Happy Travels

Belated blog time! I am sorry to disappoint the two or three people who out of a sense of obligation read these blogs and have come to expect them each month, I dropped the ball.

Also apologies to the people who were expecting a political post about how I’m not trying to influence your vote and spending the next million words trying to get you to vote teal or Labor or anyone but Liberal. And you’re welcome to everyone else. You can bet if the Libs win there’ll be a few words shared though so get excited for that!

Anyway, this blog should have come out in April as it recounts a trip I went on in April. Over the Easter break, a bunch of Tasmanian hockey players scooted over to Moe, in Victoria, to compete in the inline hockey Australian Club Championship (ACC) tournament. We had Tassie teams dotted throughout the different divisions and I was fortunate enough to suit up for two of them, the Hobart Hurricanes and the Van Diemens – a masters (oldies – 35+) team. The cover pic is of the Hurricanes after we played another of the Tassie teams, the Bears.

This blog initially was going to be a diary of how the tournament went for me and I guess it still kind of will be, however I think that would be pretty boring for most people so I want to focus on one of the things that I noticed while I was over there.

Hockey can be an intense sport and tempers can flare and winning rules and losing can be hard, especially if you are getting caved in, but the overarching vibe I got from being in Moe was happiness.

To explain what this tournament looks like: There is one big rink in Moe, a town in the middle of nowhere basically. For the Easter break, players from all over Australia converge on this town and it’s state of the art rink and over four days the rink hosts well over 100 games. Teams are filtering in and out of the rink as they have games scheduled and hang around to support their friends. The stadium is a hive of activity. There’s literally always a game on, always a few teams gearing up in the “green area” and a few teams getting changed and debriefing after their game.

Over the four days, I played in 15 games of hockey, each lasting half an hour. So the majority of the time was spent watching hockey or hanging out with the team – meeting people, eating food, getting in the “solar heated” freezing pool to help our muscles recuperate etc.

Playing the games and generally milling around was great – everyone was there to enjoy the game of hockey, enjoy being on a trip, meeting fellow hockey nuffies and basically living out our hockey theme park fantasies.

The two teams I was on shared vastly different fortunes. The Hurricanes (we fielded a very strong team for the division we were in and arguably should have got a tap on the shoulder) managed to win it all and we came away with some nice silverware

The Van Diemens, the masters team, was a collection of wily veterans who did their best, but we were playing against teams made up primarily of Australian representatives, professional players and other high level skaters. We did manage to win a solitary game and that was honestly overachieving. We were way outclassed but I actually had more fun in those games, testing myself against some elite players and feeling like I did OK. There was even a highlight video of our game against the Sydney masters team which I’ll pop below so you can see how the games looked and how, one-sided, it was:

My favourite part however, was the sense of camaraderie between the greater hockey community there and specifically the Tassie tribes. We don’t have a full size rink here and our hockey base is certainly a lot smaller than the mainland but we are every bit as passionate and we do tend to acquit ourselves pretty well. In fact, Tassie teams won Division 3, Division 2, made up half of the team that won Division 1 and got absolutely last place in Masters.

The mainland players are so welcoming and encouraging for the Tassie teams and they love seeing us do well. We stick together and build each other up and are normally the loudest supporters in the building.

The atmosphere is so happy and supportive, it really is food for the soul. It made my heart happy to gather, in the rain, at our motel after all the games and share some time together – it really put such a great bow on an awesome trip

I especially enjoyed seeing the photo that we got of our team member Scott holding the trophy. I didn’t know Scott too well before the trip but he was an awesome teammate and seeing him light up once we won was so great, that picture was probably one of the most meaningful parts of winning for me

Perhaps even more that, this picture coming up below really captures what it’s all about. I have never met the fellow in the middle but a couple of the Tassie people knew about him and he is perhaps an unsuspecting hero. It might be fair to say that no one really expected him to be the player to step up but in the semi final for his team he scored winning goal in the shootout and in the grand final he had the winning goal in overtime. These two boys were so happy for him they had to get a pic as he skated off the rink even though he has no idea who they are. His smile is pure and it makes me happy every time I look at this photo

So I guess I don’t really have a direction or a point of this blog, other than to say why I enjoyed going away so much and what a hockey trip looks like. I want to do all the hockey trips.

There’s a lot of scary things in the world and so much to be anxious about and the future is as uncertain as its ever been. But look what happens when you get down to the community level and share passions and quality time and build each other up. There’s hope. And hockey. That’ll keep me going for a good long time.

Chat to you after the election,

Dan
Goalie
Hobart Hurricanes/Van Diemens