Tournament Trials – Pools and Parties – pt 3

monkeyImagine if you condensed the sound of screaming monkeys in a hothouse jungle and put that in a can, then, when you were sick with a cold, exhausted from a traumatic ferry ride, and pretty much ready for bed, you popped that can open right in your ear….

Well, that’s what the pool party was like.

Thank Christ we forgot the water bottle.

Because we forgot the water bottle, we had to go get one and by getting one, I managed to only have to endure an hour or so of the pool party.

Oddly enough, I remember thinking, hey, cool, the motel has an indoor pool. How awesome is that? It was, like -150 degrees outside and there would have been no way the boys could have played in an outdoor pool

poolHowever, the indoor pool was in a small space that seemed to amplify the noise by about a thousand times. And man, can little boys make some noise. Forget standing by a speaker in a Metallica concert or cheering for Seattle in the Century Link field, those places ain’t got nothin’ on a pool full of 16 nine to ten year-old boys.

But the boys had such fun, even if it looked like a piranha feeding frenzy sometimes. They tried to drown each other. They cannon-balled in the pool.They splashed water out of the pool like they were trying to empty it (in fact, given another hour in it, I think they would have had more water outside of it than in it.)

Such things are fun made of.

With a few other parents, we lifeguarded the pool as best we could, though, if I am truly honest, I mostly looked out for the Youngest since his swimming technique is to flail his arms in the water and slowly sink to the bottom like a submarine.

Luckily the pool wasn’t that deep and, to his credit, he didn’t push his limits too much.

When a huge rubber floatie was thrown in the pool, the boys all tried to do their best impression of refugees on a makeshift raft. I think they managed to get about 12 on the damn thing which was not much larger than a coffee table.

I gotta say, I was impressed. This bodes well if we ever get hit with an epic, biblical flood.

One-by-one, the boys began to disappear, though, taken back to their rooms by their parents to get ready for supper. The Youngest was one of the last to leave. If he could have slept in that room, I think he would have, but we needed to get him showered and ready for the pizza party.

It’s one thing I’ve noticed about Atom level hockey. We do a LOT more things together. And that’s cool. The Youngest has begun to make good friends on the team, and has a blast when doing stuff with them. The pizza party was just another way for the team to bond. The plan, play a little mini-hockey, then chow down, then, I dunno, play more mini-hockey while the parents drank until they could stop their eyes from twitching or their hands shaking.

We ordered a ton of pizza. About 4-5 large slices for every boy. That should be enough, right? Right? While we waited for it to arrive in our official party room in the basement of the motel, the boys played mini-hockey.

mini hockeyHonestly, it’s a game that eludes me. I mean, you play with tiny sticks, on your knees, and try to shoot a ball into a goal the size of a recycling box. Even The Youngest, who may be the smallest on the team, fills the entire net. It’s a goalie’s dream. Just stand there and take shots to the face.

As far as I can tell, the rules are pretty simple. Whack another kid with your stick, push them over then knee-race with the ball to the goal, shoot on the goalie who will – big surprise – save it, then have both teams descend on the goalie and whack at that ball until it goes under a table or between someone’s legs (in which case, you whack harder). No passing. No real skill needed. All that’s required is you be able to be able to run on your knees. And yell at lot.

But the kids love it. I mean, LOVE IT.

When the pizza turned up, we found we’d severely underestimated what they would eat.  They went through those boxes of pizza like they would never eat, again. I’m pretty sure someone even took a bite out of the grease-soaked cardboard protectors. I had one piece of pizza. A few of the parents had none.

These were large pizzas, too. HUGE ones with meat and cheese. As I watched them stuff slice after slice into their mouths, I wondered if we should have kept them out of the pool. And locked in a closet.

And feeding them made them even more hyper. Like hyenas, they roared out of the room and into the motel, wielding mini-hockey sticks and screaming and laughing at the top of their lungs.

I can’t say I wasn’t a little scared.

fathersAfter the whole ferry incident, I was loathe to let them just have the run of the place. So, I had to be the uncool parent and tell The Youngest he has to stay with the adults and practice his math.

Ha, just kidding. I told him he could only play in the hall outside our party room.

A half hour and two beers later, I took a look into the hall. I had heard nothing for 5 minutes so either they had all been killed by a weirdly ricocheting ball, or had gone off to do mischief.

Guess which turned out to be true.

About Joe Cummings

Aquarius. Traveler. Gamer. Writer. A New Parent. 4 of these things are easy. One is not. But the journey is that much better for the new people in my life. A life I want to share with others, to help them, maybe, to make them feel less alone, sure, to connect with the greater world, absolutely.
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