This past weekend coincided with the 33rd annual Cornwall Girls Hockey Tournament. Of course this is nothing important, really, but this marks the first time in nine years that I did not attend this tournament with my daughter. The nostalgia has been swirling around my head as thick as hockey socks! I have to admit, I was a little homesick for it.
There is something special about an away-hockey tournament that always sets hockey players and their parents into overdrive; every hockey mom knows this. As if getting a day off school (or work!) isn’t exciting enough, there’s usually a hotel involved and a departure from normal dinner menus and bedtime schedules for kids and parents alike. But there is also the added stress of not always knowing where you’re going, despite the most up to date GPS, and having to figure out where the arenas are in respect to the hotel in which you’re staying, not to mention having to figure out where the closest Timmies is located! This can be the downside of the away-tournament.
Returning the same hockey tournament year after year is the best of many worlds. You have all the fun and excitement of the away-tournament with the added benefit of knowing exactly where you’re going and where everything is. Call it the home-away-from-home tournament!
The Cornwall tournament had the added benefit in that a large portion of the visiting teams all stay together at the NavCentre (a former training facility for air traffic controllers). The rooms are tiny, barely large enough to fit a double bed, and the walls were paper thin, allowing everyone to hear equally well the high-decibel conversations of the Novice-aged players leaving for their 7:00AM games as the Midget-aged players returning from their 10:00PM games. And navigating this facility is rather like trying to get out of a corn maze. Yet it’s familiarity to hockey families, especially ours, is its most unique and endearing characteristic. Not only do I now know how to get from the Blue wing to the Orange wing without getting lost, but I know exactly how long it will take me to drive to the Benson Centre with a Timmies stop along the way. As for my daughter, I can measure her years by the extra latitude of freedom (i.e. lack of supervision) I’ve afforded her with each passing tournament. I have no doubt that she is on a first-name basis with much more of the staff than I am.
And no trip to the Cornwall tournament was complete without me driving by my old homestead where I lived for eleven years of my youth. It’s tradition that I drive by the tiny bungalow in the Dover Heights neighbourhood I called home and it elicits a very traditional response from my daughter: “Yes, I know, Mom. I’ve heard this a million times. You were six people in one house sharing three bedrooms, one bathroom and one telephone. Blah, blah, blah!”
Next year will likely be my daughter’s last year of hockey before heading off to college or university. I hope if I can convince the coach to go back to the Cornwall tournament one last time for old time’s sake. It’s been a place where hockey memories have been made. I hope there is a home-away-from-home tournament in your player’s life too.
Three cheers for all the teams participating in tournaments this weekend – and for all the hockey moms that make them special!
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