We left Friday for the weekend’s “Mite” tournament in Rapid City, South Dakota. The weather was HORRIBLE on the way there. Thank goodness it’s only a two hour drive. I wasn’t sure we were going to make it! Of course by Saturday it was 50 degrees and beautiful, go figure!
The tournament was a BLAST!! Nothing better than watching 4-8 year olds play hockey! There’s quite an age span there and some of the younger kids look SO tiny in their little hockey uniforms! So CUTE!!
Joey played VERY well!! At practice he has two buddies from school who tend to keep him (and themselves) distracted so he doesn’t put much effort in to it. They didn’t attend the tournament so he was a lot more focused. They had 3 games on Saturday and one on Sunday morning. They play 30 minute games rotating 4 kids in and out every 3 minutes. I am too tired to do the math so someone else can do it and tell us all how long that means each kid on a team of 13 kids plays! LOL I felt bad for the other teams, they didn’t have near the number of kids so their kids had a lot more playing time and had to be exhausted! Joey was exhausted even with rotating in and out.
Joey is still not 100% comfortable with his skating so he’s not as fast as some of the other kids who’ve been playing since they were 4 (this is his first year). Even so he did an amazing job of getting in there and really putting in an effort. On Saturday evening he made a goal! His very first goal!! They had a fight for the puck at the goal and he hit it in! The announcer couldn’t see which kid hit it in so they said a different member of his team did. He was a little heartbroken about that. But the people in the stands saw it was him so we made a big deal of it!!
At this age they don’t keep score, they just announce who made the goal, it’s a good way to keep it totally centered on fun. Of course the kids know who is winning, but we try to keep it a fun atmosphere and not competitive.
There were 4 teams, two from the Rapid City area (I assume that includes Spearfish and the surrounding areas as they are called “Rushmore Hockey Association”), Gillette (us), and Casper, Wyoming. By Saturday night the Gillette and Casper teams had really badly beaten the Rushmore teams several times. We were supposed to play one of the Rushmore teams on Sunday morning as was Casper, but the poor little Rushmore kids were really bummed, they hadn’t managed to score but about 3 goals all weekend, so the organizers changed the schedule around and had Gillette play Casper. It was a bit of a blood bath to be sure. It was an intense game and just a lot of fun to watch!! I think Casper beat us pretty badly, but it was fun to watch the kids play a team they were so evenly matched with!! Some of those kids are just amazing hockey players! Casper and Gillette take their kids hockey pretty seriously. You could really see how serious the Casper team and their spectators took the game. The parents in the stands were A LOT more intense than we were. Our coaches focus more on stick handling and skating at this age and less on the actual ins and outs of the games, where Casper obviously focuses on all of the aspects. I’m not sure one is a better approach than the other as both teams really did very well. Next season Joey moves up to Mites and they definitely focus on the aspects of actually playing games, so we’ll see how he does.
Our kids start at age 5 here instead of 4. Some of the 4-year-olds from the other towns were amazingly talented but looked SO small! 🙂 It was VERY cute!
Joey’s not overly sports oriented. He is an active kid so he could do really well at a sport if he applied himself. Up until now he hasn’t found one he really wanted to apply himself to, this time is different, he enjoys hockey and really tries to do well at it.
He wants to play soccer this year after skipping last year so we’ll see how he does with that. I try to encourage him when he wants to try something because he’s such a creative kid he’d spend all his time inside if he didn’t do some kind of organized sport. So even if he stands in the outfield watching butterflies, at least he’s outside and doing something outside. :o)
We stayed in a hotel with a water park, it’s a fun hotel. It’s fairly expensive but worth it. It’s nice to stay in a hotel geared toward kids so you know you won’t have to worry about people complaining about your kids being too loud! I kept the water fun pretty limited so he didn’t get super run down, they had about an hour Friday night, and about 4 hours on Saturday. My nephew went along for the trip and both boys were fully exhausted! My nephew wants to play hockey next year, he’ll probably really enjoy it and do very well. He’s definitely a sporty kid! :o) It amazes me how different the two boys are! Logan is very in to boy stuff, cars, trucks, sports, etc… but he’s VERY shy. I do mean VERY, so much so he didn’t start school this year. His birthday is right on the cut off and he’s just so shy his pre-school teachers felt holding him back one year would give him a better chance of doing well in school. Logan is quietly ornery, he’s got such a quiet demeanor, if he’s getting in to trouble he’s doing it very quietly and if you don’t know him you’d completely miss the fact he’s doing anything wrong at all! Joey on the other hand is in your face all of the time! They are so much fun to get together! A weekend is definitely plenty though, they feed off of each other and really wore me out!
Elizabeth went along and she’s feeling better but still not 100%. She’s very tired from the weekend as well and has slept a lot since we got home yesterday afternoon. She played in the water a bit at the water park , they have a little river that has a shallow enterance. We just sat there and she splashed and tried to figure out why her feet looked so funny! LOL It was super cute of course!
In other news, my cousin Michelle (well, I say cousin but she’s not blood, her parents and mine have been best friends since high school so they are family) is a Senior at MSU Billings, she plays basketball. To say “plays” is a bit of an understatement as she really just dominates the court. She’s an AMAZING basketball player. She’s been playing since she was about 5 and it’s been the center of her world since the first day she stepped on to the court. She holds a lot of records at MSU Billings. This is her last season under NCAA rules, she can only play 4 years. She’s going for her masters but won’t be able to play so she’ll be coaching instead. They played the NCAA Heartland Conference in Texas this weekend and WON the conference! She was a powerhouse during the conference and has been chosen as the Heartland Conference player of the week many, many times.
Here’s a link to a story on the Heartland Conference game: http://www.heartlandsports.org/news/basketballwomens.shtml
Michelle has a stress fracture in her foot. Two weeks ago was her last home game of her career. Because she’s a Senior she along with another girl were honored that night. We went down for the ceremony and game. She was forced to choose between playing Senior Night and playing the conference as it’s just a matter of time before her foot requires surgery. She of course made the choice to hold out for the conference which was a devastating blow. She more than made up for it this weekend. Early in the last game of the conference she separated her shoulder but she played through the entire game. The conference trainers said they’d never seen anyone so tough. She is just determined to end her college career playing every single second, it would take an act of God to keep her benched at this point. They go on to NCAA nationals in a couple of weeks. Her first year playing for MSU they went to nationals and were shut out early on, they don’t plan to allow that to happen this year and I know Michelle will do everything it takes to end her career on a win. Oh, and FYI, she’s also an honor student. She went to college on a full ride scholarship for basketball but if she hadn’t gotten a basketball scholarship she would have gotten an academic one for sure. Joey and my nephew love her and really look up to her and they couldn’t have a better role model, they were both so proud to be able to be there to support her on Senior Night!! Here’s her MSU stat sheet: Michelle Lieber
My parents and hers are sad to see her basketball career coming to an end. Her parents and brother have very rarely missed a game in all of the years she’s been playing. That includes away games. My parents make a large number of her home games and went to Hawaii for a tournament right before Christmas. We are all her biggest fans and we’ll all be sad to see that end. She doesn’t plan to play after college at this point. I can’t imagine what it must be like to see such a significant part of your life coming to an end but her spirits are high and she just plans to go out fighting!