Memorial Day Weekend Was Memorable!

Do you  find it odd that while one is home for two days sick in bed with a stomach virus that one does not update one’s blog?  You would think with all the time spent watching Real Housewives of New York City and You’ve Been Cut Off, one might pull oneself away from the television and actually post something?  You might think that sitting in bed, one might take the laptop and actually do something productive, instead of playing online Sudoku or trolling Facebook for past friends.

Yeah, I thought so too.  But I just couldn’t get up the gumption to actually post something during the last two days.  My stomach was making sickly noises and I felt like I got kicked in the gut by a mule.  At one point, before I got up this morning, my stomach actually growled “ZOOL.”  Zool?  Will I start levitating?  I looked over at MR to see if it woke him up.  Nope.  I’ll have to battle the gatekeeper on my own.

I did take advantage of this down time to go through the 700 plus pictures I took at the soccer tournament we went to over Memorial Day weekend.  One of the reasons I bought my Canon Rebel was the “sports” mode of shooting.  I needed that to catch the action on the field.  I end up taking way too many photos and have to weed them out before posting them to Weplay or Facebook.  So I was doing this for a good part of the afternoon when I was inspired to write about our Memorial Day weekend in Hampden, PA.

One of the advantages of being on the travel team is you get to travel.  Our weekly games don’t go so far out on Long Island, so when the chance of an invitation to play in another state, and be able to go to Hershey Park as part of the package came up, the coach accepted.  I was excited just to watch our girls play soccer and spend a few nights in a hotel bed.  Mmmm.

Of course with everything, there was conflict.  With all organized sports there is backbiting, sniping, complaining and espionage.  “Who picked the hotel?”  When will we go to Hershey park?”  “Why does it cost so much to play?”  “Who are these ‘guest’ players?”  Blah, blah, blah.  And then all the other parents chimed in….

No, only kidding.   My only complaint was that we weren’t given a choice of hotels.  We were told, by the coach, where we were staying.  Some of us are accustomed to 5-star hotels, and some of us (me) are content to go camping.  But after the fact, I’m glad we stayed where we did.  The Hampton Inn in Mechanicsburg was awesome.  Heated pool, patio with tables and umbrellas, lush landscaping, great rooms, wonderful staff, lounge with large screen TV, couch, nice breakfast, computer access and CLEAN!  I’m not sure all Hampton Inns are like this, but this one was very thoughtful -free chips in the lounge and coffee all day.  Chicken soup when it got chilly.  It really felt like I was staying with relatives instead of a chain hotel.

I’ve always liked details.  As an architect, I guess I appreciate them more than most.  The Hampton Inn, which is a Hilton family chain, was full of details.  There were black and white photographs on all the door numbers (we had a tractor).  The clock radio (which you can purchase on their hampton HOME collection) had b & w photos for each of the preset music stations a rock for Rock, soda pop for Pop, etc.  Their coffee urns had old gas pump photographs on each- “High Test” for the robust coffee, “Unleaded” for the decaf.  Just everywhere you looked you saw a lot of thought put into their presentation.  I like that.

We were the first ones to arrive on Friday, so of course Z-girl spent the rest of the afternoon in the pool.  It was a little weird seeing all the parents, grandparents and girls in a setting other than the soccer field.  Soon the whole pool was filled with splashing, shrieking 11-year olds.  All shapes, colors and sizes- all getting along and having a great time.  OFF the soccer field.  I think this epitomized the true meaning of the word TEAM.

And the parents?  I consider myself lucky to be associated with this bunch.  I’ve made some lifelong, strong friendships with most of these people.  How often can you go away with twenty-eight parents, fourteen athletes, a few handfuls of siblings, a sprinkling of grandparents, a smattering of extended family and come out of the weekend exclaiming it was one of the nicest weekends you’ve ever had?  I don’t think the girls realize what they have, but I’ve spoken to the parents afterwards and they all agree- we’ve got something special and unique in our group.

So how did our girls do?  We played two games on Saturday- won one, tied another.  We played the elimination game Sunday morning and won, putting us in the championship, where we lost, finishing up the tournament in second place!  The girls played superbly!  There was a little drama (isn’t there always?) during the last game- a case of mistaken identity.  One of our other town teams, the older girls, pulled out of the tournament in the middle of the game because the other team was being uneccessarily rough and the referee wasn’t calling any fouls.  One of their coaches, in the heat of passion, cursed out the referee.  I think pulling the team is admiral- no trophy is worth the girls getting hurt. Anyway, one of our dads was mistaken for one of their coaches and was asked to leave the field.  Things were said, game was delayed, tempers flared, apologies were made, but I think it hurt our momentum a little and we lost the game.   It was okay- both teams took pictures together on the field and all the parents congratulated each other.  I organized (at the coach’s request) a victory tunnel with the parents (facing each other hands up and touching?) for the kids to go through because we were so proud of them! “2-4-6-8 Who do we appreciate? Panthers, Panthers, go Panthers!”  As the kids came out of the tunnel, they formed their own tunnel and started shouting, “2-4-6-8 Who do we appreciate? Parents! Parents, go Parents”.

Yeah, I’m tearing up as I’m writing it down.

It was my first time through a victory tunnel!  I, of course, cried on exiting.  One of the other town team parents congratulated the coach on winning.  She had walked over to see what all the yelling and celebrating was about.  Our coach said thanks, but we came in second.  It’s this team spirit- and it starts from the coaches on down to us, the parents- that makes it so much fun to be a soccer mom.

Coming in second didn’t put a damper on the weekend because all the girls knew that “We’re going to Hershey Park!”  We visited the park on Sunday night on a twilight pass then again on Monday.  I was a little leary going to an amusement park on a holiday weekend, but either the heat or the fact that it was the last day of the weekend kept the crowds away.  The kids were able to go on the rides over and over without a wait.  They dragged me on some roller coaster rides that freaked me out (The Wild Mouse) and I dragged Zombiegirl on her first looping coaster! (Sidewinder)  I fear she’s hooked!  The little thrill seeker is already planning on riding the Great Bear next year!

Unfortunately, due to the drama with the older girls, I don’t know if our team will be invited back next year.  I’m hoping we are.  Even though it was REALLY hot, we had a great time at the hotel, on the field and in the park with all our soccer peeps!

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