get defensive

December 21st, 2014

d-fence-cutoutsWell, it is not shaping up to be a great sports fan weekend. The Eagles shat the bed hard yesterday. My lone fantasy team still alive in the playoffs is favored to lose in the championship game. And my son’s ice hockey team seems to be imploding at the worst possible time of the season.

The Jags were shutout yesterday by a Stars team that came to skate, on a day that we absolutely did not. Bubs’ first two shifts looked fantastic. He got his teams’ first two shots on goal and was pressuring the puck and skating like he was supposed to. And then… I don’t know what happened. The feet stopped moving and he started looking indecisive again.

I did notice something, and maybe, just maybe… this dumb hockey dad might have an idea. When he stopped skating, the puck was almost entirely in their defensive end. Ergo, my two seconds of Dad advice while I help him get his bag out of the back of my shitty car today is going to be, “Let it all go today, let that emotion out, and concentrate on being tenacious on the back check and in your own zone.”

Funny/Interesting Links…

on being aliens

December 20th, 2014

keep-calm-and-raise-your-hand-68We’ve got two ice hockey games this weekend, the second of which, sets the stage for some major district playoff implications. Van Jr. had a great week of practices, he watched lots of hockey, did plenty of shooting and stickhandling drills. He understands that it’s up to him to earn that ice time. I was talking to a fellow hockey parent and good friend this past week and she had some great advice for me to impart on my son prior to game time to loosen his nerves and get him playing the way he truly can… tell him to just go nuts. He knows what he’s supposed to do, it’s time to just let his emotions out and be an animal out there. During his practice on Thursday night, he was on a line doing drills with two good skaters that play the game aggressively, and he looked fantastic.

Viv got some very disappointing news last night when roles for the upcoming Medford Lakes play were posted. She badly wanted a part, and although not getting that role stung, what really got her was that she didn’t get any of her choices, and is now lumped into a big group role again. I’m doing my best to keep her positive, get inside what’s limiting the roles offered to her, and talk to her about not quitting an activity that has brought her a lot of happiness in past years. She’s frustrated in a similar way that her brother is with his ice time.

Ice hockey and play productions are intimidating to parents without firsthand experience. Honestly, being in an ice hockey rink or doing play tryouts feels like you are an alien intruding on some sort of elitist planet at times. I have tried to ask the dumb questions so that my kids do not, but that can paint yourself as the problem parent, which hurts your kids’ chances of a better part, better chunk of ice time. I do my best to get myself as informed as possible without interfering with their coaches and directors. What I have grown to learn is to teach your kid to fend for themselves as much as possible. Teach them to raise hands and ask questions whenever something isn’t clear.

My son certainly has responded to me giving him some suggestions (which normally come from his coach), but backing off and allowing him to just have fun. This season for my son has been a huge improvement over last, his coach is present, and has had no problem with speaking with me. He also does a great job of teaching the game and sensing when things aren’t quite right with a player.

The play situation… I need to learn more about how things work. The play world is completely foreign to me, and most times I’ve asked questions, I get this odd response from friends of directors defending them that they don’t have time to answer stuff, when all I’m doing is looking for information. It could be that I’m male, and the vast majority of the folks working on the play are not (i.e. I’m even more of an alien). Again, I think the solution is getting Viv to feel empowered to ask questions herself, and to do her best to remain a coachable kid that listens.

And the truth is, these “setbacks” for my kids are valuable life lessons. Life will not always never behave for you, even times when you do everything you can to prepare yourself for success. Dusting yourself off after an ass-kicking, getting back in the ring is what success is all about.

So kids, get ready, because we are going to mess these challenges up. We can. We will.

I started the Gorilla Workout again, this time I’m going for Level 4 (the hardest one). The workouts have been brutally great. One of the best and more frequent exercises are pull ups. These always concern me because of my shoulder separation from a long time ago. And then the next workout came up…


Oh. Shit. That’s 100 pull ups. 100. Yesterday, during my lunch break, I did it. And yes, all 100 of them. It wasn’t pretty, but I made it.



And honestly, I don’t feel too bad today.

Funny/Interesting Links…

Sharing Dick Pics with a Softball Teammate Versus Your Wife, A Case Study – NSFW

December 19th, 2014

Enclosed is a case study in human relations and some sage advice to my fellow menfolk. Below is our first case, a text conversation between my buddy, Frank and myself…

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And after enjoying a good laugh, I thought to myself, “Hey, you know who would think this is funny? My wife!”

Yesterday morning, I had to be at the office on time to help with setup/decorations for the annual holiday party. So I had a pseudo excuse for being up early and I felt, this would add to the jocularity. This should be great.

But nay, that was not true… nay…

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Needless to say, I was relieved and knew that Abbe had forgiven me when I got this text from her sister a little later…

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Funny/Interesting Links…

Can’t Stop

December 16th, 2014

cant-stopThe past few months have been largely a positive arc with the job change, but the transition has been mired with some nasty snags. I quickly came to the realization that I can not shut down all side work, because the debt mountain that built up over the past few years is just not manageable given the past few months’ little surprises (car issues, sewer pipe) without a slight boost from the outside.

I came to a conclusion yesterday while on my way to work yesterday that I think will remove a layer of stress for myself and my son. He has been chomping at the bit to get more ice time, yet continues to not show aggressiveness during games. I have talked to him about what he needs to do and realized the largest problem is that he needs to be honest with himself and understand that sentence that is overused so heavily these days…

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

And in the spirit of changing things up, I’m stepping back to allow Van Jr. and his coach to work this out. I gave him some suggestions to help the situation. Whether he follows up on them, is entirely up to him.

I was happy to see him doing so on one of them already. The Jags have a very good player, that suffered a broken wrist, and is all but out of commission for the rest of the season. This injured player is a super teammate, and from what I have seen, a fantastic leader. After one game that my son was upset with his ice time, I asked him if there was any second year bantams that he would feel comfortable with asking advice. He named the injured teammate without hesitation. And it just so happens, with that injury, he stands on the bench with the coaches and is in the perfect position to offer advice to my son. Last night, he approached the injured teammate and asked for help. His teammate said “of course”, without skipping a beat.

That’s a big step for my son.

Although I’ve talked about how organization has been his issue with his schoolwork – it’s really about recognizing when help is needed and actually asking for it.

Just watch, my son is about to get better. He stays on this, he won’t be able to help it.

The Incredibly Inspiring Julie Kramer – Julie is a friend of several of our friends. She used to be a hostess at PJ’s (where we had our first date). What a crazy great moment for her.

Funny/Interesting Links…

Diggy things

December 12th, 2014

Kevin Bailey and Sons are hard at work in my yard – all apologies to my neighbors!


Turns out, the original line ran right through all of those trees that that big diggy thing is sitting between. Yes, that’s a diggy thing.


All in the name of poop.


The trench goes around the side of the house too…


Funny/Interesting Links…

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