This past weekend, my daughter and I were at the annual Cornwall Girls Hockey Association Fall Tournament - as we have done the first weekend of every November for the past nine years. It’s a hockey tradition for her that now holds so many memories.
I have joked that the amount planning and organizing that go into my packing for a tournament weekend qualifies me for a seat in the Situation Room when the country’s defences go to DEFCON 4.
Seriously, though? Compared to all the chairpersons who actually organize these tournaments? “I’m not worthy!”
Let’s forget for just a moment that we all know there is an army of volunteers working to make the tournament weekend a success for all teams involved.
The tournament chair is the commander-in-chief of that small army! And the battle begins with the game schedule itself. I – planner and organizer of supreme power - cannot grasp the organization that goes on in developing a tournament game schedule.
In the case of the Cornwall tournament, seventy teams ranging from Novice (six and seven year olds) to Midget (fifteen to eighteen year olds), playing at least three games each. I’m sure there’s an auto-scheduler software program of some kind in use but still – there are no doubt hours of tweaks and squeaks and several rounds of revisions before it is finalized.
I happen to have met both the Cornwall tournament chairs this past weekend and they both seemed remarkably calm. Whereas I would be strung out on caffeine and one step short of crazy, I don’t think they broke a sweat whatsoever. I guess that with experience comes confidence!
Speaking of one step short of crazy, one of the tournament chairs no longer had any kids in hockey. That’s right. There were over one thousand young hockey players participating in this tournament, and not one of them was his flesh and blood! He was there of his own free will and stupidity – and maybe free canteen fries. I mean, who does that? Who spends an entire three days working a minor hockey tournament when their kids have grown and flown?
As it turns out, plenty of former hockey parents do. I encountered another parent over the weekend, whose son used to play with my eldest, and he is continuing to help organize our local minor hockey tournament as well. His response to my question, perplexed as to why he would continue to do it? “Well, I don’t know what else I would do with all this free time!”
I think I’ve done my fair share of volunteering with the various hockey associations with whom my kids have played over the past sixteen years, but maybe not. Maybe, once you’re part of a volunteer hockey association, it sticks to you, just like that horrendous hockey stench – only better!
Time will tell if this level of commitment will prevail for this hockey mom. In the meantime, I’ll stick to managing hockey teams and sending out an astounding amount of emails to the team in an attempt to look half as organized as a tournament chairperson!
Three cheers for tournament weekends – and the chairpersons who make them happen!
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