FLG Practice and Small Group Training was moved to Sunday last week, so I was finally able to attend. It took a few minutes, but I quickly got my bearings and was so into it. I have missed the girls and the coaches and of course I had been missing “coaching”. It was good to be back. I was home in time to mow the lawn for the first time this year (just in case you thought my life was all fun and GAMES). Then it was the Times Crossword puzzle and later on Game of Thrones (wow, what an episode!).
Monday, I worked out, got packed, got gas and headed to Newburgh, to pick up my Aunt Jane, who had said she wanted to go to Mercyhurst with me, for Tuesday’s PSAC Playoff Game against Millersville. The 6 plus hour drive from Newburgh to Erie, flew by (at least for me), as Jane and I got caught up on each of our lives and those of our families. We have always gotten along very well and have been able to talk to each other about so many different things. It felt really good to be re-connecting. We got into the Bayfront Courtyard in Erie just as it was getting dark.
Tuesday morning, we both worked out in the very nice Hotel Gym that allows you to look out onto Lake Erie and Presque Isle (which Jane said means “almost an a Island”, and that makes sense, since it is really a peninsula). After getting cleaned up, we went to “The Original Breakfast Place” for a terrific, hearty breakfast. I love that place. I drove us around the beautiful Mercyhurst Campus before we stopped into the Bookstore, where Jane exchanged the Shirt I had gotten her for a different size. I saw a couple of Diana’s Teammates in there, and my excitement for the upcoming game, began to build.
We drove down through town and eventually to Presque Isle. It was a chilly and bleak day, and we had really just eaten so it wasn’t too difficult to resist stopping at Sara’s for some Ice Cream – though as I sit here writing this, I am thinking it was a mistake not to have done so. We took in the natural beauty of Presque Isle as we drove around it. It really is a magnificent out there.
After a little bit of shopping, we went back to Mercyhurst for the Game! The usual Laker Nation was out in pretty much full force and in fact, was bolstered by the addition a large contingent of students, who showed up to support the Lady Lakers. After, what I thought was a sharp pregame warm up, the game was scoreless for quite sometime before the Lakers went up 1-0. The contest was a defensive struggle throughout and Millersville took a 4-1 lead into halftime. Though I was still confident they could win, I did begin to wonder if this was going to be Diana’s final college game. It certainly was not how I thought it would be. Mercyhurst had beaten Millersville a couple of weeks ago 10-7 on the road, but this Marauder team was well prepared and believing they could pull the upset.
As they have done a number of times this year (and many more times, in the past 4 seasons), the Lady Lakers put together a gritty second half outscoring Millersville 6-1, and coming away with 7-5 victory. It was a gutsy performance. Like a Pitcher in baseball, who doesn’t have his best stuff, but hangs tough and finds a way to get the job done. An accumulation of little plays (groundballs, tough rides, relentless defense all over the field) allowed Mercyhurst to gain the lead, wrest control of the pace of the game and ultimately, to finish it off. As the final horn sounded, and the Lady Lakers rushed to swarm their Goalie, I breathed a sigh of relief.
As the players walked off the field in two lines ( I love that) toward the home crowd waiting for them at the corner of Tullio Field, my emotions surged, as I realized this is likely to be the last time, Diana and her Senior Teammates (and their parents!) would get to feel this. I was so happy to be there in that moment – part of the Laker Nation, the Laker Family.
Afterwards, I picked up another large bin of no longer needed clothes from Diana, to be brought home. I cannot imagine there is too much more stuff remaining! Diana, Jane and I went to “The Stone” for dinner. Our waitress explained that the service might be slow, since Millersville had placed a large takeout order – I thought of the Marauders and their long bus ride back. They had done a great job and thrown a big scare into the Lakers (and their fans!). Truly great competition, requires great opponents, so thank you to Millersville. Without their efforts the memory of this event would not be nearly as special.
The ride back to Newburgh, yesterday (Wednesday), also went by swiftly, as we discussed so many things. Along the way, we got the word on where the team would be staying this weekend in West Chester, on the next leg of this journey. I made hotel reservations over the phone at a gas station (I am not sure where). Both sets of grandparents will be making the trip for Friday’s PSAC Semi Final Game against East Stroudsburg. I have many things to do before that game, but I am already thinking about it. Mercyhurst has now won 9 consecutive games and though it has not always looked good, they keep finding a way – I really think they can do this!
I was a bit sad to drop Jane off and resume my solo travels. But it had been a great trip on so many levels. And we both pledged to do a better job of staying in touch, which I will absolutely do.
The rest of the trip home, was fairly uneventful and I made it home in time for some dinner (thank you Elise) and some Stanley Cup Playoff Hockey, with Karl. I could barely stay up for the end of the game, as exhaustion finally set in. I have a Dentist Appointment in 45 minutes, and must get going.
Next Stop – West Chester!