Champions in Chicago

Our Panthers’ left Chicago late yesterday as champions.  I guess the winter storm, which was initially cumbersome was a harbinger of our team’s success. By Sunday the roads were nice and dry for our two games out in Geneva.   The rink was a beautiful facility with a great bar (thank you Chelios Pub and Grill,) but was quite far from civilization.  It took an arduous forty-five minutes to get there the first night on questionable roads.  The commutes Sunday and Monday were better, but still long.  Thankfully, our games took place after the storm had stop and the roads were largely cleared.

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Goalielocks played both games Saturday against local teams.  I was happy to have remembered my beta blockers for the game.  He played awesome game 1 and so did his team.  They came away with a 6-1 victory.  Fortunately, the victory was even sweeter for me.  I was blessed to be able to watch the game with my dearest friend Jenny and her kids, who are Chicagoland residents.  They’re awesome people and clearly good luck.  It was quickly agreed upon that they would need to be present at the rest of the games as our good luck charm.

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In between games some of the kids opted for White Castle. We, however, opted for something with less of a laxative effect.  Surprisingly, our hotel had a fabulous restaurant downstairs.  Goalielocks scarfed down a burger, while I enjoyed their yummy chili.  This was also the day I discovered the awesomeness of Adidas joggers and their zipper pockets.  Immediately, after dinner and the conclusion of the Rams/Saints game, Goalielocks and I headed to Dick’s in hope of finding another pair of joggers.  I had given up hope, when Goalielocks discovered a pocket of fancier Adidas at the back of the store. They had more joggers!   I quickly bought a nice pair in black and we headed back to the hotel to prepare for game two.

John, TK, Goalielocks headed back to the rink for game two.  John and I immediately headed to the bar, so we could grab a quick drink before the game and watch the Chiefs/Patriots game.  Sunday night it was Stella Cidre instead of beta blockers.   The cider was quite yummy.

Unlike the morning game, game two on Sunday got off to a much slower and arduous start.  We simply didn’t look good. There weren’t many shots against either goalie in that game with my goalie seeing around 12-15 shots.  Our opponents scored late in the first on a deflection to make it a 1-0 game.  Throughout the second and third period, Goalielocks made some huge saves to keep the team in it.   Unfortunately, it was looking like we were going to end up in the consolation game.  Then we got to less than 5:00 minutes left in the third.  After the referee gave their player a major penalty, we ended up on the power play.  In short order, our squad put in three goals.  Where was this the rest of the game?  It was an awesome end to a solid day of hockey for the team.   The best part of course was the post game celebration as they realized they were championship bound.

We ended our evening and started our Monday morning at the Ale House where it took twice as long to get our bill as it did to get our food.  I don’t for the life of me understand restaurants that won’t let teams order by jersey number.  They always insist it’s easier to do it their way.  Ultimately, they find that their way wasn’t the best way.  At 1:00 am in the morning it’s a bit aggravating to watch them enter and re-enter food trying to figure out what check the meal should be on.  We didn’t get back to the hotel until after 1:00 and were absolutely fried.

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I got up for breakfast, but Goalielocks was fried so he stayed in bed.  They had amazing pancakes with  white chocolate cream sauce and berries that had become his favorite.  Fortunately, the restaurant was able to make and pack up his meal as I finished mine.  By the time I returned from breakfast, Goalielocks was up and ready to eat.  We didn’t have a ton of time, so I finished packing while he ate. 

By 12:00 pm we were back at the rink for the 1:20 pm championship game.  We booked our flight out of O’Hare for 5:00 pm, so I knew it was going to be tight getting out there.  We were also meeting the hubby and my Mayor in Atlanta, so rescheduling was really out of the question.  Especially since I had my hubby’s truck keys.  The game itself was a complete gong show.  The other team started head hunting early and we fed into it.  By the end of the second period, more than an hour had elapsed.  Our games Sunday were relatively clean and quick.  This one was not.  In the end, we had to leave early in order to get to O’Hare on time.  Fortunately, we were able to beat the team we lost to on Saturday night, so our squad left Chicago as champions!

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We raced to the airport literally and figuratively.   Fortunately, the lines at security were not too bad.  We ended up having to wait longer for the shuttle from the rental car center than for TSA.  By the time we got to our gate, our flight was starting to board.  It was complete relief once we made it on board.  I texted the hubby our food order from the plane, since he’d be landing in Atlanta about an hour before us.

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We finally started to push back and then we sat.  Apparently, the tarmac was a bit icy, so our bird slid a bit out of position.  Consequently, we had to wait for the ground crew to come back and push us out further.  This was a first for us as travelers.  As a result, we ended up with a ten minute delay, which wasn’t bad.  Our flight was quick and fun.  Goalielocks and I enjoyed dipping our Biscoff cookies in our drinks (coffee with Bailey’s and coke respectively) and playing a word puzzle game on my phone.  The landing into Atlanta was hard and we took a bounce, but the flight was otherwise uneventful.

Thankfully, I had upgraded to comfort seats, so we were just behind first class.  If we had been at the back of the plane, we may have had issues making our connecting flight.  Our plane from Chicago arrived at gate C26 and our flight to Fort Lauderdale was departing from A2.  We booked (don’t worry I didn’t run) as fast as we could through the C terminal and to the tram.   After the tram, we were dodging obliviots that kept stopping in the walk-way to get to our gate quickly.  It was well worth the effort as we were rewarded with familiar faces and some grub.

The flight from ATL to Fort Lauderdale is pretty quick and was uneventful.  We were relieved that all of our luggage arrived in one piece quickly after we had gotten off the plane.  After a forty minute drive, we were home.  It felt amazing to sleep in my own bed.    Meanwhile, Chicago got hit by freezing rain today with over 800 flights cancelled.  We’re glad to be home and in the warmth.    Overall, our weekend was amazing and one that we’ll always look back on fondly!

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Love Thy Tendy

Love Thy Tendy

There’s hockey mom crazy and then there’s goalie mom crazy.  Go to any rink across the US or Canada and you can pick out the goalie mom who is pacing nervously or sitting nervously near the end of the ice.  Between periods she’ll migrate from one end of the rink to the other.  Depending on how the game’s going for her goalie, she may make small talk with her team’s hockey moms or she may walk by silently.

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As her goalie slides across the crease or moves to make a save, she moves with them.  When the puck leaves her goalie’s zone, her pulse starts to slow as their team makes their way into the other team’s zone.  Her pulse remains steady until the puck pops out into the neutral zone sending her pulse rate up.  If the game is close, her pace is safely in the fat burning zone.   (Thank you Fitbit!)  Not until the handshake line starts, will her nerves start to unwind.

 

Her job is tough.  Her tender could play the game of his or her life, but still walk away with a loss. A loss, which most tenders, will place solely on their own shoulders.  On the flipside, her goalie could have an off game and the team could still win.

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Goalie is a unique position that takes a unique personality.  There aren’t many people, at least sane people, that would volunteer to stand in front of a hard rubber puck moving upwards of 50-70 mph to try and stop it.

As a goalie mom, it is hard to see young goalies, mine included, beat themselves up, but I know the mental difficulties of the position will prepare them to deal with adversity in their lives.  For us goalie moms, the Dunkin Donuts coffee, the Ciroc, the Bailey’s, the Goose, the Ketel and our fellow hockey moms help us cope.  At least we get an hour of free fat burning courtesy of our goalie’s hockey game!

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If you’re looking for more hockey mom related content, here’s the perfect place to start.

Photo Credit for action shots to Pam Huss (awesome FL Bulldogs hockey mom), Pat Cash and myself.