Detroit Days 4-5I realized this year that these trips are all about rhythm.
It's hard to be away from home for 7+ days. It's hard to live out of a hotel. I find that draining. I don't like being away from home. I have FONMO (Fear Of Not Missing Out).
If you can find a good rhythm, though, some of that is mitigated.
This was our day, every day, during the week:
7:25 am Wake up
7:40-8:10 Breakfast downstairs
8:10 Return from breakfast. Pack bag.
8:35 Leave hotel with hockey gear
8:50 Arrive at facility for off-ice workout
9-6:30 Hockey Camp
7:10 Arrive back at hotel. Put out gear, turn on fan.
7:20 Fill up bathtub halfway. Put in half a bottle of Softsoap. Throw in Eli's wearables from day of camp.
7:25 Dinner in mall
8:05 Dessert in mall (usually with Hilarious Cookie Lady, and she certainly was)
8:15 Return to room
8:20-8:35 Wring out laundry, dry as much as possible, put near fan.
9:15 pm-Lights out
That sounds too busy, but it wasn't. It was focused, and Eli 14.0 was on point all week. This year's camp was a big, big deal, and he wanted to do well. So he was--even by adult standards--very disciplined.
And it was fun. It didn't feel like work (well, except for washing out the laundry--man, that sucks). Funny things happened every day, and amazing things, too.
Also, if you're in a good rhythm, sometimes small spaces elongate. I can't even unpack that statement for you, but that's how it works. Small amounts of time can feel pretty luxurious in context.
We went to Walgreen's to get supplies the day we got to Detroit. Fan, notebook, pens, etc. The clerk was ringing up our stuff and she said, "Are you going off to college?"
Eli said "No. I'm fourteen."
We walked out and headed back toward the hotel. I stopped and looked at him carefully. "You know, from the right angle, I think you could pass for a sickly college student," I said.
"Hey, I did manage a Brookstone," he said.
Okay, back to camp.
Eli looked better on Tuesday morning. Much better. A big part of this camp is being good enough (and aggressive enough) to challenge the best shooters, even if you don't stop them. He started challenging.
Plus, I can tell how he's playing without even seeing the shots because I've watched him for so many years. When he's on, he has unbelievable balance. He's never leaning, and everything starts with his feet, which are entirely stable underneath him.
Monday, he hadn't played like that at all. But I could see on Tuesday that he was heading in that direction.
Wednesday morning, that direction resulted in a terrific performance. I texted him right at the end of the morning session: Very Chuck Norris of you. Well done.
Here's video of a drill against Midget Minor shooters (15-16 years old, maybe a Midget Major mixed in there, too):
Part of playing against shooters at this level is being on the right angle and depth to look big enough that they don't see holes, so they miss wide/above the net more often. Eli was never big enough to do that, but he is now.
One of the things about this camp (Bandits) that makes Eli enjoy all the work is the positive atmosphere. Kids are constantly challenged, but in a positive, constructive way.
Counselors (and kids) come back year after year. It feels like a big family, and Eli is happily part of that family. It's a special place.
Tomorrow: Thursday-Friday, more video and pictures.