Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Good as Gold

Over the weekend we took a little trip north of the border so Craig could get his fifth (!) championship ring.  It was the last official weekend of his offseason, and we loaded in the car on Saturday after Jacob's lacrosse game to get a little head start on the trip and spend the night in Buffalo.  We thought cutting an hour-plus off the driving on Sunday was a good plan, because it was a long round trip for two kids.  Of course, Carter was a bit thrown off by his nap on the drive, so we had a challenge getting him back to sleep...and in turn it made it harder to get Jacob to sleep.  Still, worth it!

We left mid-morning and headed across the border.  We stopped at a Pizza Pizza location off the exit to get Jacob's backup food for the event (and get a little snack ourselves!), then headed off to the reserve.  Carter napped a bit on the way there, but probably not enough.  Oh, and did I mention that he was getting sick?  He'd had some congestion for a couple days and had enough eye goop that morning that we worried that he was getting pinkeye.  But this was important and he seemed functional enough, so off we went.

The event was held at the ILA, an arena complex on the reserve that's the home base for all of the major lacrosse happenings there.  The room we were in overlooks the arena itself, and it was set up very nicely.


One of the most important elements of this event was the book that Craig has been working on non-stop for a couple months.  It's a compilation of stories about every player and coach, as well as a lot of other support staff and lacrosse operations executives.  He worked on it day and night, knowing that he had to get the content done in time to get it printed and ready for this event.  The night marked the book's big reveal, and he got a lot of props for the end product.  He did a great job and it was nice to see people flipping through it and enjoying it, knowing how much he put into it.

We had a delicious meal (and yes, Jacob enjoyed his pizza), and then the formal activities started. There were things said about every player, and then the owner came up and spoke for quite a while, leading up to the big ring reveal.  No one was allowed to look at their ring until the appointed time.  Of course, I didn't really get to enjoy any of this because Carter did not want to sit still and absolutely insisted on wandering around for a couple hours straight.  I, unfortunately, had heels on, so my feet were killing me by the end of the night.  We mostly wandered around the upper level of the arena, where he could climb stairs and wander and run to his heart's content.  I had to be there to keep him from taking a header, and try to keep him from sharing his germs with the other kids with the same idea. 

Luckily, there were windows back into the room so I could see when it was close to ring time.  I dragged Carter back in and whipped out the camera just in time to catch the boys opening the box...

And WOW, what a ring it was! 

They've gotten progressively larger, which you'll see in a minute.  It's always fun to see these guys checking the rings out for the first time, like kids on Christmas.  I caught a couple snapping pictures to tweet out and laughed at the site of all these guys wearing these ginormous rings like proud parents.

I missed the full explanation of all of the features on the ring and what they represent, though I do know that my birthstone is there, as are the kids'.  It's a gorgeous ring, though.

Jacob just really wanted to go play on the turf the whole time, and was actually really patient, all things considered.  Finally near the end of the event we started moving in that direction, but we still needed to kill a little time.  Carter played with part of the table decoration...

Jacob gave me this face when I wanted to give him equal camera time...
Notice him clutching his play clothes...
And I looked for Craig's face on the one wall decoration...

...and I found it!  Jacob actually found another later in the "D", too.

The one "glitch" with Jacob's desire to play on the turf was that the arena was actually dark...

Of course, it did not matter.  He had a blast for the few minutes we had.

Just as we were ready to leave, the owner indicated that he wanted to sit and chat with Craig for a bit, so I did my best to keep the kids occupied for a bit longer while cleanup was going on, and eventually it was time to go.  It had been snowing all day, though there wasn't much accumulation, but it made for a slower trip home than we would have liked.  It continued to snow just about until we got to Buffalo.  Jacob was awake for most of the trip (he fell asleep in the last few minutes) but Carter conked out almost immediately.  He had a few whiny wake-ups along the way, but slept pretty much the entire time.  We got home around 9:30 and had a tough time getting both kids to settle and get back to sleep.  It had been a LONG day.  Good, mostly, but long.

Anyway, just to finish this off, here's a closer look at the top of the ring...

There are some other elements on the side, including his name and the areas with the birthstones.  And here's a look at all three together.  I guess with each big win, a bigger ring is needed...

It's hard to do them justice, but definitely lots of bling going on here.  He's also got two more that I didn't have easy access to--his 2007 Knighthawks ring and his 2008 Rattlers ring.  He's now got a literal handful of rings, which barely seemed possible back in 2006 when I left the teams (ringless, of course) and we'd had a lot of great teams with nothing to show for it.  Perhaps I was the bad luck, but I'm just happy that he's gotten to experience all of this and I've been able to come along for the ride.  It's been fun to share the last few with the kids, too.  I have great memories from each one, from the adventures I've gone on to be there for the win, to watching the home crowd celebrate, to fantastic comebacks and seeing the looks on the kids' faces when they experience everything from the cup to the confetti!  It may get a little more "normal", but it never gets old.

Anyway, it's always fun to celebrate another championship.  And the road to another one starts this weekend with the opening of training camp.  I'm not sure I'm ready for all of the solo weekends again, but here goes nothing...

No comments: