The away – hockey tournament is always all things excessive: too much food, too much driving, too much cheering, too much alcohol, too much noise, too much this and too much that but waaaaayyyyy too little sleep. Hockey tournaments usually start on a Friday requiring one parent to take a day off work, leading me to my first side note: my husband and I are fortunate to have generous vacation policies. Between our 3 kids we need to take 10 days off work for hockey tournament attendance alone never mind medical, dental and teacher appointments or PD Days!
This tournament was my turn and I was actually trying to schedule in a little R&R and time with my daughter. Side note #2: never expect R&R or quality time with your child on a hockey tournament weekend. As with any road trip, I am up late Thursday night packing, cleaning and making sure there is enough food in the refrigerator to last my weekend bachelors who will call me three times a day to ask where something is or how to make it. Our trip to the first game unbelievably did not involve a roadside restaurant stop – it was relatively close by. Even more fortunate was the fact that the mother and I that were carpooling had the foresight to pack the hockey equipment last since our first stop was, in fact, the hockey arena, and not the hotel. Usually I neglect the all-important car-loading schematic and am unloading all my luggage, coolers, and personal trappings bury us as they come tumbling out of the car in front of all the team, in order to get to the hockey equipment. Goal scored by the moms on this one.
Checking into the hotel is a feat as well. As I overhear someone mention that the hotel is fully booked, I am reminded that I seem to have a knack for checking in just behind the masses, making any special requests to be near other parents or amenities like asking for the clerk’s first born – or more! As my hockey mom friend and I wait and wait and wait and wait to check in, we send our girls off to locate the trolley for our luggage (a hotel with bell staff on duty during a hockey tournament check in would be like a glass of water in a desert – both are in fact mirages, right?). Twenty minute later, we’re checked in our girls are nowhere to be seen, nor is a trolley. Our pint-sized veterans of the girls’ hockey tournament weekend have already had quite the little reunion with present and past team mates and snagging our trolley was not even close to one of their priorities.
With no sherpas in sight, we begin the trek to our rooms with our gear on our shoulders and backs. Sweating like true athletes we finally coming across our daughters, to whom we pant, “Did you find one?” and the response from four blinking blue innocent little eyes and two mouths saying in unison, “Find what?”
Maintaining a steady march we haul all this stuff from the hotel lobby (stuff being luggage, coolers, craft boxes, food and snacks and possibly some hockey equipment, jersey bags and goalie pads for good measure) when we come across another mom about to return her trolley to the lobby. We pounce upon her like two senior citizens at a two-for-one – we literally drop our “stuff’ and pounce on this trolley. She was grateful not to have to walk it all the way back to the lobby not realizing that we were willing to pay her $50 for the privilege! Now to organize our stuff on the trolley while dripping in perspiration. Forget for a moment that both this mother and I are highly educated women – she in fact an engineer – that under normal circumstances would likely be able to marshal the resources required to stock the hotel let along organize this trolley to travel from the lobby to our hotel rooms, which yes, side note #3, are about as close together as Russia and Alaska (which evidently one can be seen from the other). We unload half the trolley in one room and my daughter and I depart to our room in another wing… only to encounter the worst possible enemy of a body laden with gear: a set of stairs. God help us. We finally get to our room and I immediately set my daughter to task2 which is finding the closest ice machine (my wine needs to chill after all), praying it isn’t broken.
More later because now it’s back out the door to the next hockey game. No rest for these weekend warriors.