Hockey update

Well, the boy ™ is doing great with youth hockey this year. He scored five goals in his last game and tore it up on the ice. So much so that the coaches had to tell him to stop scoring and pass to the other kids. Of course, as daddy and a coach, I was thrilled. But more importantly than scoring, he was skating well, looking up ice and passing to the kids on his team. Something has clicked in the past few weeks that I don’t get.

The boy ™ has always loved to go out on the ice and skate but he was never that competitive. In fact, in the two plus years of his hockey career, he has never scored that much in a game. Ever in the history of ever! And he was never one to watch hockey on TV or care that much about it. He would tell me that he liked to play the game but not watch it.

Well, lately, he wants to watch games on TV, he wants to listen to games on the radio when he goes to bed or on the computer if it’s not a local game. And he’s paying more attention in practice. For three weeks, which is a lifetime for a kindergartner, he has not gotten in trouble for bad ears or not listening. He has been trying hard in practice, skating hard and at games, busting his tail. He dove to block a shot into the net. Wow. Personally, I love it but I hope he doesn’t get burned out at the age of 10. I want him to play hockey for a while as well, I like the sport. He’s going to do soccer again this summer and I hope T-ball. I figure the more sports he is in, the more well rounded.

And the girl ™. Well, she’s getting ready to take skating lessons when she turns three this spring. She can’t wait though I don’t think she gets what she is signing up for when she says she wants to skate. But she loves hockey, loves the ice rink and cries buckets if she thinks we are going to the rink without her. My guess is that she will hate it initially like the boy because she’s too young and then later, pick it up. But she is just like he was at this age, playing with floor hockey sticks, watching games at the arena or at the rink and loving all the gear either I or the boy ™ has. We’ll see.

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Mrs. Conductor takes to the ice

yep, the wife has taken the plunge a few weeks ago and decided to learn how to ice skate. A quick rewind. The boy ™ learned to skate about three years ago and someone needed to go out on the ice with him (he was three). That was dad — me. So I taught myself how to skate. I am not great but I have progressed to where I can play in an adult men’s hockey league and at least not completely embarrass myself. Anyway, Mrs. Conductor would sit in the stands and point out how I was “wobbly” or had a wide stance compared to the guys who learned to skate when they were kids. I would respond, ” you go out there.” Well, now she has.

It’s been two weeks now and she’s been clinging to the wall. She has made it five times around the rink with each time taking about 10 to 15 minutes. She’s getting better but it’s going to take some time. I give her all the credit in the world as it’s hard to get out there when you are in your mid-to-late 30s and hoping to not to embarrass yourself when kids like our son will come up and hockey stop in your face, spraying snow on you.

The hope is that she learns how to skate before our daughter, the girl ™ turns three which is when she can begin to take skating lessons. Assuming she does and assuming she wants to go on, at some point, at least three of us will be on the ice so the wife wanted to learn before the girl ™.

I’ll keep you posted on how it is going. But when she asked how she looked out there, I said with a straight face, “you looked kinda wobbly out there and your stance was a bit wide.” She wasn’t pleased. 🙂

The boy ™ is annoying

ARGH!!! Yep, that’s what I was thinking last night and possibly this morning when the boy ™ had a freakin’ meltdown at the ice rink last night. Why, you ask? because he refused to wear his mouth guard to practice, so he had to throw a fit in the locker room (in front of parents), in the rink (in front of coaches, players and staff) and at home. I was thrilled. Some background.

Last week, the boy ™ was at practice and fell on his head, suffering a mild concussion or at least, concussion-like symptoms. He’s fine now and was fine without any symptoms two hours after the fall but at the time it was scary so we took him to the ER. They told us no physical activity for a week and then on the ice, he needs his mouth guard. It’s a good idea anyway but we never used it because, well, he’s six, they don’t check and no one really hits too hard. So he hasn’t really worn it and I confess, it does suck but we are mom and dad (and I am a coach) so when we say wear it, you wear it right?

Errr. no. Instead, he decided to throw a fuse, not get onto the ice and sulk, cry and just being a tired six-year-old. Of course, Mrs. Conductor and I weren’t pleased for a few reasons. We took off work for practice so that’s annoying. He embarrassed us in front of people see regularly, and three, he was listening when we were trying to do what was best for him.

So we left practice, lots of crying and what not. He gets home and decides that he will wear his mouth guard (the threat was hockey was gone for good), and then wore it around the house for much of the night. Loved it. He wanted to try to eat dinner with it. Sigh.

World Series, Rally Squirrel, Start of Hockey Season and just life

Wow, the Cardinals win the World Series and I Called it. Seven games. Wonderful. The boy ™, Mrs. Conductor and I watched the final few innings. we had gone to a hockey game that night. I know, how can you do that. Well, first off, my kids love hockey first. And while the Rivermen lost, it was still fun. Second, I am trying to ease the boy ™ into baseball as he hasn’t played yet and he doesn’t like watching sports on TV even hockey. So forcing him to sit through the game wouldn’t have been good.

But with a few innings left and the tension and seeing all the fans going nuts, he got into it. And by the end of the game was going nuts just like his mom and dad. I don’t know what to say about that series that hasn’t been said. Wow. I confess to all 12 people who read this. I thought the Birds were done with two strikes in the Ninth. And I thought they were done in the 10th after Hamilton hit that dinger. Game 6 was a terrible game for the first two-thirds but that ending will live forever. A friend at the game said he’d buy the game on DVD. I don’t know as part of the fun and the excitement was not knowing. If you knew the outcome, the tension just isn’t there. And then game 7. Carp. You are the man. Freese. Wow. Rally Squirrel, I love ya.

After the win and on Saturday, we had to go out to Dick’s and get the boy ™ a hat. He wanted it and hasn’t taken it off since. He went Trick or Treating in it. He was the only Knight with a baseball hat on. Not the best armor but who cares. He’s a Cards fan. Our friends whom we went ToT with are diehard Cub fans so it was even better. 🙂 The girl ™ was a dragon, btw.

So now that Halloween’s done and we are moving on to winter, it’s hockey season. I am officially a hockey dad now as I have entered the portion of hazing that is 8 a.m. practices. The boy ™ is 6 and we have 8 a.m. practices? Are you kidding me? It takes us longer to get to the rink, get dressed and then get undressed than the practices last (45 minutes0. Ugh. But he’s doing well, and skating hard. My dream is not the NHL, that’s silly to think about when a kid is still. I have two dreams. One real and one fantasy. The fantasy is that he get a hockey scholarship to Harvard (who actually does have a good team). Real is that he just doesn’t burn out by 10 and continues through high school.

Hockey practice starts tonight

Mini-mites start tonight with their first practice. Mini-mites, for those who don’t know, is the term given to players who are ages 4 to 6. The local organization, Peoria Youth Hockey Association (www.pyha.org) has teams and divisions for kids ages four through 16. It’s a great group of people and a great time. Expensive at times but it’s well worth it.

Or at least I think so. But practices are crazy. I am working with the red dots tonight which are the new skaters. In mini-mites, they divide players into red, yellow and green dots. Green being the more experienced and better skaters while reds are newbies. Yellow is in the middle. So I was with some reds tonight and for them, being able to stand on the ice is plenty. We had them trying to hop up and down, get up after falling and glide. You know, push off and just glide over the ice.

Most had trouble but I will tell you this — by the end of the year (December) and with three months left in the season, the reds will be flying up and down the ice. It’s amazing how fast these kids pick it up. Makes me jealous as hell given the fact that it has taken me more than a year to refine my skating and I am not there yet. Or at least to the point where I want to be.

I’ll let you know given that the adult hockey league starts in a week or so. We’ll see how I do.

Hockey’s back….

Yep, we got the rosters for the boy ™’s team this year and we have five kids back from his team last year and six new kids. It’s going to be a good year. I can tell. He’s bene practicing a lot and working on his skating. Stick work needs some help but he’s six. Let’s be honest. who cares. He’s enjoying it and that’s all that counts. The boy ™ is quick which is the most important thing. You can’t teach that. Speed is keey when you are a little guy. If someone catches you, it’s all over. Crunch. Ow. and then a Boo-boo Bear. (ice bag with a bear on it).

But youth hockey is a great time here in Peoria. I just wish it didn’t cost so much next year. You see, we are still in the learn to skate, learn to play program which is not expensive at all. I think the organization is a version of a drug dealer, they get you hooked on cheap hockey and then stick it to you when you can’t quit. I am an addict. I need help. 🙂

On another note, I am trying to blog more with  my iPod Touch, so many of these posts are shorter because, well, it’s a pain in the neck. What do you think. Good, bad, ugly?

I was a bad boy

Yep, I was playing hockey last night and really checked a buddy of mine hard into the boards. Felt terrible about it and yes, I did get a penalty. But man, he went down like a sack of potatoes. It was off the face-off and he and I were going for the puck. He pushed me, I pushed back and well, maybe too hard. I think I was called for elbowing. I don’t know really. He’s okay, but I felt awful. He’s a good guy and took it like a man.I would have been whining like a baby.

For the season, we have three goals, one assist and two penalties in 11 games. I guess that’s a good line considering I am probably a third or fourth line guy. And not bad for a guy who started to play hockey in January and learned how to skate a year or so ago.