Detroit Days 6-7Believe it or not, there's very specific conversation protocol at a hockey camp when you're talking to other parents for the first time. Here are the rules.
1. Walk up and ask who there kid is and where he/she is on the ice.
2. If you've seen the kid play, compliment something about their game.
At this point, if the parent wants to talk, they'll ask where your kid is on the ice. If they do, then you ask about where people are from, etc. If they don't ask about your kid, then that's the universal symbol that they don't want to talk.
Mostly, parents at these camps are very friendly. There's a lot of down time and a lot of time sitting in the rink, so having someone to talk to can be a relief (even for me).
At lunch, I decided to go on the other side of the highway near the rink (this side of the highway is almost all strip malls).
I think I experienced peak Michigan.
It was 79 with a light wind. Partly cloudy.
I was looking for banana bread (my P. Terry's breakfast routine), and I saw a bakery that was a few minutes in the other direction from where I was used to driving. So I went during the lunch break and wound up on the downtown square of Plymouth.
Man, it was beautiful. Just beautiful. Charming but not in a trying too hard kind of way. Incredibly relaxing, with people happily walking around the square and enjoying the weather.
These pictures absolutely don't do it justice, but here are a few:
In Michigan, when they want you to do something, they're quite polite about it:
In hockey news, Eli looked good today. As each day of camp passes, he gets faster relative to the other kids because he's less tired.
Eli winds up making friends with almost everyone at these camps, including the shooters. The shooters are a special category of kid, brought in not to work on their game but to provide work for others. And they're great.
All the kids chirp back and forth, but it's always funny and never ugly. I mentioned to Eli that he should ask those kids what they see when they start to shoot. Are they so skilled that they see holes everywhere, because they can hit such small spaces, or do they see one or two specific areas that he could adjustments to and make them smaller?
On Friday, I didn't think Eli was as strong on the ice as he had been on Wednesday-Thursday, but he was terrific in the off-ice workout. He survived a week of Barwis and felt good doing it.
At the end of camp, I talked to one of the founders about Eli. He's the same coach who told us last year that we needed to move up to Michigan and that he'd find the right team for Eli (with a coach who would be a good fit for Eli's personality).
I told him that we'd talked about it together, that Eli had done everything we asked of him, and that we would move if he was still committed to helping us get Eli into the right situation. And, in a typically generous move on his part (he's been very, very good to Eli over the years), he said he would.
I can't even begin to tell you how much I respect this coach. He's the kind of mentor that Eli needs at this point in his life, a person who is an honorable, strong example for him. And I trust him.
So this is how it's going to work. In March, we'll go up for tryouts. These are going to be very high-level teams.
If he makes a team, then we're moving to Michigan.
Tomorrow: a weekend magic festival and finally back home.