Dealing with hockey cuts

This is my 9 year old son’s 3rd year of playing hockey. He started at the 7 and 8s level and we got to watch his quick transformation from the awkward kid on the team who could barely stay on his feet to being one of the team’s top scorer and player the very next year. Not bad for having no skating experience at the Timbits level.

This year, Kenyan entered 9A1 tryouts with a high expectations.  Unfortunately he was cut in the first batch. He was not fazed as he wanted instead to make the A2, a goal that many, including his parents, thought was a given. Watching him in his practices, I saw nothing to suggest that he was behind the other skaters.  In fact I was certain he was in the top 10.  Alas, I was just a parent. What do I know?

Today, he was handed his letter to open in the privacy of the car. We all knew what it would say so I had him read it aloud.  “Thank you for trying out but you have been cut from the team.”

I thought it was a joke. I looked at his face frozen in shock.  No! How? He had worked his butt off, overcoming some obstacles on the way like unknowingly skating with a broken skate on his first tryout then having to borrow a bigger skate for his next one, then today skating with a recurring groin pain.  Through it all he barely complained, although as a dad, I could tell that something was off. He still managed to hold his own.

We sat in the parked car on the driveway for a long time with the tears streaming down his face.  I felt for the little guy.  He looked at me and said he no longer wished to continue.  We discussed maybe seeing if it was still possible to play indoor soccer.

My knee-jerk reaction blinded me to a perfect teaching moment and I rushed to the computer to request a refund and ask his soccer club if there was still time to join an indoor team.  The answer was faster than the response for a refund.  “Yes, we will take Kenyan.”  (Even though registration was long closed). 

Kenyan plays soccer in the summer and hockey in the winter.  He was his team’s top scorer and his old teammates transitioned to indoor soccer.

After chatting with Amie and my buddy Curtis, I was able to look at this setback without the daddy glasses. I even did some research on how to deal with getting cut from tryouts for kids and also parents.

As I went to give the boys their nightly hugs, I sat Kenny down on my lap.  I told him I wanted to apologize for my  irrational behavior. I explained that a ref or coach’s decision is always right and should be accepted.  They might be contrary to our own but it is what it is.  I explained the Michael Jordan story, him being cut from his college basketball team and other sports superstars who were deemed not good enough.  

Then it was time for the real question.  “Son, do you really want to be a hockey player?”  He said yes.  “Then take this as a blessing in disguise.  Go on this A3 team and own it! Be the best player, not just a supporting cast.  Learn and strengthen your weak areas.  Your skating was as good as any but maybe your shot was not big enough? Work hard on that then at the end of the season let’s revisit.  You are only 9 years old. There’s nothing to stress about. Go have fun!”  As I planted his goodnight kiss on his forehead I added, “I love you no matter what.”  

Yes, it’s just a game and the kid is a kid. Sure enough two hours later he was back to his normal self.  If the kid really wants this, then this could not have worked out any better.  A chance to be the big man on campus. Show the coaches what they missed.  Have a good season, buddy!

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The Ping Pong Table

Image result for ping pong clip artLast December, I finally got the kids a ping pong table for the basement.  Ok, you got me, it wasn’t exactly for the kids, it was more for me.  I love ping pong and always wanted a table.

So here I was, ping pong table in the basement and the family playing up a storm.  It was a great idea as the boys would play ping pong more often than they played video games.  I was the ping pong champion in the house and we would set up tournaments which I won handily.  It was a given.  I even beat our Chinese student! With his fancy Chinese-style serve, spins and all. Told you I was good.

All that changed last week.  Over the last few months, I noticed that my 8 and 10 year olds were winning the odd game but chalked it up to my lack of focus or just having a bad game.  Then last week we had a tournament just the 3 of us and was shocked by losing 3 games to the older boy! Three straight games!

Losing is not something I take well at so I was not satisfied with the outcome but after rematches and rematches, which I lost, I conceded that the torch was passed and 10-year old Mikhail was the new ping pong champion of the house. Sad. (As Trump would tweet)

I am comforted with the fact that I still could win the odd game between myself and the 8-year old but that too seems like it would end soon.  As they look at me sulking in a corner after another loss, they go, “Don’t be sad daddy, you taught us well and that’s why we are good!”

Thanks boys, how about one more game?  Just to make sure.

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Honey I Told The Kid

easter-1Lately, Kenyan my 8-year-old, has been reacting to not getting his way by crying that his life sucks.  On some occasions, he has threatened to run away, once packing his bag with his prized possessions, wrestling figures.  “Kenyan, many kids would give anything to have what you have”, Amie and I would say to him, while giving him examples of why his life doesn’t ‘suck’.   “You just went to Disney. You are in the movie, ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ you got cool light up shoes that your friends are jealous of, you perform on stage with Daddy every summer, to name a few.”  These always falls on deaf ears

Last week the wheels came off the bus in a big way!  While him and I were in the middle of doing something, he mentioned again how bad he had it.  Well I also had it!  “Kenyan, if you think your life is so bad, I will start taking away some of the good things you have and then maybe you would see how bad it really could be.”  “Like what?” He asked. “Your light up shoes.”   His reply was that I couldn’t because Santa got them for him, not me.

“Son, I wasn’t ready to tell you this but there is no Santa!”  There! I Said it!  Sorry Amie, I know we agreed not to let that cat out of the bag until he was at least 10 but I work too hard to get things for this kid to let some fictitious fat man take credit.  I did try to back pedal but there was no taking it back.

While I was on a roll, I also dispelled the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy myths as well. He was still a dubious on the Santa revelation and sat and quietly digested what he had just heard.  “How about the Elf On The Shelf then?”  I pointed to the box sitting high on the top shelf in the closet.  “He’s in there.”  He wanted to see for himself so I took it down and opened it, revealing that the Elf On A Shelf was in fact now a Jack In A Box.

Kenyan sat for about 20 minutes staring into space.  I let him have his moment and answered the questions he had.  “I feel so stupid now.” He finally muttered with an embarrassed look on his face.  At least now he knows how much his parents work hard for everything he has.

no-santa

Since that revealing conversation, Kenny has not complained about his life or threatened to leave.  He has played Tooth Fairy to his little brother by putting money under his pillow after he lost his tooth and is also eager to be in charge of the Elf next Christmas. As for me, I feel like a weight has been taken off my shoulders. One more kid to go!

 

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Our Epic Road Trip To Disney World

This gallery contains 3 photos.

Aug 13th 2016, we set out on a long road trip to Disney World, Orlando. It was the most memorable experience for me and the family, one that we would cherish forever. Continue reading

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Excuse Me, I’m A Rookie Hockey-Dad

My Takes

It’s been a couple of weeks since my two oldest sons started their foray into the hockey world and I am still lukewarm about this venture.   Coming from soccer to this organized mayhem, it’s a shock to the system.  Maybe next season, if there’s a next season, all that would change and I’ll plunge headlong into being a full-blooded hockey dad.  For now, let’s just go with lukewarm.

“Why don’t you like it?” You might ask.  “After all it’s fun.  The parents are very friendly and willing to help when needed, so why don’t you like hockey, Carlos?”  Maybe I’m cheap? I never thought I was but after paying a high price to sign up for this fun sport, I thought I was done dishing out the coin.  Not even close.  I didn’t reckon on the game ice fee and the jersey fee and the…

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Why Our Kids Lose Or Misplace Their Stuff

Ever wondered why your kids are always losing or misplacing their stuff? Well read this.

My Takes

During the first week of school, our 5 year-old came home without his jacket.  How does one forget their jacket that they wore to keep warm? Wouldn’t the sudden drop in temperature be an instant reminder?  Apparently not to these kids who lose their gloves on the coldest of days.

I asked Treyton to check his school lost-and-found as I had no time to drop by his school to look myself.  He claimed that he did but it wasn’t there.  That was in September.  A week ago, I got a call from his school that he didn’t have a lunch.  Yes, he forgot it at home.  I went to his school bringing him MacDonald’s.  While there, I took the opportunity to inquire about his missing jacket.  I was sent to look in the lost-and-found.  It wasn’t hard spotting his jacket almost immediately.  I also saw one that looked suspiciously familiar…

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Best Halloween Prank

The boys in their costumes

If you know me well, you would know that I love a good prank.   So it was no surprise that when my brother called me from the airport this evening to let me know he was in the city, I immediately went along with him in his devious plan to surprise our mom.  Mom was at my house with Amie’s parents handing out candies while we took the boys trick or treating, with people in costume walking up to the house, it was the perfect condition for a good prank.  We decided that he would pretend he was a robber disguised as a trick-or-treater.  Unfortunately, and sadly, I was not at home when Sheldon dropped by but he gave me a play-by-play which was later confirmed by the victims of the prank.

Apparently, Sheldon walked in the door dressed in a balaclava and sunglasses.  Amie’s mom, Rose, was at the door doing candy duty.  He walked in, locked the door behind him and announced he was a robber and was robbing them.  Rose, trying to maintain a cool composure, told him there were kids outside waiting for candies and he should open the door.  Sheldon proceeded inside and grabbed hold of my mom’s arm asking for her money.  She yelled for him to get out and commanded Gilles, Amie’s dad to get the gun.  (there was no gun). Gilles himself hid in the kitchen and stayed out of sight.

It was a great prank but good thing he ended it when he did as Rose later stated that she was gearing up to kick him down the basement stairs.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! HOPE YOURS WAS GREAT!

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My Crazy Saturday

Today was crazy!  With 3 young boys, chaos is the norm in my household.  With 3 young boys in sports, this chaos takes on a whole new meaning.  Take this morning for instance…

Kenyan had an 8:15am hockey practice but needed to be at the rink at 7:45. Mikhail had his first hockey game in the south end of the city at 11am but had to get there an hour early.  Treyton, not to be outdone, also had an indoor soccer game starting at 10:45am.  This was at the northern part of the city.  To make it chaotic, the wife had to be out of town so I was on my own.

We were all up at 6:30.  Our 15 year-old International student, Hanna, offered to come with us to help out.   We got to the first rink on time and without incident.  Well almost without incident.  While there, Mikhail realized he did not bring his game jersey so I went back home and got it.  Good thing the practice was a few blocks from home.  I left Hanna and Mikhail to watch Kenyan while Trey and I went to retrieve the forgotten item.  Later in the afternoon, I also had to take Hanna to Amie’s aunt’s place.  Her aunt was taking her to her first ever football game.

As soon as Kenyan’s practice was over, I literally snatched him off the ice and whisked him in and out of the change room, then took off to Mikhail’s game.  The venue was very close to where my mom lived so I to picked her up on the way so she could provide some adult supervision and assist Hanna who agreed to stay with Mik while I get Trey to his soccer game.  One parent seeing my plight or maybe the stress on my face, offered to help him with his gear.  I grabbed Treyton and ran!

We made it on time.  It was definitely a coffee morning but I just couldn’t fit it into my schedule.  No time to stand in line or wait in a Saturday morning drive thru.  Treyton played a heck of a game and I was settling into the tail end of my stressful day.  His game ended 15 minutes earlier than Mikhail’s was scheduled to end but the drive to Mik’s game was about 20 minutes.  I grabbed him like a kidnapper as soon as he stepped off the field and made a mad dash to the change room.  “Just your shoes, we have no time!” I ordered.  I was doing good for time until the water bottle.  He couldn’t find it!  We finally did find it but it was broken!

While driving, I decided to call the wife to check in.  She informed me that her cousin had called and needed me to get Hanna to her house at 1:30pm so they could catch the game bus.  Too bad I didn’t know this before or I would have gotten the girl to dress in her game clothes as the cousin’s house was 3 minutes away from where she was watching Mikhail’s game.

Back to my house, back to the south end of the city then back to my house for the final time.  2:15pm!  Ahhh…coffee!

And a blog!

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New Hockey Parents On The Block


Hockey mikMeet the block’s newest hockey mom and dad! Albeit a tad unwillingly.  Amie and I weren’t exactly bursting at the seams to put the boys in hockey.  We wanted them to learn how to skate but wanted to steer clear of hockey and all the ‘fun’ things it brings.  Expensive fees, overzealous hockey moms and dads, hectic schedules, no, we wanted none of that.  Especially not when soccer was so much cheaper and played during the summer when one could enjoy the outdoors.  Unfortunately, you can’t keep a kid from playing what he wants to play and that’s how we ended up in the middle of U9 hockey tryouts.

Mikhail and Kenyan are both signed up for their first year of hockey. Neither of them have had nothing more than a few hours of community public skating under their belts.  Mikhail, because of his age had to tryout to determine where he would be placed depending on his skating and puck handling ability. Lol.

On Sunday, I took him to the rink having no clue what to expect, being a virgin hockey parent and all.  I got him all suited up and released him into the care of the coaches and evaluators.  I later learned that he was as surprised as I was.  We were expecting kids at all levels to be among those trying out for placements but no, the gate opened and out skated about 40 kids plus 1.  They were gliding around the ice as if they were born doing it.  I groaned inwardly and felt bad for subjecting my little guy to this.  I imagined how he must have felt as each routine was introduced, with increasing difficulty level.  Stick handling around pylons, one-on-one races, puck handling, skating backwards.

I was extremely proud of the kid for sticking it out like a trooper.  With grim determination, he plodded around the ice trying to obey the evaluator’s commands as best as he could.  I must admit that he was stronger than his daddy was at that age. I would have found a way to sneak off that ice, never to return. I would have been so angry at my parents for subjecting me to such utter embarrassment. Not Mikhail.  He lasted until the end and when it was finally over, he voiced his thoughts.  “Dad! they paired me up with a professional!  It wasn’t fair. I could barely skate and they paired me up with him.”  No, he did not want to go back.

Unfortunately, he had to return to the scene of the crime today for phase 2.trying for the A1 team.  He was even more reluctant to go and asked about missing it.  Of course we said no.  He was glad we did and we were glad we did.  The marked improvement in his skating and confidence was noticeable by all.  He was turning without falling and seemed much better on his skates.  the kid is going to be just fine.  Not so sure about his parents though…

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When My Kids Make Me Shut Up

I am blessed with three of the most smart-ass kids that I have ever met. Every word that I say has to be carefully analyzed and scrutinized before I say it.  I have to make sure I have explanations prepared for their comebacks.  If not, I would be caught flat-footed and wordless, like I was today.

Today was our Communion ceremony in church.  I went with Kenyan the 7-year old.  As the ‘wine’ was being passed out, I explained to Kenyan that it symbolizes the blood of Christ.  Being a parent, this was also an excellent opportunity to use this to my advantage.  “When you take it, it’s like having his blood in you so you will be nicer to your brothers, your parents and others too.”  His reply was immediate. “It doesn’t work for Mikhail”, referring to his 9-year old brother who has had communion before.  I shut up.

Hours later and back at home, Treyton, the baby at 5-years old, called Mikhail a jerk.  I immediately reminded him that it was on the list of words that we don’t say.  Like his brother, his response was without hesitation.  “Well mommy said it before.  If it’s not illegal for adults then it’s not illegal for kids either.”  Again I shut up.  Kids!

He was right but he was also wrong.  There are certain things that are not exactly ‘illegal’ for kids but maybe not ‘appropriate’ for kids.  Certain movies, words, foods and drinks are some of them.  Saying this though, just imagine what a world it would be if the things that we deemed inappropriate for kids, also remained inappropriate for adults too.  In the words of the great Sam Cooke, Oh What A Wonderful World This Would Be.

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