Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Tournament-Plus Trip, Days 4 & 5

Because Jacob's team did so well on Saturday, we didn't start playing until 1pm on Sunday.  The good news is that we had a lazy morning.  The bad news was it would be hotter and it would make for a late day getting on the road afterward.  Well, for everyone except us, maybe.  We'd sort of built in an extra buffer on our trip to either come home late Sunday and just stay home on Monday, or to tack on one extra day and make the most of being six hours away from home.  Given how the boys had been acting, I wasn't confident we'd do the latter option, but I managed to find a nice but cheap hotel deal in Gettysburg so we decided--in the middle of Jacob's game--to stick it out for one more day.  It also broke up the drive a bit more, which is always helpful.

Anyway, Jacob and his team got back at it and won their semifinal game pretty handily.  That meant we'd play the host team in the championship.  We only beat them by a couple goals the previous day and it was a bit of a rough game.  That team had actually beaten the top team in their bracket in the semis, which surprised us a bit.  We just had to hope the kids kept their heads on straight even though they'd already beaten them once.
Look at that high-step!
It was a physical game, but in the end it was no contest--Jacob's team won 8-1!  This was the first time they won on the field (as opposed to their other championship, which was a mathematical calculation), so it was fun to capture their celebration!
Equipment was flying everywhere!
It was so great to see them finish off the season on a high note.  They really came together as a team over the course of the season, and everyone really did contribute.  So awesome!
Jacob is standing on the left near the edge of the banner.  He's a bit blocked here.

Raising the trophy

Happy champ!
Of course, you can't have 20 boys win a championship without some shenanigans, and here you see a few kids (Jacob among them, no surprise) sizing up the Gatorade cooler to douse their coach!

Initially it didn't look possible since another set of teams was still playing and using it, but another one was found and the boys did the deed...
And thankfully we had an amazing coach who willingly went toward a bunch of smiling kids hanging out around a Gatorade cooler...Good thing it was HOT!

Another picture before loading up and heading out, this time with a proud dad!

It was sad to leave everyone, but tryouts are in a couple weeks and one family is trying to plan a pool party soon.  It was a great group and I'm really pleased with the experience and the organization as a whole this year.  It's not cheap, but I really do believe it's the best place for Jacob to be as he grows as a lacrosse player and as a person.  The values and inclusiveness of this team were really appreciated, especially as we encountered cheating opponents and mouthy opposing fans.  Having such a strong character focus is huge, particularly at such a formative age.

Since we had decided to extend our trip another day, we headed off to our next stop, Gettysburg.  Since our goal was to make it back to a lacrosse clinic for Jacob the following day at 5:30, we knew our time was limited, so we decided to see as much of Gettysburg as possible that night before it got dark.  We arrived around 6:30, stopped in a store that Jacob and Craig had stopped in before (partly to use the bathroom), then headed out to the battlefield area.

Gettysburg is full of battlefields and monuments.  Every roadside and every open field has some sort of marker.  This particular battlefield had a lot to see.

We walked around, read monuments, and let Carter run like a maniac before walking back toward downtown.  Gettysburg had a surprisingly adorable downtown.  Lots of Colonial-looking taverns, cute bed and breakfasts, and odd little shops.  We visited one such shop in a narrow house.  It had a little of everything, from keychains and magnets to Civil War artifacts and modern collectibles.  Everything was in different rooms and it was one of those old houses where the halls and stairways felt so tiny--I could practically hit my head as I came down the stairs!  On the porch was one of many advertisements for ghost tours around town.  I don't know what makes them "ghost-y", but there are guides in period costumes walking small groups all over town.  Maybe next time, but for now, we'll stick with our little ghost...

We wanted to maximize our time before sunset, but we stopped in an ice cream parlor and had an ice cream dinner first.  Carter had this amazing chocolate Oreo flavor, I had cherry vanilla, Craig had vanilla soft serve, and Jacob had strawberry Flavor Burst soft serve.  Once we were stuffed, we wandered back to the car and drove around a bit.  We noticed "Auto Tour" signs around the battlefields so we started following them, and then we found this... 

It was a massive monument to everyone from Pennsylvania who fought in the Civil War.  It was so beautiful, and we couldn't have asked for a prettier backdrop, either.  The detail on the monument was gorgeous.


Abraham Lincoln
As we were walking up to get a closer look, we noticed that there were people on top!  Sure enough, inside one leg of the monument there was a spiral staircase.  Up top, we got a great view of the surrounding area!

The room at the top of the staircase was cool.  It was all metal (maybe copper?) and had lots of texture and detail.  This picture is looking down the small staircase from the landing to the top of the spiral staircase.

The kids did a bit of a repeat of the CN Tower incident from last year, so back down on the ground we did some lecturing about running away and hiding from us while more than 50 feet up in the air.  
There's the stairway to the right, and the lecture to the left.
Here's another pretty monument nearby...

Eventually we made our way to our hotel, a really luxurious looking Wyndham.  The lobby was swanky and the room was big.  We were only missing free breakfast and a fridge in the room, but otherwise, it was a good deal.  And there was a real Civil War cannon in the lobby!
And yes, those are the kids underneath it.
After a bit of an adventure to figure out a Jacob-friendly breakfast, we got on the road to Hershey.  As much as I would have loved to do Hersheypark, I think we need to wait until the boys are older.  Carter seems to be my ride guy, but until he can ride the big ones, it's not worth paying to go there.  Jacob might ride some and Craig won't ride much of anything, so this time around it didn't seem worth the money.  But maybe someday.  In the meantime, we'll enjoy the street lights...

We stopped at Hershey's Chocolate World...

We did the fun little free "factory tour", which is done in a moving vehicle through simulated factory scenes.  It seemed to fill Carter's ride quota for the day.  We also got free chocolate!  Then we did a cheap but fun 4-D mystery movie featuring some of the candy characters.  It was cute and even Jacob enjoyed it!
3-D glasses on!
After that each kid shopped for a treat (though Carter ended up with a small treat and a Hershey's Hot Wheels car), and then it was back in the car to head home. 
Jacob with his giant Hershey Kiss!

We decided somewhere along the way (after a couple unplanned potty stops and driver changes) that we weren't going to make the lacrosse thing on time, so we turned our attention officially toward home.  We kept ourselves occupied with movies and travel bingo (where you look for the people, places, and things on your bingo card), and we arrived home around dinner time.  At least we had some time to get settled, but it didn't make Tuesday much easier.  I felt totally discombobulated, and if that wasn't enough, it was also the Corporate Challenge on Tuesday night!  It was a totally different setup this year, so that had me off my game, too.  I only managed to forget a hair tie, and despite serious heat and bashing my knee on a metal guardrail five minutes prior to the start, I didn't do half bad.  It was my longest time since I really started running, by maybe a minute, but because of the heat I specifically paced myself so I didn't pass out.  I'll call it a win and hope for better next year.

It was a busy week even after that and I'm still exhausted.  Thank goodness for a weekend without real plans!  Of course, we found plenty of ways to fill it up after so many weeks on the road, but it's nice to be able to not rush around or drive long distances for a change.  It's been a fun ride for the last month or so, and hopefully we'll have a little more to look forward to in the fall.  But for now we have the rest of our summer to enjoy!

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