Away games are like packing for vacation

Tara Seymour

About the Author

Tara Seymour

Tara Seymour lives in Hershey with her husband, Mark, and their three hockey-playing daughters, Emily, Shea and Darby. Tara coaches field hockey at Hershey Middle School.

Tripped over three ice hockey bags of equipment lying on the basement floor while I was working on reducing the size of the family wash basket. It’s the girls’ responsibility to get their bags from the car to the basement and then unload their bags on the floor. Often there are three hockey bags sprawled open, airing out their contents. There seems to be more equipment on the floor than could possibly ever fit in their backpack bags.

I found myself mentally tallying the price tag of all the gear. Outfitting three girls as well as paying hockey fees, hotel and travel bills could equal a few mortgage payments.

We have been able to accumulate a few hand me downs, but as they grow I find we are purchasing more and more equipment brand new or gently used from Craigslist or Play it Again Sports. The ice hockey skates seem to carry the biggest price tag. Once the girls find a brand they like we typically buy the same brand, just increase the size. Once our youngest grows out of her equipment, it goes in storage to be used for new players wanting to give ice hockey a try.

When we feel the equipment has had adequate time airing, it’s packed up in the bags and stored on hooks in the basement. I have to admit, the contents of the bag are aired more than they are washed. The girls never complain about the smell (parents … we all know that smell!) but they do gripe about having to carry their own equipment. One of us usually helps put it in the car, but once we are at the rink it’s not cool for mom or dad to be walking in with the backpack.

I think travelling to an away game is comparable to packing for vacation. I cringe at the food provided by most snack shops at the rinks and make an effort to pack enough healthy food for the ride down and back (including 2 water bottles each … no soda). We also pack entertainment as well: iPods, Nintendo DS, computers, phones, etc.

Everything is great until we pull in late at night, and I feel like I’ve spent a week at the beach and unloading the car will take several trips. (When all I really want to do is warm my feet and start on that wash pile.)

It’s all worth it … the money and effort … when you see how exhausted and sweaty they are coming off the ice - the friendships formed with girls from different communities and walks of life – and the memories they are making through ice hockey.

Enjoyed your post, Tara. We face the same challenge with our son's lacrosse equipment, but at least we have a more temperate season and can leverage the driveway on a sunny day. Hockey? Not so much.

We're discussing hockey and lacrosse equipment maintenance over the next month or so on our blog at We'd really love to hear your thoughts there, too, especially when Michelle Ronholm chats about her young hockey guy!


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