uncomfortable beds, bad food and paper thin walls. These miseries are all initially alleviated by substantial amounts of alcohol, but that too eventually leads to another traditional hockey tournament weekend legacy. Hockey tournaments all seem to start on Friday, so they also involve vacation days off work or school so the impact is felt even deeper than the wallet or the hangover; there’s just a lot of catching up to do on Monday.
Nevertheless, ask any professional hockey player his favourite childhood hockey memory, and he will no doubt reminisce, “The away-tournament weekend”. I am sure my kids, though not destined to be professional hockey players, will also one day recall these unforgettable weekends among their most cherished memories…perhaps even the fact that I was there to share it.
Go Team Go!