On the way to the game in the limo, that's when the nerves started setting in. To be honest, my nerves are far better now than they used to be. I mean, when you've never won one and you're on the verge, there is nothing you want more. Now that we've won a couple, I still really want to win, but it's different and for whatever reason the butterflies are not nearly as bad. I remember the championship game in Phoenix when I was questioning my lunch choice and couldn't even think about food once we were at the game. This time I downed a piece of pizza, a couple wings, and some chips and salsa in the middle of the game! Still, I was nervous and eager for the game to start.
I sat in a suite with some of the staff, and this was our view...
The arena was small but fairly new and pretty nice. No frills, really, but nice enough. It wasn't very bright, though, and the folks watching back home were complaining on Facebook about how dark it was! It held about 5,000 people. The Knighthawks actually had a pretty good contingent considering the circumstances of playing on the other side of the country with a week's notice (and expensive plane tickets). Some of their fans were local Native Americans there to support the many Natives on the team. There were quite a few family members and staff, as well, and we were a pretty vocal group. The Stealth obviously still had the numbers advantage, but I'd have to guess that a lot of the fans there were local lacrosse fans excited to see the NLL Championship game in their town, as opposed to a full throng of die-hards from Everett, where the team is normally based. They were loud, but they weren't rowdy like you'd expect for the biggest game of the year.
Early on the game was close, but the Knighthawks scored a number of goals in a row to take a big lead. By early in the second quarter, things were looking good as the Knighthawks had a 7-3 lead. But Washington came back and suddenly it was tied. The Knighthawks had a resurgence by the end of the half, however, and the score was 10-7 at halftime. Washington scored two goals in the third to make it 10-9, and the Knighthawks couldn't score to save their lives. After a great first half, I was starting to get nervous that this game might be heading for overtime. Fortunately, Rochester native Joe Walters scored early in the fourth quarter to break the drought temporarily, but it continued on after that as Washington scored again to bring it within one. The rest of the quarter was very tight, and as the seconds ticked down, we were all very nervous that one bad bounce could change everything. The Knighthawks managed to get the ball with less than 30 seconds left, which should have been ideal since the shot clock is 30 seconds long and we should have been able to kill that time off, but things happened and suddenly Washington got one last chance. That last shot pretty much gave us all a heart attack, but goalie Matt Vinc stopped it and the game was over! The Knighthawks won 11-10! They're the first back-to-back champions since Toronto beat us in 2003 when I was still working there. That was a rough game, but it's hard to believe that we've won three championships since!
Here are a few pictures from the postgame...
|The commissioner presenting the Champion's Cup|
|Local boy and game-winning goal scorer Joe Walters raising the Cup|
|Posing for the team photo...Craig is on the left|
|Mike Accursi and his wife and son (another Carter!)...I told his wife that he's not allowed to retire, since he's a lucky charm. He's been on all three championship teams, as well as another one with Buffalo!|
|The Dawson brothers--they got traded to the team the day we went to Montreal in December, and turned out to be great additions to the team. This was their first championship.|
|And yes, us...|
I had to be up before 4am for my trip home. It was cold and rainy. I hopped in the car a little after 4am and headed back to Seattle. Despite the rain and some wet roads, the trip wasn't bad. I kept myself awake and it was light well before 6am. The mountains were obscured, unfortunately, but Seattle was nice to drive through. I rushed through getting gas and dropping off my car, and got to my gate just as the first passengers were boarding. My flights were both fine. My connection was in Minneapolis, which was fun since the stores in the airport had a lot of moose, sports stuff, and some Peanuts items, all of which are popular things around our house. I kept myself occupied with attempts to sleep, composing a blog post, and staring out the window on my second leg. We had one bit of nasty turbulence, but otherwise the travel was pretty flawless. It was great to get back and see the kids, and after a little downtime, we headed home. Both boys slept most of the way and went to bed right when we got home, and Craig got home very late.
I have been exhausted the last two days. Really exhausted. I'm not surprised given the missed night of sleep, one short night of sleep, and the time change. But there's a lot to do now that I'm home so it's hard to get to bed early. I'm definitely glad I went--the game and the Chihuly stuff were both great--but I'll certainly think twice about doing a crazy trip like that again. I might still do it, but it's good food for thought. It's hard to be a responsible adult in a scenario like that (both because of having to pass off the kids and because the recovery is hard), but at the same time, it's fun to run off and do something fun and awesome without having kids to limit your options. That solo time is pretty rare these days, and the ability to see a lovely part of the world isn't too shabby either. Still, it's not an easy thing to manage and I know I was lucky in a lot of ways. For that reason I'll think twice, but it was a very special weekend and I'm glad I got to do it.
Oh, and we're definitely back to reality here. Jacob threw up at daycare today, though he's been okay but feeling crappy ever since. The jury's still out on what's going on. We also have a busy week of planning for Carter's Christening, all while Craig is off on a roadtrip later in the week. Never a dull moment here...never!