Monday, March 12, 2012

If you want to be inspired...



We should be dreaming. We grew up as kids having dreams, but now we're too sophisticated as adults, as a nation. We stopped dreaming. We should always have dreams.
Herb Brooks




It was early in the season when my little guy came home from a Spud hockey game.  Each season if the team wins their game, the boys get invited into the locker room.  Its one of the smelliest locker rooms I've ever encountered, but you can't keep our kids out of there.

The "big" boys seem to understand the our "little guys" want to be just like them when they grow up.  So the big boys, will often give our littles their broken sticks.  But Colton, was especially thrilled when his favorite goalie, Chance Bitzer asked who was a goalie, and Colton said he was.  So Chance gave him one of his sticks.  Chance is known to give his sticks often to lots of kids.  

And with each stick given, a dream grows bigger.




Playing in the Minnesota State High School Hockey tournament is a dream that begins at a young age in our boys.  The tournaments draw crowds of around 19,000 people for each game.  The fans adore their teams.  The atmosphere is electric.  Tons of scouts come looking for recruits for the USHL, NAHL, or one of the major Divison I hockey schools.  

With win number one in the books, the Spuds, were looking for win number two to secure a spot in the Championship game.  Moorhead has yet to win a State High School Hockey Title. 

Friday afternoon, the Moorhead Spuds played the team from Hill Murray for their second game.  It was a nail biter all the way through to the end.  It was hard to watch, the intensity was palpable.  It was a physical and gritty game, leaving us more defensive, than offensive.  And when the last minutes wound down off the clock, we found ourselves with a tie game.  

In a heart stopping, gut wrenching overtime period, Hill Murray scored to end the Spud's bid for the Championship.  The boys were devastated.  



The next afternoon we played for 3rd place.  But the physical and emotional toll of the game from the day before left our boys out of gas.  They gave it all they had, but lost to finish the tournament in 4th place.  See more of the game photos at Spudhockey.  

BUT... there was a really big but... 


Just after the boys came out of the locker room and were loading their bus, Rick got on our shuttle and said he had to return to the venue.  There were a few more photos he needed to take after the championship game.  He encouraged us to be sure and watch the awards ceremony at the end of the tourney.  I was on pins and needles, waiting for the big moment.

Each year there is a special award given out to one outstanding player.  According to the Herb Brooks Foundation:


"The Herb Brooks award is to be given to the most qualified hockey player in the state tournament who strongly represents the values, characteristics, and traits that defined Herb Brooks. This prestigious award will commemorate the unending influence Herb Brooks had on the sport of hockey in Minnesota and throughout the world."



Back at our hotel, the Moorhead crowd gathered around their television sets.  And when the announcer spoke the winner's name, the entire hotel erupted into cheers.  The 2012 Herb Brooks award, was given to Moorhead's goalie, Chance Bitzer!  Coach Morinville did a lot of maneuvering to facilitate Rick going down to the ice to take these photos. 


Herb Brooks' son and daughter, Dan and Kelly, with Chance.  




But Chance wasn't done being honored.  He was also elected to the All-Tournament Team. 









There was a real hero's welcome waiting the team back at the hotel.  I had goosebumps when the crowd erupted for the second time.  The Moorhead fans gathered on their balconies, down on the floor, and anywhere they could find a place to see.  






But the accolades for Bitzer weren't quite over yet.  Sunday, the goalie of the year award was given out at the Mr. Hockey awards banquet.  The 2012 Frank Brimsek award winner, was Chance Bitzer.  

I think my favorite Herb Brooks quote has to be this one:

"You can't be common, the common man goes nowhere; you have to be uncommon."


Earning a spot in the State High School Hockey Tournament is exactly what being uncommon is all about.  We're proud of Bitzer, but equally proud of all of our high school team.  Together they dreamed a big dream. And inspired all of those around them, to dare to dream their own big dream.  




This little guy had his fill of hockey this weekend.  He has his goalie stick between his knees and fell asleep on the floor for over two hours.  I have no doubt his nap was filled with sweet hockey dreams.










11 comments:

  1. okay, i have tears in my eyes and i don't even know chance bitzer! what a story! his story is a testament to hard work developing his skills AND his character.

    too bad the team didn't win--that would've been the icing on the cake. still, not too shabby to come back to the hotel to THAT kind of reception!!

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  2. What a role model for your boys, Vicky! Such inspiring moments have to leave their marks on your sweet boys' hearts.

    This whole story gave me goose bumps and your last photograph shows how exciting it was for Colton. Thank you for sharing :-)

    Sending you loving hugs xo

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  3. Great post! So exciting and what a sweet picture of Colton.

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  4. What a great "hockey" post Vicky...in quotes because it is also a life post. I have tears too :) We are experiencing all of the lasts this year with our daughter (a senior), our 4th hockey player. What an amazing 15 years it has been and what a unique and close knit world we have had the privilege of being a part of. I love the wisdom of Herb Brooks and I will be forever grateful for what the game and families involved have added to our family. Keep sharing your boys stories so I can continue to relive the youth hockey years :) Lord bless you and keep you.

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  5. What a wonderful role model for your boys to look up to, Vicky. And, Colton even has Bitzer's goalie stick! I'm sure this will be a moment remembered for the rest of their (your boys, Bitzer and Moorhead) lives. Thanks for sharing this and congratulations to Chance Bitzer.

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  6. Sounds like a perfect time!

    xoxo
    Mimi

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  7. These are memories for a lifetime. Colton looks so sweet in the photo at the end. Congrats to Chance Bitzer too.

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  8. What an awesome experience! So happy for all of you.

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  9. That is such an amazing story.... WOW!!
    The picture of your son sound asleep is just too cute!

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  10. So many valuable things here on many levels.

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  11. A friend made mention of your latest blog entry, so I pulled it up and began to read. As I read I was filled with many emotions. I was proud that my son gives back the way he was given to as a young boy. I feel more pride for these alcolades than any trophy he has ever recieved. I feel lucky that he has been invovled with other young men that have also given so much of themselves, and let him be the recipient of praise and attention, for their collective effort. I also feel gratitude for people who take the time to praise him for his personal traits as well as his athletic traits. This praise further instills in him the value to always be a good person before everything else. It also serves as inspiration to other young men to do the same. Thank you for the kind words, and thank you for taking the time to make someone elses day. - Shane Bitzer

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I welcome what you have to say. Thanks for taking the time to grace me with your thoughts and words!

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