The Mom Lounge | January 5, 2022

My ten-year-old recently played a hockey game at the Bill Jerome Arena in Devils Lake, North Dakota.  If you’ve never been to the Bill Jerome Arena, one of the first hockey arenas ever built in the state, it is a beautiful barn with curved white-washed trusses, natural ice, wooden bleachers, and an ice resurfacer (aka Zamboni) made out of a yellow tractor.  It is also the coldest place on Earth.

It’s so cold in the Bill Jerome Arena that if you say, “I’m going to the Bill Jerome Arena,” North Dakotans are legally obligated to say, “Dress warmly, it’s really cold there.”  How cold is it, you may ask?  Well, I was wearing boots and two pairs of socks and still walked (hobbled) out of there with frostnip on my toes.  FER REAL.

My situation was 1000% my own fault because the good people of Devils Lake – who really should start selling electric socks imprinted with the Hockey Association’s logo – built a two-story Mom Lounge heated to the temperature of Arizona springtime.  It was so warm and lovely in the Mom Lounge that my 6-year-old shed his jacket within the first five minutes of being inside.  I did not partake of the Mom Lounge because all the Grand Forks parents sat on the ice and I didn’t want them to think my momma raised a wuss (which she totally did, and I’m sure I’m going to get an email from her about this later).  Lesson learned.

Now, the Mom Lounge at the Bill Jerome Arena is not actually called the Mom Lounge.  It’s called the lobby or something, as is the case at every other rink out there with a similar space.  It’s also not only for moms; kids use it, as well as grandmas and (sometimes) grandpas.  For whatever reason, though, dads (and the majority of grandpas) will only come into the Mom Lounge during a game if they need to pretend to talk to one of the moms so they can warm up – which is why Mom Lounges are designed specifically for moms to sit and lord over everything and everyone in the rink.

All Mom Lounges have the same three features:

  1. Heat.
  2. The ability to seat two sets of 12-18 moms each without the sets intermingling. (These seats range from metal bleacher seats to padded stadium seating.  I’m surprised no one has lined up a bunch of pedicure massage chairs yet, but I guess they don’t want to deal with the splashing every time there’s a goal.)
  3. A glass divider between the Mom Lounge and the action on the ice.

I’m sure you’re thinking, “Obviously, there would be glass.  How else would the moms watch the game?”  There is an alternative, of course, which would be open balcony seating like at the opera.  (A “hockera,” if you will.)  However, the glass is crucial because it provides a sound barrier.  Except for loud cheers and whistles, the moms can’t hear the game, and the game can’t hear the moms.  Additionally, as noted, since the two sets of moms are not intermingled, if each group talks low enough they can only hear their own mom compadres and not those of the other team.  As a result, the moms are able to provide a murmured running game commentary to one another, which goes something like this:

Mom 1, not Jack’s mom: “Great pass, Jack.”

Mom 2, not Jack’s mom, either: “Attaboy, Jack.”

Mom 3, Jack’s mom: “Good job getting there, Liam.”

Mom 4, Liam’s mom: “They are doing awesome today.”

Mom 5: “It must have been all of that pool time at the hotel last night.”

[The moms laugh at a normal volume, and then return to a low tone.]

Mom 6: “Or the Gatorade powder in the goodie bags.”

Mom 1: “Those bags were really nice.”

Mom 2: “Yeah, I found them at Michael’s.  I had a 20% off coupon.”

Moms 3-12: “Nice.”

Mom 8: “Sometimes I have good luck at Hobby – WHOO HOO!  GREAT SHOT!”

[The moms cheer; one mom pounds on the glass.]


Mom 9, Nash’s mom: “GREAT TEAM EFFORT!”

Mom 2: “They were really working for that goal.”

Mom 5: “Everyone was in the right position.”

Mom 10: “I can’t get over how much they have improved.”

Mom 11: “We’re lucky to have such good coaches.”

Mom 2: “Look at how much those other coaches are yelling.  Terrible.”

Mom 4: “HEY, SLASHING!  These refs never call anything.”

Mom 5: “Except for Noah’s high-stick in the second period.”

[The moms laugh.]

Mom 10, Noah’s mom: “He can’t keep that stick down.  He used to walk around with it like a torch when he was a baby.”

[The moms laugh.]

Mom 3: “What’s the plan for dinner after this?”

I think we should consider instituting Mom Lounges in other aspects of our lives.  I’m sure my mother would love to sit behind a glass wall with her friends and watch me work:

“Look at her type!”

“She is so good on the phone.”

“She did like to talk a lot as a baby, hahahahahaha.”

I work at an architecture firm; if you start seeing these rooms pop up on plans, tell your mom.

The photo above is of the Bill Jerome Arena.  I should have taken a photo at the Devils Lake Walmart, where a kind gentleman insisted I go in front of him at the checkout because I only had two things and he had a bunch.  His “bunch” consisted of five items, so we gently fought about it for a few seconds.  Thank you, nice person at the Devils Lake Walmart; my son was happy to get that Gatorade a little bit sooner.

(PS: Want more hockey stories?  Click here and here and here and here and here.)

This week’s news has a boy named Liam (no relation to the above), a dog named Dreamer, and BABIES.  Read on.

Welcome to the world, Ashley Luna Olson of Willow City and David Sanchez II of Williston – the first babies born at Trinity Health in Minot, CHI St. Alexius Health in Williston, respectively, in 2022! (KFYR TV)

Welcome to the world, Jo’halaniJane Wolford of Bismarck – the first baby born at Sanford Medical Center in Bismarck in 2022! (Bismarck Tribune)

Welcome to the world, Decker Tobkin of Fargo – the first baby born at Sanford Medical Center in Fargo in 2022! (Fargo Forum)

Welcome to the world, Knox Bryan Walden of Leal – the first baby born at Jamestown Regional Medical Center in 2022! (Jamestown Sun)

I was following this story on social media and it is pretty upsetting, but has a happy ending thanks to a bunch of volunteers and kind-hearted folks.  An abandoned, hypothermic dog named Dreamer was found by Randy Spokely of Hillsboro, rescued and fostered by Journey Home Animal Rescue in Grand Forks, given emergency care by Red River Animal Emergency Hospital in Fargo, and financially supported by hundreds of donors. (Fargo Forum)

Six-year-old Liam Nebeker of Williston traded candy canes with family members in order to donate Christmas gifts to the Family Crisis Shelter. (KFYR TV)

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