It ended with as little fanfare as it began.
Seven years ago I peeled out of a church service. Drove to Rockville and watched my girl skate around the ice like a baby giraffe; unsure of her legs and wobbly in all the parts of her body. Last weekend, we packed her back into our trusty steed (the gold minivan of her whole hockey career) and played the last game for the foreseeable future.
She lost the baby giraffe look long ago. Now she is commanding in net, sure of her body and how to use it to keep the other team from collecting points. She can't stop everything, but she can do quite a bit.
It's been a long strange trip, involving thousands of miles, camps each summer and an endless routine of practice, games, tryouts and training.
Her father photographed most of it. I was fortunate to manage a couple of her teams; so you could say, I managed about half of it. Managing was another round of form collecting, e-mails, information distribution.
We are all both sad that this is over and excited to see what is in store for us next. I, honestly, never thought it would last this long. I didn't know then the firey passion that could bloom in ice.
It is the end of a family era. One we enjoyed and even loved. Whatever will we do now?