I don’t know how to adequately describe this weekend. It was a blast, it was overstimulating, it was well organized, it was full of laughter, smiles, and lots and lots of gratitude. And it was all because the Roc’s hockey coach and the Denis Savard Foundation.
We have encountered some very awesome and very generous people because of the Roc.
The Roc’s special hockey team got an opportunity to travel to Chicago, attend the morning skates of both the Wild and the Blackhawks at the United Center, participate in a game against a special hockey team from the Chicago area, and then attend the Wild vs. the Blackhawks on Saturday night! Our travel, lodging, meals, and tickets were paid for by the Denis Savard Foundation. An amazing opportunity!
But first we had to get there! The Roc was excited to go and very happy to skip school on Friday. We met up with the team and boarded the bus.
I was a bit worried about the ride as the Roc doesn’t like crowds or loud noises and the bus was filled to capacity with the players, coaches/volunteers, and their families. I wrote to my friend Stimey about how to survive the bus ride and she gave me good advice. Bring the iPad. She also assured me that before her first trip she had been, “kinda flipped out about it,” but found that it was pretty mellow and fun. She was right. The Roc did well, there was a bit of complaining about the noise and amount of people, but he plopped on his noise canceling headphones and was much happier. I was happy that GC was also on the bus because we got to split our time and the second half of the trip I sat alone and read my kindle! They did fine without me.
After our long ride, a pizza party, and an hour and a half in the pool, the Roc and GC got in a couple games of Uno before bed on Friday night.
Saturday morning we had breakfast and then Denis Savard and John Carpenter (from the Denis Savard Foundation, who was instrumental in organizing our trip) came to the hotel to meet the kids on the Roc’s team. Unlike many of the other kids, the Roc didn’t want to take a picture with Denis, he just wanted to finish eating. I didn’t bring my camera down to breakfast, but one of the dads took pictures of all the kids, so somewhere there is a picture of the Roc smiling a forced smile as he leans away from Denis Savard!
We got back on the bus and headed down to the United Center to watch the morning skates.
It was amazing to sit right at the glass and watch the players up close. The Roc was enthralled and there were many, many smiles as I looked around at the other kids on his team. Some of the Blackhawks threw pucks over to the kids and they were overjoyed and ran to get them signed by Denis Savard.
We were able to see the whole morning skate for the Blackhawks and part of the Wild’s morning skate. I was hoping to get a few clear picture of Zach Parise, who used to play for the NJ Devils, the team I started watching with GC when we lived out East. I’ve always liked him, GC says it’s because I think he’s cute, but I maintain that my affection for Parise is because he is from Minnesota. I’m sticking to my story.
We left the Wild’s morning skate to go to the Roc’s game. He was nervous when he got there, telling us he didn’t know what to do. He doesn’t fully understand what to do when he’s on the ice, but there were a few helpers who gave him some direction. I know he enjoyed skating.
I loved seeing this on the score board.
All the players had a great time.
After the Roc’s game we headed back to the hotel to eat and then we were back on the bus to go to the game. Originally I wasn’t supposed to go to the game, but one of the volunteer coaches couldn’t make it at the last minute so I got his ticket!
We sat up high!
So I got to test the zoom on my lens.
It was a good game and the Wild won! Not long after the game started the Roc started to tell me he was tired. I couldn’t blame him, it had been a long day. He was very, very hard to wake up the next morning. But we had to be on the bus at 8 am to head back home.
One of my favorite parts of the trip was getting to know more of the players and their families. I went to every practice and game last year, but I didn’t talk to other families very much, and because GC helps the Roc with his equipment, I stay out of the locker room and don’t get a chance to talk to the players. Three days of togetherness changed that for me. I got to talk with other parents and get to know some of the players. By the end of our weekend it really felt like a team to me and I know it helped the Roc feel part of the team.
I am so thankful for all the different experiences we have had and all the wonderful people we have met.
We are rich in a way that counts.