Road Trip Dad -
Dear Dad - Wish You Were Here . . .

Dan Witmer | August 5, 2015
Growing up on Long Island in the 60’s, our family usually took two-week camping trips to the Adirondacks every summer. We camped at Fish Creek Campground and spent days boating, swimming, making campfires, hiking, and taking day trips in to Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake, and of course, Lake Placid (usually on rainy days). My brothers and I loved the Adirondacks, and now, some 45 years later, I consider myself pretty fortunate to still be spending some of my summer in this area.

In fact, in July 1974, I took a summer job working at a Girl Scout Camp on Upper Saranac Lake. Camp Eagle Island needed some kitchen help, and I was at Fish Creek camping with my family when we heard about the opportunity. I remember my Dad’s encouraging words – “They’re offering to PAY you to stay up here for the summer!?!?” He said he was tempted to take the job himself if I didn’t want it.

Well, I took the job, which led to another job at a Girl Scout Camp in New Jersey the following summer, which led to the next seven summers working as assistant cook at another camp in the Catskills – where I eventually met my wife.

So hopefully you can appreciate and understand what working here in Lake Placid all these years later – with my sons, no less – means to me. And I truly wish my Dad could see us now… taking in the beautiful weather, scenery, and pace of life that LP has to offer.

And today as we watched the weather do some magic of its own, I thought of some of my Dad’s maxims about wet weather. In his words, we got some “liquid sunshine” today. It didn’t rain, you see; it was just a “heavy dew.” I found myself looking for the small patches of blue sky and optimistically exaggerating their size, speed, and direction.

Thanks, Dad, for teaching me to appreciate this beautiful part of New York; I wish you could be here with us this week to share in the experience.

There were eight more rounds of games yesterday, almost 95 games between 8:30 AM and 6:00 PM. It did rain two or three times, pretty hard each time, but it also cleared within 15-20 minutes, and by the time we left the fields around 7:30 last night you’d have to look hard to find a puddle.

With very few exceptions, everyone played their third and fourth games yesterday, setting the stage for everyone’s fifth and final games today, including championships in eight divisions. Here are today’s title games:

Boys’ 2016-2017 Gold - FCA National HS Team vs. 2016 Sweetlax National Team
Boys’ 2016-2017 Silver - 2017 Sweetlax National Team vs. FCA Super Sophs
Boys’ 2016-2017 Bronze - Niners U-18 vs. Western Royals U-17
Boys’ 2018-2019 Gold - 2018 Sweetlax National Team vs. LI Express
Boys’ 2018-2019 Silver - Flyers 2018-2019 vs. Albany Power Silver
Girls’ 2016-2018 Gold - Lady Roc 2017 Yellow vs. Baby Blues
Girls’ 2016-2018 Silver - Lady Eagles vs. Salt City Snipers
Girls 2018-2020 - M&D 2020 Black vs. Common Goal 2019 Orange

Four rounds of games (8:30, 9:40, 10:50, and 12 noon) will finish off the scholastic tournament, and then this afternoon we’ll see the “old men” come in to begin their tournament. All joking aside, the pace slows down considerably tomorrow afternoon, and I’m looking forward to a little less stress, fewer games per round, and lots of admiration and respect for men playing at the age of 55, 60, and even 65.

So the three-day, 90-team scholastic tournament ends today, just in time for the five-day, 155-team men’s and women’s divisions to begin. Bring it, guys and girls – I think we’re ready for you.

Oh, and by the way, we went to dinner at the Lake Placid Pub last night, where we had a great meal and a ton of laughs… the kind of night my Dad helped teach me to enjoy so many years ago at the Dew Drop Inn, Mustard’n’Custard, the Wawbeek, and The Saranac Hotel.

Ah, those WERE the days...

Drive carefully, everyone.

- Dan Witmer