It's a quiet morning at work, as they typically are. Unless there is something pressing, my first hour and a half at work consists of me staying awake, waiting for an appropriate time to get the guys up and out of bed and ready to face the day. I plan to make sausage and eggs this morning and I can already taste the sausages. Despite my feeling pretty shitty this morning, I can't help but smile. I just turned on my favorite album in the world right now, a killer bluegrass group called "The Steeldrivers" and am hard at work tinkering with my 3 fantasy baseball teams. I feel like writing or typing or whatever, and this is the place I choose to do so. Read away if it pleases you.
Yesterday was a blast. I play hockey for fun and most importantly, the exercise. Moving up to the "C" division this year has meant that every time I strap on the pads and play, I get to play hard. No sandbagging it against weak opponents, there aren't any. Even the teams that rarely won played hard and had strong players that you had to work your ass off to contain. We are into the playoffs now, and as it worked out, our 3rd game yesterday was a must win game. To ensure that we made it, we had to rack up as many goals as we could. See, the team we were playing had been beat up badly by the other two teams, and to make it in, we needed to outdo their totals. The game was in the late afternoon, which meant Sheila, Jasmine and Asher were set to come watch. Uncle Ian came over before the game to give Jasmine her Birthday gift, then I rode with him and Larissa to the game. The rink we played at is quite cozy, with the family and friends sitting right behind the players benches. Asher loves this because he can wave and say hi repeatedly throughout the game. We had a great turnout, probably 50 supporters altogther, lots of kids, spouses, buddies, grandparents and we rode that momentum well. Ian and I are back playing together, with Rod joining us on our line. While we aren't flashy, my brother plays a great defensive game, and I feel compelled to keep up with him. We mucked a puck loose in the corner, I shovelled it to Ian who in turn found Rod in front. He scored to open the scoring 1-0, and the floodgates opened. 10-2 was the score and the game was out of reach but that didn't stop Ian. He dove in front of a shot from the other team, the puck bouncing off his shin pads and out of the zone. This ellicited a huge roar from our bench and the crowd. Ian is one of the only guys in rec hockey willing to slide in front of a blistering slapshot, and he gets a lot of love from his teammates for it. After the game ended, we had to wait and see how the other game went before we knew if we were in the next round or not.
A bunch of us gathered for a beer in the parking lot, then came back in the rink to watch the game. If one team won, we were in for sure. If the other team won by a certain number of goals, we would also move on. As we watch and cheer on the one team, he game ends up unfolding the wrong way. The other team wins. Adding to the drama, we are all guessing at what the scores were from the other games, no one can check because as it turns out, cell service is very spotty in the rink, we are on the outskirts of town and the rink is a dead spot. The dressing rooms had service, outside of the rink had service, but no one bothered to go outside and check the website. We just guessed, and then filed out of the rink disappointed. When we got outside and looked, we realized that the score might have been favourable. There was a math equation involving the goals scored for and against and after tinkering around on my phone I was able to tell the remaining couple of guys that yes, we had indeed made it in. This means we get to play at least one more game, likely against the best team in the league Blades of Steel. It's great to play for fun, but its even better when the games mean something. We've beaten these guys before and played them close a few other times. Who knows? Maybe we have enough to get it done.
As hockey season winds down, I am getting excited for what the summer months will bring as far as recreation and fun. I've signed on for my 7th season coaching Jasmine's soccer team. It's hard to believe that she has been playing that long. She celebrated her 10th birthday this past weekend and Friday night we capped the night by playing a game of soccer in the basement. Jasmine played very well with the mini soccer ball, I was showing her how to use to her body to shield the ball and she was catching on. We were tied, one goal needed and the winner was taking down the half eaten easter bunny as a trophy. I had a chance to score and instead of pouting as she is want to do, she violently threw herself into her own net to try to prevent the goal. Unfortunately, Jasmine's back crashed into the heap of Asher's toys that were piled up behind the net and she ended up injured. After comforting her and helping her get an ice pack for her back, I was gushing about how hard she had worked, and what it meant for the season ahead. Jasmine is built for sports. She did quite well with soccer last year despite not always working her hardest. If I can help her realize how good she can be, we might see a really great player develop. I won't overdo it, I will use encouragement and enjoyment as a key, not pushing her to the point that she resents me.
I had a few significant breakthroughs last year with other girls. One of the defenders loved to hear praise and she seemed to get better with every compliment. I continued to pile on the positive reinforcement, and by the end of the season I was convinced she was the best defender in the division. I had been saying it to her for most of the season, and it's funny how a naturally shy girl takes that praise. Before the season started she was completely oblivious to her talents, but when I began to point it out to her, it resulted in her working even harder. I also had a girl on the team last year who worked harder then any other kid in sports that I have witnessed. She had a game where we ended up tying the other team 3-3. We were up against a great team, and most our players were struggling just to touch the ball. This girl was the only one who had could dribble with any confidence. Ultimately, we only had 3 shots on goal all game, and she put all 3 in the back of the net. I still think about the third goal she scored, a lob over the goalies head from near midfield. I lost my mind cheering on the sidelines, it just wasn't something I was expecting to see a 10 year old girl do. It looked like a happy accident it was so good, but she reassured me afterwards it was planned. I really do have a blast helping the kids get better at soccer, and last year was satisfying because I could see how much fun each and every one of the girls was having with it. I'm looking forward to doing it again.
The other thing on my mind is the YMCA Road Race set for Sunday June 2nd. The charge for the race fees has gone through on my credit card, I'm officially registered to run the 10 km distance that day. I guess that means there is no turning back, right? I spent time yesterday researching different types of running shoes. I narrowed my choices down to a handful of different makes and models, keeping it reasonably affordable, and I will likely go pick up a pair tommorow when I have time. I typed "preparing to run 10 km" into my google search bar, and after reading a few different pages I found one that seemed like it would work. I settled on the advanced beginner approach. I know I can run that distance, but I want to properly work my way up to it, so that I can run to achieve a decent time, not just run to say I did it. As it turns out, nearly every program I looked at called for an 8 week build up to race day. I checked the calendar and coincidently, I will be starting the work this week as I am 8 weeks from race day as of yesterday. Preparing properly is serious business. With just two rest days each week, the plan calls for moderate paced run on Tuesday, cross training exercise on Wednesday, a faster but shorter race pace run on Thursday, then a longer run on Saturday. A slower paced recovery style run ends the week on Sunday. I spent time last night on walkjogrun.net last night, a great site that you can use to map out different running routes. It lets you know the distance, elevation changes and whatnot. The plan I chose calls for a variety of different lengths of runs, so I was busy mapping out various routes. My normal run is a 3km route, and when I was feeling ambitious last summer I would do a 4.5 km loop. Neither of those runs are long enough for even the first week of my preparation. I didn't sign up for this because it was going to be a proverbial walk in the park. I'm getting excited about the challenge, and I look forward to bragging incessantly upon completion. Get ready to hear about the race repeatedly over the next few months, :).
I have another busy week planned, and with the added excitement of a couple more hockey games I am really looking forward to it. Lots of running, hockey, weight lifting, fantasy baseballing, swimming, maybe another bowling trip, perhaps a hike with the kids if the weather cooperates should keep us busy as a family. I'm really enjoying my reading as I have plowed through most of "To Kill A Mockingbird" by Harper Lee. If I can stay still long enough, I also want to watch "Django Unchained" with Sheila. I caught it in theatre and was amazed. I absolutely loved it. Christoph Waltz puts on a performance for the ages. I watched the first 20 minutes again last night, and it just has me itching to watch the whole thing again. Maybe tonight?
Until next time, here is to a great day!