No, no, no. I'm not taking off this Sunday. In a way, I wish I was. It has been a busy week, all capped by a road trip we made this morning to Kissimmee this morning for a benefit hockey tournament.
Today started around 4:30 a.m, when we all woke up, trudged around the house and made it to Largo, where we caught a ride with one of Colin's teammates on the Pinellas P.A.L. Stars squad. From there, around 5:30 a.m., we headed east, watching the sun rise. Haven't done that in a long, long time.
The kids are playing in a round-robin mini tournament, with four 15-minute games, to raise money for the family of a fallen police officer. So, not only does Colin get in some more ice time -- after scoring a goal Saturday in his first game since breaking an ankle six weeks ago -- but it's also for a good cause.
That's one of the many things I love about living the hockey life. This is the type of event where winning games and scoring goals isn't important. Helping out ... that's what's important.
I must say, though, that this was about the earliest I've ever gotten up for a game. We've had alarms go off at 5 a.m. a time or two, but that alarm came pretty darn quick today. Remember, too, my job keeps me up late at night. I seldom get to sleep much before 2:30 a.m.
So, if I seem a tad grumpier than normal or particularly whiny today, that'll be my story. And, yes, I'm sticking to it.
Off to the races
With two NHL teams visiting Hockey Bay last week, it's no surprise that we added another 65 autographs to the collection. We did real well with the Ottawa Senators and the New York Islanders. The biggest thrill of the week, however, didn't come from an NHL player.
Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. As you can see, Colin had his photo taken with him. I'm not sure, though, who was more psyched about it -- Colin or me.
What was funny, however, was after Mario signed Colin's ticket stub (yes, we were under prepared), Mario raised his fist, wanting to give Colin a fist bump. It took Colin a few seconds to recognize the offer and, thankfully, took full advantage of it.
"I can't freaking believe I just fist-bumped Mario Andretti," he told me.
It's memories like that that last a lifetime.