Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Tournament Time - Part 2

So, off to tournament #1 we went.  It was going to be a gorgeous day, but gorgeous also means sun and we were already at a disadvantage as we'd forgotten to grab an umbrella for the trip--which would have been more necessary with rain but helpful for shielding the sun.  That was a mistake we will hopefully never make again.

We pulled the wagon up to the team tent area and tried to settle in a bit.  In case you've never done the tournament thing, each team has their tent headquarters that parents can leave their stuff in and kids can raid the snack table between games.  Unfortunately there's not a lot of shade under the tents since there's so many people wandering in and out, so it's really just a home base of sorts.  But every team has one and it's pretty amazing to look out over the property and see so many tents full of players and supportive family.  This particular tournament was at a sports facility with a large main building.  There was a bathroom (about 5-6 stalls) and a snack bar.  The only other bathrooms were two port-a-potties at the other end of the property, a good 5+ minute walk (maybe longer with a four-year-old).  Our tent was slightly closer to the port-a-potties, but on the main drag back to the building.  The van was just beyond the main building, so again, a good walk from where we were.

Anyway, we sunscreened up, said hi to some parents, and eventually made sure Jacob was ready to go for game #1.  We settled in our chairs, and at that point it was still cool enough when the sun went behind clouds that you were comfortable in a hoodie.  They lost the first game and we retreated to the tent to fuel up.  After a short break we were back at it, and this time lost a pretty sizable lead to another Rochester travel team (one that includes a couple of his house teammates) and lost in the last minute or two.  That was a heartbreaker.  Back to the tent we went, this time for what seemed like a bit longer.  By now I was reapplying sunscreen as it was clear the sun would show no mercy.

In the midst of all this we had Carter needing to pee every half hour at most, thanks to all the water and Powerade he was drinking.  Each trip involved a long walk and usually a line to wait in, which isn't great when you have a kid who likes to wait until the last minute to go.  It was pretty exhausting, to be honest, to trek all the way to a bathroom, wait in line, and then deal with a hot (and no doubt smelly, but clearly that's not an issue for me) stall. 

At some point around that time we realized that Craig missed out on the sign-up for the food--it was through an app he was having trouble downloading, and somehow I dropped off the email list so I knew nothing about anything.  We had some stuff for Jacob anyway since he can't eat a lot of kid sports standards, but I felt a little bad about the whole thing.  We'll rectify it next time.  Jacob mostly made do with trail mix and fruit, along with a sandwich from our stash.

Game number three was better, this time a great win.  Of course, the slight complication of that was we knew a win would probably put us into our fourth game of the day.  By this point we were tired, a little hungry (the snack bar line was long, we didn't want to eat the team food, and our stuff only got us so far), and feeling the sunburn.  We'd had enough of Carter's potty runs and there was only so much conversation we had the energy to have around the tent--not that Jacob wanted us around anyway!

So, while we waited more than two hours for our last game assignment, Craig took Carter to the arcade in the main building to let him play a game.  Shortly after I happened to be checking my phone when he called me and said he couldn't find Carter.  He was getting change and Carter was right behind him, and suddenly he was gone.  I calmly freaked out and started wandering down that way, and halfway there I ran into a woman who was holding Carter's hand, and he instantly ran to me.  He had been wandering IN THE PARKING LOT near the building.  I thanked her profusely and tried to figure out what happened.  I think he just forgot what Craig was doing, lost sight of him, and didn't really know what else to do but wander.  We went over some guidelines for the future after that--find a mom with kids to help you, yell for us, etc.  And the next day, as we were unloading the van, I climbed in and 10 seconds later I hear Carter screaming for me.  He was a couple vans down, clueless to the fact I was in the open back of the van.  So bad news, short memory; good news, he yelled this time.  Oh, and we also ran into that woman a while later when Carter had to pee again, and was having such a hissy fit about having to go that the woman at the front of the line let us go.  The woman who found him probably wondered what kind of disaster parent-kid combo we were!

Needless to say, that long break started to get to us.  Bored kid, hot weather, long wait, sunburn, and a lack of desire to walk to the van to replenish our supplies all sort of wore us out.  At one point Carter had a complete meltdown because I wouldn't let him finish drying his hands.  He loves hand dryers in public bathrooms, but he was messing around with it and taking too long, and people needed to dry their hands so I dragged him out of there.  He had a full 5-10 minute meltdown about it, constantly trying to run back and do it, to the point I had to carry him back to our spot kicking and screaming.  That pretty much encompasses where we were by then.  So by the time we sat down for game number four more than seven hours after we got there, I couldn't wait for it to be done.  Luckily the boys put in a good showing and demolished a team that's a year older than them, so that was a nice way to end.  But as soon as it was over, we were out of there!

We had evening plans, after all!  After all of the years working in hockey, Craig had a friendship with someone at the Syracuse Crunch.  They just happened to be in the Calder Cup Finals, somewhere the Amerks haven't been since 2000, when I was an intern and Craig was in his first season.  We ended up getting tickets for Game 5, so after some cleanup at the hotel and a quick dinner, we were off to the game!  Sitting in a cool arena was a bit of a change compared to the hot sun all day!  We were exhausted, but we figured we'd enjoy what we could.  It has also been a while since our last hockey game, to the point I'm not sure Carter even remembers going to a game.

We had listened to Game 4 in the car the previous night, and I was excited to hear some familiar names--namely two kids of players I watched when I was first into hockey.  One of them was the son of former Sabre Mike Peca, playing for the Crunch, and the other was the son of the player that officially started my hockey obsession, Pierre Turgeon.  Once we got to the game, it made me smile that from a distance, with his five o'clock shadow and all of his equipment on, he looked a lot like his dad!

The Crunch scored in the first minute, then added four more before the end of the first period!  Carter fell asleep early in the game and ended up sleeping on Craig and me for an hour or so.  He woke up and seemed to be in better spirits.  We enjoyed watching the game, but between a nagging headache I had and a looming early wake-up the next morning, we left a little bit into the third period.  It was a gorgeous evening, but we had to get right back to the hotel and get to bed.  I slept a lot better that night, but we had to be up before 6am in order to get to the field by 7am, so it still wasn't quite enough!

We got to the next tournament pretty much on time, and before almost anyone else, which got us great parking!  It was already getting rather warm and sunny, as the high temp for the day was around 90!  The boys had three games that day, and I spent most of them just wishing we could rush through so my skin would stop burning in the sun!  Despite lots of sunscreen, my arms and shoulders got pretty toasty the previous day, so getting back out in the sun was the last thing I needed! 

Fortunately, the boys played three really great games.  They even got a shutout in one game and only let in three goals total.  They scored a bunch, and even Jacob got in on the action.  Believe it or not, we sort of lost count (partly due to some weird officiating), but we think he ended up with four goals and a few assists!  Overall, it was a great day...

In between games, the coach did an interesting devotional, part of which included having the kids count up from 1, one at a time, without overlapping each other.  It was clearly impossible, and I think the ultimate lesson is that doing something on your own is tough, but it gets much easier with guidance and teamwork.  It makes us feel good to see Jacob getting these kind of lessons in the middle of his lacrosse world, as that's probably the best way to reach him.

It was so hot!  Carter was kicking back and enjoying his slushie!

Quick family (spectators) picture while we waited for game #3

Jacob in front of the net holding up his stick to block the goalie
The great news is that the team won their age group in the tournament!  It was great to see the boys get rewarded for their great day after the tough start the previous day. 
Team photo with their championship shirts (Jacob is in the back row on the right next to the coach)

They're #1!

We grabbed some lunch and stopped quickly at Mary's apartment nearby so I could return the umbrella she accidentally left in my car last month.  We chatted for a few minutes, but we were definitely eager to get back home and get a few things done before another busy week.  I drove home while the boys slept, and I was very relieved to get home and settle back in.

It's been quite the beginning to the week, but more on that another day.  One tournament down, three more to go...

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