The calendar tells me that it has been a long time since I have
written, but the events of the past several weeks has made the weeks
seems like days.
trip north and west to the ends of Michigan was a complete success,
and to the City of Ironwood, I have to hand out the SNOW TOLERANCE
Inside the arena someone had posted a graph showing the annual
snowfall for the last ten years. Although this year had not quite
made the record books, the 275 inches (7 meters) of snow was impressive
to say the least.
Some of the snow in the picture can be attributed to snow that
was cleared from the arena roof, but there is still a significant
amount of snow that was just hanging around.
Most of the driveways that we saw in the city consisted of tunnels
cut through walls of snow. The walls ranged from six to nine feet
high (2 to 3 meters). It was also quite obvious that it takes some
type of special equipment to clear a driveway, or a sidewalk for
And what about the tribe you ask?
First, let's talk transportation.
designated team Airline, is given the NORTHWORST STUPID AIRLINE
AWARD, for non-service, below the call of any perceived duty.
To begin, the games were to be played in an arena 600 plus miles
north of Detroit. In order to save a day of working, some of the
parents, and almost all of the team, arranged to fly to the nearest
city to Ironwood, Houghton/Hancock, Michigan.
Now, mind you, it was only about 30 seats we occupied on the airplane,
but they were 30 important seats to our team.
NW evidently didn't think they were important seats.
The flight was supposed to leave on Thursday morning at 9:15 am,
and arrive sometime around noon. This gave the parents time to get
their rental cars and drive the 110 miles in time to arrive for
the first practice at 4:00pm.
On Tuesday night at approximately 6:00pm, one of our parents became
the recipient of the PARANOID PARENT award, for calling the airline,
"just to make sure everything was ok."
up and decided, to cancel the flight.
They also neglected to call anyone to let them know about the change
in plans, and they gave no reason to us for their actions. Between
the hours of 10 and midnight, I finally found a supervisor located
on the west coast who went out of her way to try and find an alternative.
The team and parents ended up flying to Duluth Minnesota, obtained
new rental car reservations, and drove the 111 miles to the rink,
and got there in time.
After all of that, the tribe did well - but not good enough for
were almost 500 teams in competition for this particular league
championship, and the Dakota came in 3rd place in the State. We
won our first game on Friday morning, and the players and parents
breathed a sigh of relief. However, the next game was just 5 or
6 hours later, against a team that we did not expect to beat. We
beat them in a stunning upset.
We all entered the arena on Saturday for game number 3. The general
thought was that we were playing the team that had the best chance
at winning the championship.
Offense met my son on defense and we almost closed them down with
a win. Almost. In the last minute of the game they scored a goal
and tied the game.
players were crestfallen, because we had led for most of the game.
I on the other hand, was about to go crazy, pacing in my photographic
perch, just hoping that we could hang on for our last period. A
win would have been glorious, but I was happy with a tie.
Sunday morning brought us day three of blue skies and 40 degree
temperatures, turning parking lots into the worst combination of
a rutted roads, slush and giant ponds of water. I walked into the
rink with a sinking feeling in my stomach, for we were about to
play the game before "THE GAME."
We were beaten 6-1, the first loss in about 25 games, and the worst
loss of the entire season. Eliminated in the Semi-finals, we tried
to take consolation in the fact that the fourth ranked team also
lost to them, by the score of 6-1.
And the rest of the story?
A long drive home, a couple of more games in the following two
weeks for other titles, and the season ending as:
Michigan Armature Hockey Association Semi-Finalist (3rd)
Little Caesars Semi-Finalists (3rd)
Little Caesars League Champions
Southfield League Champions
We were back only two days and my son started running track at
the High School. Last week one of the coaches suggested that the
team sign up for "spring hockey."
You think they did?
It's only 10 more games.
I'm going to have to speak to my son about laying around and playing
so many video games.
Kids these days, you'd think they would go out and play like we