Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Not as awful as advertised

I guess I should share. After all my angst, Sam made the team. He is very proud of himself - cloud nine really. Makes my mommy-heart swell.

I’d like to say he made the team with no difficulty but really I have no idea. There were some really talented and skilled kids on the ice. I’d like to think he was one of the better skaters but my eyes are clouded by “Mom-glasses.” There were a few kids who were head and shoulders better than he was but, as pointed out by one of his coaches, he was pretty good for a kid who didn’t play hockey all summer. Half the kids trying out were on spring hockey teams. As I’ve mentioned earlier I think – try as we might we couldn’t even get Sam a tryout for spring hockey because we’re not part of the right crowd. The coach who mentioned Sam's skills was one of the people who wouldn't return our calls when we were trying to get him a tryout for a spring team. I like to think his remarks were an apology of sorts, an acknowledgement that he missed out. Daniel thinks I'm reading too much into it.

The kids were all impressive and with few exceptions it was clear that they all belonged on a team. Skill levels from one kid to the next were very close. In the end, they only had to cut two players. I didn’t know one of the children cut; the other boy was the son of Sam’s soccer coach. I REALLY wanted him on the team (because he’s a nice kid with nice parents and because it would make scheduling much easier for me!) and it still bothers me that he was cut. I can’t imagine cutting 8 year olds and to be honest I don’t know why the teams couldn’t have run with an extra kid each (yes – I understand it would mess up the lines still…). I had convinced myself by the Monday tryout that they weren’t going to cut anyone and was shocked when I didn’t see J. on the ice. It had been obvious that J. wasn’t as strong as some of the others (which I guess is saying something). Sad as it made me, it was a fair cut and J.’s dad did acknowledge he didn’t think J. would make the team.

Three other boys from Sam’s HL team last year tried out. They all made it. There are two teams and all three of the other boys are on the other team, which thrills me because it means I don’t have to hang with the parents who snubbed us. I dropped all pretense of friendship during the weekend tryouts and it was quite freeing. I made no effort and that was generally reciprocated with only one parent who seemed bothered (and embarrassed) by it. I hung with Kamryn and read my Ipad. When Daniel was there we sat together in the stands away from the others and just “were.” One of the grandparents attending tryouts “adopted me.” I think he was intrigued because I wasn’t white – as a family we bring the only “colour” to the novice level. He is quite an influential guy so that was interesting - kind of like being invited by the Captain of the football team to share his lunch table. He was funny and nice and reminded me of my own Dad.

Sam is on a team with three of his soccer teammates. I’m guessing that was intentional (as one of the boys father’s is a coach and I’m pretty sure he orchestrated it). We also got the coach I liked. I don’t dislike the other coach – okay I’m lying - I do dislike the other coach; he's part of the "in" crowd I despise so much. Sam’s coach (cool but not cliquey AND his wife is awesome) coached Sam when he was 5 and 6 and knows how to bring out Sam’s best qualities and deal with his worst qualities. He’s organized and on the ball. He impresses me, on and off the ice. So I’m happy there.

Speaking of on the ball – the team was named Monday and by the time I got to work on Tuesday I had their schedule for the coming month – including an out of town tournament. It’s quite a schedule and where I thought we were a busy family before – this is nuts! It’s going to take a great deal of coordination but what doesn’t kill me only makes me stronger.

Yesterday, on the bus from work to an exhibition game I bumped into another team mom. We had a long time to talk on the way out to the very rural arena that is our home arena. I had noticed that she too sat by herself during tryouts. Despite the fact that her husband is the team trainer, she REALLY doesn’t fit in. I think she probably had her son (who is a wickedly good hockey player!) late in life. He’s her only. She shared with me that she doesn’t have a cell phone and they don’t own a computer (I didn’t think there was anyone like that!). She seems rather shy but she’s really nice. This might be a good experience.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

So today ye olde self esteme got a boost. People do like us. Nice people. House league parents like us just fine. I was sitting waiting for hockey camp to end and one of those wonderful people came over to chat with me. I was reminded that not everyone is so awful. She gave me a sympathetic look when I mentioned Dominic was going to play rep hockey. I'm regretting this competitive hockey just a little more now. Thinking about it we've never really dealt with this attitude on Maya's teams (much - year two novice was a little bit like that; it was also the most hyper competitive team she ever played on). Even that one year, I've always been able to find a group of parents on her teams to "bond" with. Maybe we are just too laid back? I just hope Dominic is not on the same team as the awful ignoring mom I mentioned last time. Sigh. I hate cliques especially those made up of adults.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Wrong Parents

Sam has the wrong parents. I feel kind of bad for him. We’re just not cool. We’re too old. We’re not popular. We don’t say the right things. It’s not that we don’t play the game; it’s that we’re not even sure what the game is. In the normal scheme of things its not a big deal. It hasn’t really been a hindrance until now. I do wonder how it will affect him now. Doesn’t help that he’s not the right kind of kid either (ADHD Kids seldom are). What am I talking about you ask. Well hockey of course. My blog is rapidly becoming all about hockey.

So on Sunday after the last soccer game of the season Sam’s team assembled at a nearby MacDonald’s for ice cream and a short good bye. While we were standing in line waiting to be served, in walks the popular mother of one of his hockey team mates from last year (truth be told I can’t stand her but I’ve always worked to be pleasant). I was standing behind another of his soccer teammates mother’s. I said hi. She nodded hi and then proceeded to ignore my very existence while she embraced the mother in front of me like they were sisters separated at birth. There were coos and chuckles and discussions about their boys and how they would see each other the next day at hockey. Sure. I pretended to be busy studying the menu. I pretended not to hear their hockey plans.

I know what the hockey plans are though. A bunch of parents with 2004 boys get their boys together every Monday (and have all summer) for pick-up hockey. I’d like to say we weren’t invited to participate but we were – before I’m guessing one of the organizers realized we were the “wrong” people. As I’ve mentioned Sam is a good player. Last year he obtained kind of a cult status on his team. All hail Sam (in truth it was a little annoying). Based on that one of the parents (who was ga-ga over Sam) told us of this casual pick-up hockey thing they were organizing, told us it was hush-hush since they only had room for a certain number of boys and that they would get back to us on the details. I have to admit that I was well aware that Sam was being used here. He was desirable because he was deemed a worthy opponent capable of challenging the other parent’s child. I was willing to ignore that for the opportunity it presented for Sam. When I e-mailed the parent in June (because we had not heard from him) to ask about the details, the coward ignored my e-mails. I wouldn’t have been the wiser except 3 of the boys on his soccer team are participating. I was hurt when we were not included (as was Daniel) but what were we to do.

Related to that – we worked quite diligently to get Sam on a Spring hockey team. Spring hockey is an interesting animal. You have to be good to play. You have to try-out. It’s invitation only. Invitations aren’t based all that solidly in how good you are – especially at the ripe old age of 7! Needless to say not only didn’t we get invited again – not one coward (and there were many) returned our calls or e-mails just asking about the team. A friend of mine who’s son is 12, plays competitive hockey at the PeeWee level and is black mentioned to me that the “minority kids” never get invited to these teams (his son plays on an all minority team started by someone because of this belief). I wonder about racism – seriously – but it’s really hard to know and I always hesitate to blame anything on racism (nevertheless, ignoring the prevalence of racism can do a big number on one’s self-esteem)

We aren’t awful people. We volunteer. We contribute. We don’t complain. Sam can be a challenge but he’s not a discipline issue. He VERY rarely misses a practice. I don’t think he’s ever missed a game. He’s a better than average player so the only conclusion is we’re not the right kind of people. It was one of the reasons we weren’t going to let Sam play competitive hockey. Daniel was of the mind that if we said to hell with them that they would come to regret their decision when Sam become a superstar. I think I was a little more realistic when I pointed out that minus the intense practice his little friends would be engaged in, it was unlikely that that would happen.

I’m a little nervous to see what happens come tryouts. They can’t really exclude him. Those same people who refuse to let us in on all their little secret get-togethers readily admit he’s a shoo-in to make the team. His soccer coach said to me on Sunday “There are certain players you know will have no problems (he then named a bunch of kids). I’ve seen Sam play hockey (his son played with Sam). He’s made the team.” I know he’s not going to be the best player they see but he should factor among the top 10 or so. How much can they handicap him because they don’t like us?

I’m also a little bummed as to why we are so unlikeable. I know I’m not perfect – I talk to much; I’m loud; I’m geeky; I try to be overly helpful but so are others out there. It hurts to realize that people just don’t like you – especially to this extent. I’ve resolved to go to his try-out (where I will know almost ALL the other parents) and sit quietly in the corner and read a book. I hate small talk anyways so it will be a relief not to have to make it with people I know don’t like me. I’ve not volunteered to help with try-outs (first year I’ve sat out). I won’t volunteer to help with his team (also a first). Going to try to not to go where I’m not wanted. [Insert profanity here] them.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Note: I know I conveyed some information here that I've gone on about before but I didn't really write this to post here; it just ended up here.

So in 6th grade I was banned from the school library. We had the option of going out for recess or going to the library and my teacher felt I spent too many recesses in the library. In 10th grade I signed up for latin class; my small school didn’t have enough other kids sign up so they cancelled the class and the only other thing that fit in my schedule was gym. I got a D at Christmas and my parents were furious (not at me but that I had to take a class I was obviously hopeless in). In the end, I finished the year with a B+ because I got 100 percent in the “health” portion of the grade. I state this just to put everything in context. I am not an athlete. Please stop laughing. I always wanted to be an athlete (I still do but I really am hopeless). I had this romantic notion of how everything was easy for them. My son has opened my eyes to the reality.

DS was born an athlete. His first word was Ball or rather Ba, since he was almost three before he actually finished a word when he said it. There is nothing (save swimming) that I’ve seen him try and not be insanely good at. He’s a little frustrating to watch (especially if you’re his older sister trying to play the same sport). He’s also a little awe inspiring. One day he might accomplish something in the sports world… or maybe not. The one thing I’ve learned being the Mom of a mini gifted athlete is that there are A LOT of other mini gifted athletes out there. As special as he is to us; he’s not so special in the general scheme of things. Still there are choices we have to make with him and for him.

Some of the choices are a little bizarre to be making at eight. I bet Deion Sanders or Bo Jackson’s mother’s never had to look at their eight year old and tell them that they NEEDED to pick a sport. That’s the conversation I had with Sam yesterday. He needs to pick a sport… at eight. Nuts. In this world of high, stronger, faster sports that used to have a season and then ended so other sports could be played doesn't exist anymore.

We decided earlier this summer to let Sam tryout for a travel hockey team – seemed an innocuous decision at the time. Soccer ends 19 August. Hockey starts 1 September. We should be good no? No. This summer he’s played on a specially selected “elite” soccer team. It was an experiment and the boys on this team (and their sister team) have exceeded all expectations. His coach sent out a notice this week that the club has decided to create an academy that will keep the boys training all winter – two training sessions a week and a game. That’s a good amount of soccer over the winter and I know it makes a difference in the long run. He would have a blast. If he chooses not to participate, it will put him well behind his team mates next summer and could make the difference in him continuing with his team or having to drop down a level. So yes, let’s do it. Ummm…. hockey?

IF he makes the travel team (and I don’t know why he wouldn’t but you never know – remember he’s not as special as I think he is) we’re probably looking at two or three training sessions a week and a game. Counting days on my fingers – it MIGHT work. Physically he could handle it. Heck – he would thrive on such a schedule (his doctor has recommended we keep him as active as possible; this certainly fills that prescription). Depending on when those sessions were. Do we know? Nope. Not for hockey. Not for soccer. I already have a headache. He’s only 8.

Yesterday I told him he would have to chose – if not this year then next. He pointed out how much he liked to play both sports. I told him he could still play the sport he didn’t pick just not at an elite level. He got very quiet.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


So when you stop doing something. It’s really hard to get started again. I considered just closing this blog but today I have a funny situation to relate and thought how appropriate it would be for a blog post. So here I am. Can’t guarantee anything else will follow but for now here I am. Is anyone still out there. I doubt it. Ah well. I've also discovered that if I post from work - as I am now - hard returns don't show up thus the block of text that will follow. Sorry about that. Just so you know – everything is going well. Kids are growing like weeds. They are happy, well-adjusted. Claude has one semester left of College left given some hiccups but he’s happy to. I’m getting by. Doing well at work. Have had some interesting travel to Asia and feeling quite fulfilled of late. This post – about eating crow – maybe just sampling it a bit. As I’ve told you before Sam is a little athlete. He’s never met a sport he doesn’t excel at and love (the exception being swimming; he swims much like a cat, an overweight cat, an overweight cat with joint problems – we’re working on this). His two big loves (mostly because that’s what we have encouraged) have been soccer and hockey. I decided long ago that I was a soccer-Mom – armed and ready with everything but the mini-van. Both kids have played organized soccer since they were three years old pretty much year round. Kamryn enjoys it but if it vanished from her life I don’t think she would care one way or the other. Sam on the other hand lives and breathes it. He plays a lot and he’s athletic so he is good at it. Last year he played U-8 soccer as a seven-year old. This year he is playing on a weird little experimental team – 12 U-8 boys and one U-7 boy who as a team are playing at the U-9 level (house-league). The idea was to let them take their knocks together this year and next year they would be a team to be reckoned with. They are almost unbeatable which was a surprise. I can’t wait to see what happens when they enter the competitive ranks against kids their own ages next year. Competitive-level soccer her we come. We are ready. Not so much for hockey. In hockey we thought we had more time to make up our minds. Competitive hockey wasn’t supposed to start for us until Sam’s minor Atom year when he would be 9 years old. We had basically decided it wasn’t for us. For many reasons some of them pure hubris: 1) It’s expensive – time and money wise. 2) He is unlikely to get anything more out of competitive hockey than he would out of house league hockey (translation: its unlikely that he will be drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the first round and go on to make millions). 3) Its expensive. 4) It’s HIGHLY political and often its not how good your child is but how much money you’re willing to put towards the team and who you know and you your father was/is. 5) It’s expensive 6) We wanted to be courted and weren’t. As I’ve said before Sam is good. Eye-openly good in my opinion. Last year was fun because more often than not some random parent was stopping us, slack-jawed, to ask it that kid was our son and what did we “do” to make him that good. Random parents stopped us – the league ignore us (with good reason kids like Sam are a dime a dozen; he’s not that special to them). Still people in the know knew who he was and we knew that. We wanted to feel the love a little. No love was forthcoming. Worse he was put at the wrong level (based solely on his age) and likely learned nothing last year. 7) It’s expensive. 8) No one I spoke to about the competitive program had very much good to say about it. They would cringe (and hopefully pull up their socks) if they really listened to all the negative press flying around about them. Unlikely though because oh my lord what an insulated Old Boys Club. So we weren’t going to do it but we knew we had another year to decide. Then this summer, the eager beavers who are the Dad’s with kids born in 2004 decided they wanted to form a competitive Major Novice team (so 8-year olds). We said we weren’t going to do it. We held to that belief for 6 weeks. This week I broke. I saw him play (for the first time in months since hockey season ended in March). The kid skates like he came out of the womb with blades attached to his feet. He thinks on the ice. He plays his position. He passes (little kids don’t pass… ever). I really thought it would be a disserve to him to throw him back into the non-comp pond. He wouldn’t be bored but he wouldn’t soar like I know he can. He’s still unlikely to be drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the 1 round or the 16th for that matter. It’s still expensive – honestly I don’t know if we can afford it. We can do this year and probably next but eventually he might have to stop playing to his ability and play instead to his parents ability to pay (a season can cost $15,000). We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. I like the coaches that have been picked to coach at the novice level. Both men who know and like (I think) Sam. I’m already grumbling though. This is the first year for the Novice level team but I only know about it because three of the kids Sam plays soccer with will be on the team. It’s word of mouth only – so unless you know someone you don’t know about it. Horribly political. We also still haven’t been courted, although I was amused to learn that it was just expected he would try-out (and make the team). Some guy I’ve seen but never met before stopped Sam in the change room before shinny hockey on Sunday to joke about not hurting himself before “insert team name here” try-outs. Ummm…. who are you? How do you know my son? We’ll count that as courting. So many hockey Dads have inquired as to whether he will try out or not. No one ever asked about Kamryn… ever. Okay this might all be over soon. Tryouts start 1 September and run over five days. If he doesn’t make the team, I’m out a hundred dollars and he’ll play house league and oh well. If he doe excel at s… whole new world.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The latest stupid Facebook Breast Cancer Awareness letter

I was upset about the last email that I got a few months back - I can't remember the gimmick not having read through it. The day I got it I learned that my SIL who has fought through two bouts of breat cancer now had metatasized cancer in her liver and kidneys (she's still fighting the good fight but her prognosis is not good at all). The frivolioty of it all just made me angry and I wanted to send an angry message back. I didn't because the friend who sent it is the sister of the spouse of a family member (who oddly works hard to raise money for cancer research) and I didn't want to create family discord. I resolved to talk to her quietly about my impressions next time I ran into her.

Today another friend sent me this:

It's that time of year again in support of Breast Cancer Awareness! We all remember last years game of writing your bra color as your status? or the way we like to have our handbag handy?
Remember last year so many people took part that it made national news and the constant updating of status reminded everyone why we're doing this and helped raise awareness!
DO NOT tell any males what the status' mean, keep them guessing And please Broadcast this to all ur female friends to see if we can make a bigger fuss this year than last year ;);)
I did my part... So now its YOUR turn!
The idea is to choose the month You were born and the day you were born. Pass this on to the girls only and lets see how far it reaches around. The last one about the bra went round the world.
So you'll write... I'm (your birth month) weeks and I'm craving (your birth date) !!! as your status :p:p
Example: Feb 14th= I'm 2 weeks and craving Choclolate mints!! ;);)
Days of the month:
1- Skittles2- Starburst3- Kit-Kat4- M&M's5- Tomatoes6- Ice Cream7- Dairy Milk8- Lollipop9- Peanut Butter Cups10- Meat Balls11- Twizzlers12- Bubble Gum13- Hershey's Kisses14- Chocolate Mints15- Twix16- Cheese17- Fudge18- Cherry Jello19- Banana's20- Pickels21- Chicken Wings22- Skittles23- Gummy Bears24- Gummy Worms25- Strawberry Pop Tarts26- Starburst27- Mini Eggs28- Kit-Kat Chunkie29- Double Chocolate Chip Chrunchy Cookies 30- Smarties31- Chocolate Cake
Have Fun! :D:D

So now we are not only bring frivolity to cancer but also to infertility. I know this has been debated ad nauseum but I needed to vent somewhere. I don't think these stupid games raise awareness of anything but stupid games while at the same time being hurtful and insensitive. If you do get this silly letter please don't forward it on - some people just aren't going to get the joke.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Not an uncommon question for us.

"No, Kamryn and Sam aren't twins. He is two years younger than she is."

Sales clerk looks at us skeptically. "Really? How old are they?"

It's happening. The eclipse. She's still taller than he is (by about an inch and a half so not really all that noticeable unless they are standing back to back). She outweighs him by one solitary pound - maybe. He was last weighed in July; Kamryn just this week. He wears shoes a half size larger than her.

Since they are opposite sexes I expected him to pass her eventually. I didn't think it would happen at the age of 7.