Another Hockey Tournament Done

One more hockey tournament in the books.  I only have a limited amount of these in my life (because someday both of my little hockey players will be grown up and gone, their hockey careers a distant memory), and since I do enjoy them, I try to make the most out of them.  For me, that means enjoying the company of like-minded families, creating great memories with my son, and…eating. 😉

Hockey tournaments are truly one of the most enjoyable aspects of hockey.  Even on teams where we had much drama and strife, the tournaments were still a great time.  (It’s just a lot more fun when everyone is getting along. 😉 ) JJ’s current team is just a great group of families and coaches that are very positive and fun to be around. There is lots of joking and spirits are almost always high, even if the team isn’t doing all that well.  But the team actually has been doing well as of late, and this weekend was no exception!

One of our team moms knows the owner of a bus company, and she hooks us up for all our away tournaments with a sweet ride.

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I tell you what, as much as I hate being a slave to someone else’s timetable (says the chronically late hockey mom…), I do love being chauffeured around.  Mostly because it gives me time to work on pictures!  But it also means I have to be ready whenever I’m told to be, and Friday morning, that meant being at the meeting point at 6:45am. 😮 Considering I had a 30-minute run on the schedule, that was asking a lot.  And then the 30-minute run turned into 32 minutes because it killed me not to get 3 full miles in. 😛  But I got up at 4:30am and was on the road by 4:55am to get it done.  I wont say I was exactly on time for the bus ride, but no one gave me too much grief. I think they cut me some slack in exchange for the thousands of pictures I take of their kids. 😉

We arrived at the arena for the first game, and it brought back some real memories.  You see, Jamie played a tournament here five years ago next month.  It’s a bittersweet memory, because it was at that tournament that Jamie’s team (the one I thought we’d be with until he entered high school) fell apart, in a very unpleasant and bitter (for me) way.  But time does heal all wounds, and I’m happy to say that five years later, I can look back on that trip and have fond memories, without dwelling on the sadder parts.  One of my fondest memories was visiting what was at the time the band new Compton Family Hockey Arena, where the Notre Dame hockey team plays.

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Those are my boys, ages 9 and 5, in front of the brand new arena.  Jamie got to skate there, and then, five years later, JJ did, too!

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(I’m bummed Jamie couldn’t come with us to recreate the picture, but he couldn’t miss school for JJ’s tournament.)

Unfortunately, JJ only got to skate on the practice ice (not the “real” ice where the Irish play their games), but he did get to tour the locker room with his team, which was cool!

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Their first game was intense, and they tied 3-3.  Afterwards, we went to lunch at a pub (the dads on this team love their brew pubs *rolling eyes*), and even though I knew I was going to have a salad later, I decided to get a salad for lunch, too.  But on this one, I had blackened mahi–it was delicious!

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Back at the rink for game two, we played a team from west Michigan that we’d played in our regular season.  Back then, we’d fought really hard to end in a tie.  They are a tough team.  They hadn’t changed since October, but I think maybe our kids have changed…because we came from behind twice to finally beat them, 4-2!

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That’s one of my new favorite pictures, because it really sums up everything about hockey for me:  I posted it to Facebook and tagged all the parents with this caption:  “It’s moments like this that remind me why I put forth so much time, money, and effort for my kids to play this sport. No championship here, just one single game, where they fought as hard as they could to come from behind twice and beat a tough team. This kind of joy may be fleeting, but it is oh-so-real in that moment, and once experienced, it’s never forgotten.”

We went back to the hotel that night in good spirits, as you can imagine. The kids swim and they ordered in for dinner. I’ll bet you can guess what they ordered. 😛 Yes, of course it was pizza! Because, honestly, when you’re out of town, and you don’t have your own transportation, the easiest thing to do is stop by a pizza joint on the way back to the hotel and grab a bunch of pizzas.

I was prepared for this, and had packed accordingly: while everyone else ate their pizza, I enjoyed a lovely grilled chicken salad, made with ingredients that I had packed in my cooler and totes. I had several wistful comments from other parents who saw me eating my healthy salad and then looked at their own slices of pizza and lamented that they hadn’t thought to do the same.

No drinking for me on Friday, as per usual, because I had to run on Saturday. I really want to tell you about my run, but it’s going to be a long story, because it was nothing short of an adventure. So much so, I’m going to make an entire post out of it! So, stay tuned…

Meanwhile, the boys didn’t have a game until Saturday late afternoon, so the coaches took the team to Notre Dame, where they were able to tour the Basilica and much of the campus. The head coach had made the kids watch the movie “Rudy” on the way down, and although it wasn’t exactly the attention-grabbing movie that kids are normally into, I was surprised to find that many of them enjoyed the tour because of what they had seen in the movie. If you have seen it, then you know that there is a place called the “Grotto” where many students often go to pray. There was a great picture taken by a few of the moms of all the boys lined up along the grotto, kneeling with their backs to the camera. Everyone joked that they were praying for a win that night. 😉 I want to share it, but I’d have to blank out every kid’s name on the back of their jersey, and I just don’t feel like doing that. Hopefully you get the visual. 🙂

We think the praying must’ve worked, because the boys played great on Saturday night and went to the championship. Saturday evening was another great time, and I even enjoyed the hot tub for a little while. I’m proud to say that I shamelessly wore my two-piece bathing suit, which is definitely a major accomplishment for a girl who used to be a lot heavier. 🙂

After swimming, everyone had to wait to eat until one of the parents took their rented car out to a local Italian restaurant to bring back pasta and–go ahead, guess–more pizza! 😛 It almost makes me laugh, just how much pizza gets consumed in the hockey world. But of course, I was prepared, with a delicious meal of mine own waiting for me up in my room: homemade spaghetti sauce with my husband Jason’s homemade meatballs, pasta, Italian bread and another salad. I have perfected the art of hockey tournament eating; my crockpot is my best friend at these tournaments! Once again, I had a lot of longing stares at my delicious homemade (and cheap!) meal. 😉

While Friday night was a low-cal, no alcohol night due to my Saturday long run, there were no such restrictions on Saturday night. 😉 I ate, drank, and made merry, and I definitely went over my calories. The same happened Sunday, but only because we ended up eating a late lunch before we left South Bend, and it was hard NOT to snack on all the goodies during the three hour bus ride home. 😮

I had mentioned in my last post that I was going to try to stay significantly below my calories each day this week, since doing so had helped me lose over a pound the week before. I actually did pretty well…until the weekend.

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Yeah, Saturday and Sunday were a total fail, and it reflected on the scale Monday morning.
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Ouch. But I don’t regret it, because we had a great weekend, and I had a lot of fun and enjoyed some great meals.

By the way, in case you’re wondering, JJ’s team did not win. The team we tied on Friday came out hard on Sunday and beat us 6-2. But each boy got his runner-up medal, and the team got a nice trophy, so all in all, it was a great trip. And there’s always next year! (And in my case…next week. 😉 )
Thanks for reading!

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