Now that the desert dust has settled over the freshly unmown Palm Springs grass it is probably appropriate to reflect on the exploits of our band of intrepid U14 warriors and their first ever festival experience.
Front and center in any recollection is their self-vandalized “boogie bus” and the Meghan Trainor support group who travelled on a daily basis in it, instead of our girls!.
As a coach of girls hockey I thought I had seen it all but apparently not, I was unaware of the sage advice dispensed by the afore mentioned Meghan that …
“My momma she told me don’t worry about your size
She says, boys they like a little more booty to hold at night”
Now as a Dad I can’t condone the lyrics, and as the team bus driver I can’t get the music out of my head, but those trips back and forth from the team hotel were certainly a key part of the overall experience.
Speaking of the hotel, what an awesome location, well played Eileen!. The patio bar (I am reliably told by other less reputable U14 parents who regularly frequented it) was a fantastic meeting place where team tactics were discussed at some length on most evenings, world problems were resolved and Gunther admitted that the Germans do not in fact make a decent stout.
Building 15 became the home of “The Storm” decorating each door with mad turkey pictures and much glee being found from the interconnecting doors and balconies. Una kept a firm grip on everything for the first 10 minutes or so and from there on it all fell apart – just kidding, the rooming actually worked really well and was a great team bonding experience for the girls.
On the hockey front the Storm had a pretty good three days. The venue was excellent, the organization superb, the games competitive and our only real complaint other than “Why are we playing on the green stuff that grows?” was “and don’t they have any lawnmowers in Palm Springs?”
The best team won our group, and the second best team (us) were the appropriate runners up. More importantly we learnt a lot. We learnt that we are truly in the top 15 teams in the country right now but we also saw what the top 5 looks like and know that there is work to be done. We learnt that the best player on a hockey pitch does not have to be the biggest girl, and we learnt what it’s like to play as a team, win as a team and indeed lose as a team. The parents saw their daughters emerging swanlike as true athletes and witnessed how sometimes a tie can feel like a win. Devon’s parents proudly watched as a young lady stepped up as the Storm team captain and undaunted spoke strongly in front of a large crowd of her peers and other parents.
Of course there were a few lighter moments worth recalling. Gaby Bica failing security 101 at JFK, when asked her name she responded “ehhhhhh”. Losing the club president on the return trip ( I think he is still in Atlanta), Lily just being Lily, Jackie and the singing, Emily B arriving late on the practice day and being accosted with a group hug, and John being asked by an umpire if he would like a green card? These all leap to mind.
It’s certainly a long way to trek across the country to play hockey, particularly for those who brought kids or grannies with them and not least on a Thanksgiving week BUT what a great set of memories we created for a wonderful group of dedicated young ladies, so perhaps we should consider doing it again next year – you never can tell.
Thanks to John and Eileen and Bella for all the planning, thanks to all our twitter feeders for their tweeting. Thanks to my playing partner John for kicking team Berlinghof butts at golf, and thanks to all our supporters for suffering every agonizing minute of every game.