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Trip to Lake Placid
It all started just knowing the right people in the hockey world. At the time, I played with a team out of Somerset, called the Wisconsin Fire, and the coach was Olsen out of New Richmond.
There was a hockey organization called the Minnesota Pride and my fifth grade year they made the Wisconsin Pride. Coach Olsen said that he would coach this team, so he picked out the best players that he knew in fifth grade and formed the Wisconsin Pride. This team would go to Lake Placid, New York and play where the 1980 Olympic team won the gold medal.
I was so excited when Coach Olsen called and asked if I wanted to be on the team. At the time, I had perfect attendance up until the call so, we were not sure if I was going to go and miss an entire week of school. My parents talked about it and thought that it would be a good opportunity, but instead of just going out to Lake Placid for hockey we would take a little mini vacation and go to New York City for a day. Thinking about it this way we all decided to go.
The day we got up and headed to the airport I was ecstatic. I had never flown somewhere to play hockey before. We drove up to the airport and gathered our luggage and went in to check into our flight. We checked in and gave the luggage and my hockey stuff to the check-in lady and watched it go down the moving ramp into the back, so the workers could put it on the correct flight. We went to the gate that we were assigned and sat for awhile until the captain starts to board the plane.
When the captain came out and started boarding, we gathered our carry on items and stood in line to get on the plane. When we showed the captain our tickets, we went onto the plane and found our seats. We sat for about 15 minutes and then started moving down the runway. We got faster and faster and then, just like that, we were off the ground and heading for Lake Placid, New York.
We landed about two hours later and got off and went to the baggage claim to get our belongings. We went to rent a car and then headed to the hotel.
The next day we went to the rink to play our first game against USA Metro and won. The second game was against the Kitchener Jr. Rangers. We won that one too and we were headed to the championship two days later.
Knowing that we had a day to kill we went to New York City. We decided to go by train instead of driving all the way there. We got on the train and got off at Penn Station and toured around New York City all day. It was so fun. There were so many people and huge skyscrapers. We went to Ground Zero to see what it looked like after 9/11. We walked up to it and there was nobody talking whatsoever. Everybody was paying their respects to what happened on that awful day in September. You could hear the honking of the cars in the background. When we left Ground Zero, we went to the Empire State Building. We found out that we could go the top, so we headed up. We had to go through lots of security because of what happened with the World Trade Centers. When we got through security, we hopped into an elevator and went up one 100 floor in less than ten seconds. We were flying up to the top. When the elevator doors opened we ran out to the railings to see over the edge. We were so high up and could see for miles. The people were tiny and the streets were filled with taxis that looked like little yellow ants. It was amazing.
The day was only half over and we wanted to do more things in “the city that never sleeps.” We saw the Statue of Liberty in the distance, so we decided to go there next. We got back on the ground and took the subway to a fairy company that took us down the Hudson River by Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. You don’t know how big the Statue is until you are right by it. It’s huge in real life. The fairy brought us back to shore and we took the subway back to Penn Station and we went back to the hotel in Lake Placid. The next morning was the championship game against the Minnesota Pride, so I needed a good night’s sleep.
The next morning I was ready to go. I got to the rink and was pumped to get on the ice. When the game started, we came out hard out of the gate and worked the entire game long. It was a close game, but we came out on top and beat the Minnesota Pride.
After the game, we went to see one more place before we got on the plane and went home. We went to the torch that was lit at the opening ceremonies of the 1980 Olympics. Honestly, it wasn’t as cool as it looked on TV. There wasn’t anything special around it. It was just an old torch standing there. It was still neat to be where all the 1980 Olympians were standing at the opening ceremonies, imagining what it had felt like being there ready to compete. We got back in the car to head back to the airport and go home.
Overall, the trip was a blast, playing hockey in a different state other than Wisconsin or Minnesota, going to New York City and spending quality time with my family. On the plane ride home I got all my school work done that I missed when I was in Lake Placid. Maybe, just maybe, I showed my parents that if I stay on top of my school work and that I can get out of school for something else in the future.