So my family as a whole was completely unversed in the niceties of the out-of-town hockey tournament. That has now all changed. Somewhat.
creative commons license
As far as I can tell, the experience consists of a welter of mind-numbing logistics and frenetic activity alternating with periods of absolute boredom OR bacchanalian debauchery. In other words, I'm pretty much a fan.
Most of Friday was ludicrous and irritating. Matt was taking the red-eye home from California and was arriving at about noon, which would have gotten us to Kingston for the two o'clock game, but not for one o'clock which was when the coach wanted the team there. So we sent Angus ahead with the coach. We made my parents come with us, because they never had to before, and it seemed like it was time. Also, they travel with a full range of healthy food, plus a wide range of liquor. So we all arrived in Kingston for the first game, which we lost rather badly, resulting in a meltdown of a small-scale nuclear degree by Angus, so we decided to go check into the hotel before the next game instead of going to eat with the team.
But the hotel was in Belleville. This means we drove forty-five minutes to check into the hotel, giving Angus and Matt about forty-five more minutes before they had to head back to Kingston for the next game. What's that beer commercial that says if you're Canadian chances are you've driven two hours for nineteen minutes of ice time? We are so freakin' Canadian. So my parents and Eve and I got some dinner and went in search of the next arena. We had directions, but there was one right turn that should have been a left turn. We saw some nice farmland. We got to the game a little late, but they tied, and we got to see a great "we didn't lose!" celebration on the part of both teams. Then we went back to the hotel, got the kids bathed and in bed with the tv on and that's when I realized.... I'm in a hotel room in Belleville, with people I like and a bunch of drinks. And our next game isn't until seven o'clock tomorrow night.
Saturday wasn't even a little bit annoying. We shopped and drank and walked to the waterfront in Kingston and Eve lost her second front tooth at the Keg. The game was incredibly exciting, the kids played their butts off, and we were SO CLOSE to winning... and the other team tied it up with about three seconds left. So then we went back to the hotel and contravened the waiver the hotel had made us sign in about seven different ways. You know when you're at a hotel and there are a bunch of kids running around in the hall being loud and it's really annoying? My kid was one of those kids! Well, a little. At one point there were about ten kids in the room and I told them if they didn't start using their inside voices they were going to get in trouble and we'd all have to go to bed. When the next kid came into the room, Angus said "you're too late, we just started using our inside voices". Actually, the kids didn't get into trouble at all (the adults were another story).
Angus is generally pretty quiet and timid. He lives in his head a lot, and he has that same agonizing self-consciousness I had (still do, really). I feel such a sense of joy when he forgets himself a little and acts like... well, like a boy. A loud, oafish, slightly obnoxious, silly boy. I personally don't see the attraction in hanging off someone in the pool while trying to remove his swim trunks, or flinging myself from one hotel bed to the other while trying not to get my head squashed by the six other boys doing the same, but that's just me.
I'm not a great hockey Mom. I don't like getting up at five o'clock in the morning to get to the rink. I don't like the back-breaking hard benches, and my hands are too weak to tie skates tightly enough. I wouldn't have thought I would have a lot in common with a bunch of other hockey parents. Somehow being crowded in a hotel room together passing around beers, reliving the almost-glory and figuring out whose kid is whose is a great leveller. I came home filled with love for all humankind.
But they really should have called that last off-side. Not that I even know what that is.