"You don't have to go baby girl. You can stay home, finish school and go to college if you want."
"But I'll disappoint daddy if I don't go."
"Nicki, baby listen to me" Karen said stopping her daughter from packing "this has to be your dream. Your dad will understand if you don't want to play hockey this way. If you still want to play for the fun of it, finish school and play in college. There's always the Women's National team."
"But this would be my chance to be one of the lucky girls to maybe get to play in the NHL mom."
"I know sweetie and I would love to watch you play at that level."
"Then let me go to Shattucks with Sidney."
Karen sat on the bed and smiled "you are so much like your dad."
"You say that like it's a bad thing mommy" she said as she continued packing.
"It's not baby girl, it's the best thing you could have learned growing up. You know, he might not show it because of how much he wants this for you and your brother, but he is so proud for you for wanting to follow in his footsteps."
Nicki sat back down on the bed "every time I watched daddy out there for games I knew I wanted to play like him, be like him."
"You already are baby girl" she said getting up and hugging her "but my little piece of advice to you...play like your dad, but be you." Karen kissed her daughter's head then left her to finish packing on her own. She headed downstairs and went into the kitchen to get something to drink.
"Is Nicki almost ready?" Sidney asked coming into the kitchen.
"Yeah, she's finishing up now."
"You're still not happy with all this are you?"
"I'm happy as long as this remains her choice, her dream Sid."
"Who said it wasn't?"
Karen turned around to face him "Sid, I know this is what you wanted for them ever since the day they were born. You said it yourself that you would never pressure them into this decision."
"I don't think I did baby."
"Yes you did. Every dinner conversation, every late night puck drills in the driveway before bedtime...that was telling them to do it your way."
"Karen, they're good. Their team won every tournament they've been in since they were 8. This should be a natural decision for them to want this."
"Well call me selfish but I'm not ready to let them go yet" she said walking away from him.
"I'm not ready either baby" he whispered to himself.
A half hour later, the bags were loaded into the car as was everyone else and they started the drive to Minnesota. Karen wondered why they weren't flying and Sidney responded to have more time with the kids. It was only a 14 hour drive from Pittsburgh, but Sidney decided they would stay somewhere close and finish the drive the next morning.
The next day, the Crosbys drove up to the school and Sidney parked the car. They got out and went inside to register before grabbing any bags.
"This is it Nic" Sidney told her "we are at the base camp for greatness to be like dad."
"I know. I was scared to want to do this, but now that we're here I can't wait to get started."
"Hey" he said stopping her "whatever happens, we have each other sis. We help each other and we both make ourselves great for dad to be proud of us."
"You think he'll be disappointed if we don't make it or want to come home?"
"Think about it Nicki, he wants this for us."
"But you have to want it for yourself too Sidney."
"I do sis but to be like daddy, come on. He is the greatest in the NHL right now with multiple Stanley Cups, all those scoring titles and records he's broken in his 20 years. I want that. I want to be up there with him."
"I just want the chance to play with daddy."
"Well this is where we need to make that dream happen. If we stayed at home and went to RMU after graduation, it would take us forever to get there. Even dad can't play forever. I also want to play on a line with him before he retires. We get that chance starting today."
"You're right Sidney. To be as great as daddy, we need to be where daddy started it all."
Karen looked back and saw the kids were 10 feet behind them "Sid, wait."
Sidney stopped and looked behind him "wonder what they're talking about."
"Don't know but I'm sure everythings ok with the smiles they have on their faces."
"Thank you baby."
"For letting this happen and not debating me about it. I can see the potential they have and if they stayed at home, it would be wasted. I just feel like they need this to advance."
"I never wanted to admit it to them or you but they do need this. Besides, they have each other." Sidney smiled and hugged Karen as the kids ran to catch up to them. They got them all registered and found their dorms. They got Sidney settled first before going to help Nicki in her room. After they were all settled, Sidney and Karen knew it was time to let go.
"I just want both of you to know how proud I am that you wanted to come here" Sidney told the twins.
"Thanks dad and we wanted to come here as much as you wanted us to."
"Sidney's right daddy, we both wanted to come here to start our dream."
Karen just stood there and smiled realizing what they were doing "you both are going to do great" she said hugging Nicki first then Sidney. "Take care of each other and if you need anything, we're just a phone call away."
"We love you mom" Nicki said hugging her again.
"Sidney, let me talk to you for a minute" Sid said moving them away "I know you said this was both your dreams and I just wanted to make sure that it truly is."
"It is dad. Nic and I have talked about it and we both want to get the chance to play in the NHL...with you."
"What?" Sidney asked in shocked.
"We know you can't play forever dad and we wanted this so we could get in the NHL when we both turn 18. We just hope to be on the same team with you."
Sidney grabbed his son and hugged him "you and your sister have made me the proudest father in the world."
They got out of their hug and went back over to the girls. Karen and Sidney told them goodbye for one final time and got in the car to leave.
As they were driving, Karen noticed Sidney was quiet and put her hand over his "what's wrong?"
"You won't believe what Sidney told me."
"They wanted to go to Shattucks to basically get better to be drafted in the NHL when they're 18 and they both want to play with me."
"I knew one day if I was still playing that I would get the chance to play against them but for my own children to want to play on the same team with me would be the ultimate dream come true."
"It sounds like they've thought about this more than you thought. But what are the chances that the Pens would get both of them. If they improve like you know they will, I think a few teams will want them."
"Then I find a way to make it happen."
"I don't doubt that you will" she told him and leaned over to kiss his cheek before putting her head on his shoulder to enjoy the drive back home to Pittsburgh.