The American Calgarian

Tales of a Midwesterner transplanted in Western Canada

Archive for the month “October, 2012”

Brave on the Court

So I recently went on a little rant about Apprentice’s desire to play hockey.  I would have mentioned the other two kids, except we are (apparently) not the house where one can say, “those kids are so good at ____”.  My kids have all picked activities they enjoy and none are the same.  Lucky me.

Mid likes basketball.  He has been playing with the community league for a little over a month, with JB as one of his coaches.  He does not know any of the boys on his team, so it has been a great experience for him to make some new friends.  This is also where I remind him that this “builds character”.  His team started out strong, winning the first game.  This was followed by a buzzer beater loss and then a tough game where they were simply outmatched.  Such is life.

Also, as happens in the land of basketball, he jammed a finger.  When watching the warm-ups, I assumed that he was screwing around when I saw him shaking his hand and making weird faces.  Spectators, (Jaybird, Apprentice and I), were seated on the opposite side of the gym and therefore out of earshot.  The game started and he had the ball.  He was grimacing every time his left hand touched the ball.  Not good for a point guard.  When the ball was out of play for a moment, Mid turned to his coaches, though mainly his dad, with tears forming in his eyes, and asked to be taken out of the game.  His finger was hurting.  He went to the bench and plunged his left index finger into the ice water of his water bottle.  He sat on the bench the rest of the game.  Afterward I took a look at his fingers.  I anticipated that there may have been an exaggeration of the injury, but I was wrong.  His left index finger was twice the size of his right.  Ouch.

On the way home we tried to cheer him with tales of pro basketball players that have jammed their fingers.  We talked of our own jammed fingers when we played basketball back in the day.  (JB had more stories of this than me, so I may have embellished mine a bit.)  Over the next week, we iced, taped, and had him wear a brace-thing on his finger.  He seemed to enjoy the attention at school.  It appears that the little pep talk worked a little too well.  He may forever tape his fingers together while playing ball.  Double-header coming this weekend, so I just hope that he continues to heal.

He states that he’s not sure what his favorite thing about basketball, that it is just fun. I like that it is inside a gymnasium where I always know the weather will be hospitable.

This is not to say that he has forgotten about the rock climbing, he has asked to start that up again soon as well.


Brave on Blades

We ask a lot of our kids this time of year.  They start school, new activities and clubs, new sports, new teachers, so many things.  At each point we tell them to be brave.  Enjoy the adventure.  Take a risk.

Our family is no different in that I have asked my kids to buck up quite a bit lately.  I have had to pull out a “Fredism” a few times.. “just go do it, its builds character”.  After the first two weeks of school and a couple of new activities, I think my kids would say that they have had enough character building, thank you.  Even so, I am proud of them.

Apprentice has been taking skating lessons for a couple of years on and off, as he wants to play hockey.  After the last round of skating sessions, he was given the thumbs up by the instructor that he is indeed ready to play novice hockey.  I signed him up.  I bought all the gear, (for those that don’t play hockey, there is a shitload of it).  Last weekend the sessions began where the coaches evaluate all the players so to divide them on teams.  The goal is to establish the novice league with as even-skilled teams as possible to maximize fun and learning of the sport.  The first morning, I was a wreck.  I gave Apprentice a pep talk as I helped him suit up.  Thankfully the guy at the hockey store had spent a gazillion patient hours with me so I felt okay getting all this stuff on him in the correct order.  Neck guard, elbow pads, shoulder pads.  Shorts that have velcro for hockey socks, jock strap and cup all in one easy piece, (hold up, my 7YO needs a CUP and jock strap? I don’t know how you guys walk around with those things), shin guards, hockey socks.  The jersey, skates, helmet, (with mouth guard) and gloves.  At the end of all this, Apprentice looked at me and I took a deep breath.  First, I was winded due to all the lacing and pulling and whatever.  Second, he looked like a big kid hockey player, no longer my baby boy.  What is happening here?  He took the ice with the other kids.  I waited in the bench area (bench? dugout? WTH is that area called in hockey?) until he seemed to get his skating legs back and was following instructions from the head coach.  I went up to the seating area to sit with other parents. 

The new kid in his class (just moved from Toronto) was also on the ice and he recognized Apprentice.  I took the opportunity to introduce myself to his mother upon setting seating in the (bleachers? stands? I don’t know what anything is called in hockey!).  She is quite nice.  She shared their previous hockey experience and politely answered all my stupid questions and how to dress these kids more efficiently and how this whole evaluation things works.  Day one completed, Apprentice comes off the ice.  He is so tired that I am surprised he didn’t fall asleep standing up.

The next day is an early session.  I took all the advice from the other mom and the morning went much more smoothly.  I dressed Apprentice at home, cranked the AC on the way to the rink.  I was even more nervous on the second morning, as I knew Apprentice was tuckered out.  JB and I had talked about worse case scenario – what if he doesn’t want to play? – after all, he is totally new.  These Canadian kids appear to have been fitted with hockey gear in utero and he had trouble keeping up on day one.  I texted a friend and hockey mom/player seeking a pep talk of my own.  She delivered big time.  I was going on about how I am not really doing any favors to the kid here, as I don’t know much about the sport and can’t coach him like I can when Jaybird wants to run a race or Mid wants to play tennis.  She assures me to stop coaching and just be there for him.  Practice over, Apprentice skates off the ice.  I thank Jen for (once again) calming my nerves regarding youth hockey.  Apprentice comes over to me and exclaims, “Hockey is awesome!” and I am all better.

Until Tuesday, when Mid starts his evaluations for basketball.  But that will wait for another day.


I haven’t written anything in a while.  Its been your basic, run-of-the-mill start to the fall around here.  Kids are settling into school, volunteer schedules are coming out, the leaves are turning, fall sports are gearing up..  Not much to report.  I’ve been feeling a little “something is missing” lately.  A few ideas..

  • I am not signed up for a fall race.  A big “Thank you” to all the sites that have suggested some fall races, but my training has been lacking.  While I had sights set on an October half marathon, it was just not meant to be this year.
  • Its been a year since we moved.  Almost nothing is “new” anymore.  I couldn’t even tell you what we were doing a year ago at this time.  The kids stopped school in Wisconsin, we had a party, packed our house and got on a plane.  Those two weeks (maybe three) were such a blur that I must have slept walked through it all.  Honestly, I just looked through FB posts from a year ago and nothing.. just nothing..
  • Calgary does not smell like football in the fall.  You know, like the fresh-cut grass of the football field as fall sports start-up?  Echoes of marching bands and a nip in the air.. ah, football.  I almost missed the start of the NFL season because it just didn’t smell like football around here.  Worthy to note, and not surprising, it pretty much always smells like hockey.  Even when the NHL season is on hold.

So what is it?  I have not felt like writing.  I have had a few things come up that I started writing about, but the post seemed “meh” and didn’t develop into anything so I just left it.  So how to beat this restlessness, this “blah-ness”?

I got a job.  Its part-time and working in a totally different area than I ever have before and I am totally stoked.  A new adventure awaits!  Hint – think Chris Farley’s lunch lady.

I have been steadily cleaning out our old stuff.  There is something really therapeutic about going through closets and boxes, deciding whether you actually need each item and then letting go.  I have sold some things and donated others.  I find it amazing that some of it even made it to Calgary with us.  Not that it is contraband or anything, it’s just that some of it had been sitting in our garage for so long, waiting for some specific use, that I forgot we had it.  (Also, does anyone need a swing to attach to their backyard play system?  Or a diaper genie?)

We started going to church again.  I don’t want to get on a big religious rant here, but I really like attending church.  I like the quiet reflection and freedom to think about happenings of the past week.  What went well, what I would have like to have done better, and planning for how to live a grateful life going forward.

Here’s to shedding my “blah-ness” along with winter coats that don’t fit anyone in the house.  Here’s to new beginnings in a new career and uncluttered closets.

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