In some parts of the country, Labor Day weekend signals the last weekend of summer. For others it's the last weekend before school resumes (not here, we start school in August and even in some areas, July!) And for some, it's the start of college football (GO BRUINS!)
In my world, it's the official start to hockey season. The Labor Day tourney always kicks off the new season. Tonight at 5:30pm hockey officially begins! The thrice-weekly practices. The scrimmages. The games. The tournaments. The travel. The eating-most-of-our-meals-out cause we're on the road all the time. The fun. The friends. The highs and lows of competitive hockey. The memories.
Kyle has been insisting that this is it. This is the end of the road. He is done playing travel hockey after this season. He will be a senior in high school next year. Moving on with his life. It is another passage.
He says this like it's so easy to give up something that has been a part of our lives now for more than a decade. He has grown up on the ice. Laced up his first pair of skates before his 5th birthday. Played his first game when he was 5. I remember when he began playing travel hockey and I would look at the midget parents and think, wow, they've been doing this a long time. Now I am a midget parent and staring down the end of the youth hockey road. It's hard to believe how quickly it's gone.
But we have one long season ahead. Trips to Las Vegas, Nashville and D.C. planned. Trips to the rink 3 times a week and games to be played. It will be a good season. One last chance for all of us to be together doing this thing we love. One last chance to watch our kids go out there and have fun. One last chance to tuck away the memories for a day in the future. When our kids go off and have their own kids to haul to hockey practice.
I am sad. But I am also happy for what this has brought me over the years. So many friends made. So many places visited. So much fun for all of us who have been touched by the youth hockey bug.
I will miss it.