Sunday, April 29, 2012
The Hockey Life: Sunday mornings
I'm writing live this morning, as it might be the last time I can for a few months. Now, don't worry. Nothing is wrong. It's just that after our most recent respite, it's time to get back to what had become our normal Sunday morning routine.
Beginning next Sunday, at 11:30 a.m. to be exact, our mornings will, once again, belong to hockey. Taking a break after his travel team season, Colin will return to his roots, rejoining the lineup of the Pinellas Police Athletic League Stars for the Tampa Bay Metro League's spring recreational season.
As every hockey parent knows, game mornings are a bit of a process. It's setting the alarm clock to allow for a road trip, ranging from 20 minutes to two hours. It's making sure the hockey bag is packed and nothing, especially a mouthpiece or neck guard, is forgotten. It's being grateful, too, for an everything bagel with cream cheese and a travel cup of coffee.
For the past two months, give or take a few days, our Sunday mornings have been different. A lot different. Breakfast meant pancakes or french toast, scrambled eggs or omelets, bacon or sausage and, just this morning, fruit cups. It also meant two cups of coffee, out of a diner-style mug. And, I had time to read the Sunday paper, not just the sports section.
Make no mistake, I'm not complaining. Like Colin, I was missing the drill, as well as the thrills, of game days. After more than two years of Colin playing in some form of a season, Sunday mornings became part of the routine and, honestly, something to look forward to. Conversely, a relaxing Sunday morning at home, much less rare than it once was, is something to treasure, too.
Returning to the P.A.L. program is what we're looking forward to the most. From his first days in the program, we've felt like a part of the Stars family. Through wins and losses, including a painful lesson a few years ago, there's more to this program than playing hockey.
To this day, Colin is known as "Mini Man," a nickname bestowed upon him by the head coach's son. We've attended the team's holiday party, despite Colin playing for another team. One drill within Colin's weekly skating sessions are called "Coach Dons," after an instructor at P.A.L.'s summer hockey camp. It wasn't uncommon for us, either, to attend P.A.L. games, even if Colin wasn't playing.
Colin even knows Miss Julie's disdain for a certain furry rodent, meaning he seldom hesitates to remind her about it. And now, upon news of a particular birthday present, he can't wait to see her.
By no means is this a knock against any other program or coach, but it's different with the Stars. There's a certain sense of comfort that comes with the program. I guess that's why it'll be easy to get back into the game-day routine. The next chapter starts a week from today.