UAF Nanooks

Thursday, March 11, 2010

On the Road: Dion Knelsen

It's Wednesday night in Marquette, Michigan. I've been asked to write a blog about the road trip so far, and I'm not going to lie, I have no idea what to write. We really haven't done much. It's been pretty "business as usual," but for those who don't know what that means, I guess I will go ahead and explain.

We took the Red Eye out of Fairbanks Monday night/Tuesday morning, and arrived in Green Bay Tuesday afternoon around 4 PM (central time). We dropped off our stuff at the hotel, and pretty much went straight to the home arena of the Green Bay Gamblers USHL team for practice. To be honest, as much as I love hockey, it's usually not your first instinct to hit the ice after spending ten hours on airplanes and getting a combined total of three hours of sleep (if you thought putting your altitude-induced elephant feet into shoes was tough, try putting them into skates), but it's obviously the prudent thing to do heading into a weekend series. It's funny, though. Everyone always feels awful at the start of those fresh-off-the-plane practices, but you actually end up forgetting about all those factors after about fifteen minutes and you feel pretty good. It's kind of refreshing. So practice ended up being alright. There didn't seem to be any ill effects from the travel at all.

After that we went for a 9 PM supper at the Prime Quarter Steakhouse. You pretty much get to choose any cut of steak you want and then cook it yourself on a massive charcoal grill. It takes a long time, but everyone considers it well worth the wait when they are eating their huge ribeye or filet mignon. Yeah, we all love the road trip experience (after the flights). We get treated so well. For the rest of the night we all just did our own thing (which for most guys meant "sleeping").

Today we woke up around 8:30 for breakfast. We went to the "full breakfast buffet" at the hotel which offered a wide variety of filling breakfast entrées, including cereal and instant oatmeal. Nobody has a problem with free food, it's just less of a thrill when fruit loops are your only source of energy before practice.

Still, practice was great today. There's not much that can cause us to have a bad practice at this point in the year. The guys are so focused. There's not a lot talking about it, but we all know that we need to be solid in practice this week and have our best weekend of the year if we want to go to the Joe. The playoff butterflies are in the air. Just thinking about the Joe, and now the potential of a national tournament birth gives most of the guys goosebumps. I'm getting pretty anxious to play. Still, everyone knows that the key is to focus on the process and not the results, so we all pretty much have to force our thoughts onto the present and forget about possibilities. Regardless, this is the best part of the year. Who doesn't love playoff time?

We then drove to Marquette from Green Bay, which took us about three and a half hours. We then had a very nice dinner in the upper room of our hotel, the Landmark Inn (an incredibly classy and expensive looking place that is apparently haunted. Look it up) and then were given a few hours to relax. We really do get spoiled.

Later in the evening we went bowling as a team. For humility's sake, I'm not going to go into detail about my team of Andy Taranto, Dustin Sather, and Scott Greenham winning the combined team score event and subsequently earning desserts for ourselves tomorrow, but we absolutely dominated. Actually, we barely slipped into first. It was pretty close between us and Cody Rymut, Coach Meisner, Derek Bradish, and Adam Cardwell's team. There are a lot of good bowlers on the team, especially considering most guys only go once or twice a year. I think everyone had a lot of fun.

Tomorrow, we have a 9 AM breakfast and a 5 PM practice with nothing scheduled in between. That means around seven hours of guilt-free time killing. We are going to have to find something fun to do.

In the evening we will have a video session and then we will all attempt to get a good night's rest before the first big game.

That's about the gist of what goes on while we are away from Fairbanks. Thanks for reading, but better yet, thanks for the support of the team as we set out to bring a championship to Fairbanks.


Go Nooks!

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