Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Hockey Life: Road trip notes

Heading south over the Sunshine Skyway, high above the mouth of Tampa Bay.

Even though Colin's team split its two games, I have to say that Saturday's day trip to Estero, Fla., which lasted a little more than 12 hours, was some of the most fun I've had in hockey in some time. Of course, the Tampa Bay Jr. Lightning Pee Wee White A team's shutout was the highlight, but the day also offered up a full lineup of memorable events:

~ If I've said it once, I've said it 100 times: Yoder's, an Amish restaurant in Sarasota, is one of my favorite places to eat.  From the moment we found a parking spot in front of the restaurant to the delicious apple fritter French toast I had for breakfast, it was well worth an early departure.

~ Sure, some other drivers may have been a bit upset, but I got the biggest kick out watching of a pair of whooping cranes walking down a lane of Cattlemen Road in Sarasota. It's like they didn't have a care in the world. Thanks, too, to the driver in the lane who stopped and waited for the birds to move along.

~ Yes, I'm far more yuppie than redneck, but I have the hardest time not stopping at the Bass Pro Shops store along Interstate 75 just a few miles north of Germain Arena. I love watching the variety of Florida fish swim in the aquarium and easily become mesmerized by the size of the snook swimming in the pool.

~ Ask Colin, too, about his new camo cold-weather gear leggings. Every so often, but not nearly enough, I do what I can to keep the him from becoming a full-fledged city boy. With that in mind, we definitely have to get in some more fishing.

~ I was continually amazed at just how smooth a new car rides. Rather than subject our two jalopies to the trip, we splurged and rented a 2014 Toyota Camry (Why, yes, Colin, that is what you call a "a new car smell.") for the weekend. How new? The odometer read only 30 miles. Several times, and I'm embarrassed to admit it, I was surprised to see the speedometer's needle beyond 85 mph.

~ Had the distinct pleasure of introducing The Missus, who has always wanted a pet pig, to Noel (or is it Noelle?), a miniature teacup pig who's quickly becoming the team's pet mascot. It didn't take long for The Missus to scoop up and snuggle the puny porker, who belongs to the family of one of Colin's teammates. Before long, Noel was sound asleep in her arms.  

~  Nice touch, too, by one of the referees at Colin's second game of the day. He gave the game puck to Ryan, the team's goalie, after he posted a 4-0 shutout, including a particularly sweet save on a third-period breakaway, after a pretty tough loss in the day's first game. "Nice way to rebound," the ref told him.

~ From what I hear, Colin made some friends Saturday night on one of the Jr. Everblades teams. Funny thing, though, they used cuss words, and some pretty naughty ones at that, to express their greetings. I guess the kids were getting tired of him being his usual pest self and crashing their net. Excellent work, buddy boy.

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