It seems as if winter is never going to arrive. 40+ degrees in Mid-December isn’t anybody’s idea of Christmas time. I want drifts of snow like whipped cream topping over everything. I want jingle bells, and ho, ho, ho and mistletoe and pretty girls…
So what did we do to escape this brown Christmas over the weekend? We went north. Not quite Alaska, or Canada even, but far enough that the ground was white, and the wind was cold. 20 Prospect Jr. had a Hockey Tournament in Duluth. Our first real out of town hockey tournament experience. It did not disappoint.
Duluth is one of my favorite places on Earth. It’s like a life size HO Train Set. A huge lake, big ships, railroads, ore docks, bridges, everything is on a giant scale. Its the kind of place where the Y-chromosome takes over, and you feel a sudden urge to operate heavy machinery, and hum Gordon Lightfoot songs. Unfortunately, other than a trip down to Bayfront Park to see the holiday lights on Friday night, we didn’t really have much time to enjoy scenic, romantic, Duluth. Instead our days and nights were spent at the hockey rink, or at the hotel, with a bunch of 11 year old boys bouncing off of each other.
I never had the experience of staying in a hotel with friends, and teammates at that age when travel to places like Duluth was an exotic adventure, but I imagine I would have loved it as much as they did. When they weren’t skating at the rink, they were swimming in the pool, or playing knee hockey in the hotel rooms. Luckily, our room was not one of the designated knee hockey arenas.
One of their games was outdoors under the lights, old-tyme-hockey style. Ever since the schedule came out the Dads and boys have been looking forward to that, and the Mom’s have been dreading it. It was a relatively mild 20 degrees, with just a light wind, though. Not bad at all for a winter night in Duluth. We bundled up and stood along the dasher boards as the boys played in the dim shadows, and glare of the outdoor lights. Being down at ice level gave the parents a whole new appreciation for the speed at which the game is played. It’s quite a bit different than sitting up in the bleachers looking out over the whole ice and watching plays develop. You understand the chaotic ballet of the sport when you get up close.
The boys won 3 games, and lost 1, and brought home a trophy for 3rd place, which they carried around the ice with the reverance of Lord Stanley’s Cup. And shortly afterwards most of them fell asleep in the backseat on the 2-1/2 hour ride home. Long days, fresh air, and exercise are exactly what puppies and growing boys need. Without it they start chewing on the furniture.
Now we are home again, with photos and memories of our time up north to tide us over until Winter finally arrives in the Twin Cities. Any day now…