Ready...set...go - ATL
It's been years since I have been to the SGAA duel deck here in Snellville, GA. The place hasn't changed much, which is a good thing because it was always a comfortable facility to run an event.
So, let's set the stage for the weekend. I arrived here on Thursday night and Joe B met me at the airport. It was pretty easy to spot him with the TORHS2Hot4Ice trailer taking up most of the walkway at the airport. We then decided to go eat close to our hotel. We made it to Longhorn Steakhouse by 9:50pm...one problem...they close at 10pm. Joe is one of those guys where he believes "if they say they are open til 10, they are open til 10." I had to let him know that that still doesn't mean that the employees of that restaurant will appreciate you coming in at that time. I had to remind him, "remember, they are making our food and we can't see them!!" So...we walk in and the hostess gives us major attitude. We sit down and I talk him into leaving. We explain why to the waitress and she is the nicest person EVER!! She tells us that she has to stay late anyway so "please stay." We did, and the entire staff was very pleasant for the rest of the night. I don't know if I would do it again, but the dinner was awesome. We spoke at dinner about nationals and teams coming from down south to Aston, PA. The feedback here so far has surprised me and as we spoke at dinner, we didn't know what to expect from our southern markets. We also spoke about entertaining a pro division at our Pittsburgh regional which is truly one of our greatest and largest regionals of the year. Just a thought! We really don't even know if we can fit another division into that tournament but it would be a great warmup for nats!
We made it to the hotel and had to get to bed because we had to report to the Eagle Brooke Country Club for the annual Lizard King golf tournament that we signed up for. We get there in the morning and our team is set and ready to go. The only problem was that I DON'T PLAY GOLF!! I've played once in the past six years and that was pure entertainment!! After the first two holes...my team continued to take my strokes as I couldn't handle the pressure anymore and didn't want to embarrass anyone with my skills!! They call me the Tiger Woods of Buffalo, NY and I was absolutely astounded that the fans didn't come out in great numbers and would have to be roped off when I was up to take my shots. So, the depression got to me and I just sat on the golf cart and rode the course. I was even all set to sign autographs following the event- but unfortunately that wasn't the case. I even had my special sharpie!! Anyway, it was 18 holes of fun!! Tim Harrington and The Tour Lizard Kings put on a great show with prizes, food, a beautiful course, and a well-planned and organized event. They are truly a great organization. We will see them in Aston, PA for nationals and we can't wait. They have some of the sickest jerseys as well.
So, later that evening, we got to our next hotel, picked up Charli, planned to eat before setup and arrived at Wing City Grille. I will NOT go into anything but I will say that these wings were the WORST i have had in a while. Charli didn't have any because she's trying this "healthy eating" thing. Who does that on hockey weekends? I wish I could, but come on Charli, step your game up!! haha. We set up, even though we were all tired to the max and had more to complete this morning.
So...here we are. The rink is buzzing and we have games going on both rinks. Merch is set up and games are running smoothly. This is an interesting market down here in the ATL as I have not been down here for a while and nationals is a hike, but the feedback from these teams is AMAZING. They are asking questions about the event, about dates, the facility and all that jazz which leads me to believe that the showing from down here will be tremendous. George Goodwin from the Gladiators is around all weekend, the Bulldogs are here, Lizard Kings are showing off their new white jerseys. Knuckleheads from Tennessee are always good to have down here in Georgia as well. Jerry Feacteau is causing a ruckus at the merch booth already but he brings up a good question- why don't our age divisions in roller have the same names as those in ice hockey. I honestly couldn't give him an answer.
All in all it's a great time so far. The sun burn Joe has on half of his face makes it look like he just bought a new top half of a head. Bottom half is red, the top is pale white!! It's a great look. Good idea wearing your hat backwards on the golf course on a bright sunny day, huh? I don't have that problem!! ;) Big shout out to Mama Culp, mother of John Culp who use to play out of this rink and has now moved to Raleigh, NC. She's always been a great supporter of ours and loves to hang out at the rink. We have some of the best talks and it's great to see her after years of not coming to the area, personally.
As we get closer to nationals, I'm continuously racking my brain for ideas to put on TORHS2Hot4Ice TV this year. If you have any suggestions, feel free to shoot them to me, or if you want to help out...do that as well!
Talk to ya soon from ATL!