Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Phoenix (part two)

I forgot to include this photo yesterday. Here's what we left behind in Grand Rapids (taken at the airport):


Hello, Phoenix!

I also forgot to mention that I had a sudden realization after we landed (listening to airport music): "The Twelve Day of Christmas" is basically the holiday version of "Ninety-Nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall".

All right, back to the story.

The theme for this trip was space, at least for me.

This was the first trip that Eli 16.5 was traveling with his team. Flew together. Stayed in the hotel together.

That meant no coordinating meals. No arriving 90 minutes early at the rink before games. No planning bedtimes.

Just show up and watch.

It also meant that Gloria and I could go to dinner at some cute little tourist trap area, like this.

Ah, palm trees. I do miss palm trees.

I don't miss being cold, though, and I was still cold in Phoenix. All weekend. I'd packed a little less warm clothing than usual, and the rinks were bitterly cold. I'd left behind my heaviest winter jacket (come on, it was Phoenix!), and boy, I could have used it in those rinks.

Always one layer short. Mistakes were made.

For Eli's team, this entire weekend, seemingly, hinged on the first game. It was against a team they should beat, based on rankings, and if they won the game, they would be almost assured of going at least 3-1 for the weekend.

And if the loss was to the #1 team in the country, well, that would still be a solid weekend. 

Except it wasn't. They played maybe their worst game of the season in the first game, lost 4-0, and everything was quickly in a shambles. 

Eli was in net, and it was 2-0 with five minutes left, but we just couldn't score. It was a six period scoreless streak for the team, and suddenly, instead of finishing, we were flailing. 

The next game was better--we had the puck for 80% of the game--but still, scoring was brutally tough. The final score was 2-1, but with 35 shots, there should have been less trauma and drama. 

So the team was 1-1, with an overly tough win and a very bad loss, and next up was a team that was 28-2 and had scored 55 goals in its last 10 games. 


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