Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Running with the pack

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

RunningReid and I took part in the 2K Family Run on Saturday as part of Ottawa Race Weekend. All participants received race t-shirts and time chips to attach to their shoes, which had the effect of making Reid feel like a “real” runner and also enables me to tell you that Reid ran 2 kilometers in 13 minutes and 48.9 seconds. That’s pretty fast and put her in 86 out of 469 females under 8 years old. She ran much of the distance with only a couple of walk breaks.

Reid, Barbara, Sarah and BenWe started our race in the company of Sara and Ben. Sara is one of my Losing It In Ottawa blogger buddies and Ben is her fabulous son. It was fun to have friends in the start corral with us and also to have people to share stories with at the end of the race.

After the race, Reid commented to me that this race was her longest ever. I agreed that it was true. Next, she grinned and said it was also her second. That, too, was true I said. Reid said that she also wants to run a 5 kilometre race next. I recommended a few more 1 or 2 kilometre races but now I’m wondering if we should train for a 5K. The thing with little kids is that they tend to run hell bent for leather and then fade on longer distances. With my Garmin GPS watch, though, Reid might be inclined to pace herself.

Matching outfitsCan I explain the matching outfits? I saw the Running Skirts display at the Army Run last September but resisted buying one. Once I registered us for the 2K run, though, I couldn’t resist buying matching skirts for Reid and myself and then, once we had matching skirts, matching t-shirts and headbands seemed necessary. Reid loved it that I was her “twin”. We’ll have to run several races to get our use out of the outfits.

Reid with medal Everyone who completes a race receives a “Finisher” medal. Reid was delighted with hers. Now I’m wondering what to do with the collection of race medals that we’ve begun amassing.

When I was getting ready for my half-marathon run on Sunday morning, Reid asked how far I would be running. I told her 21.1 kilometres and she shook her head. “No, Mama. Yesterday I ran 2K. How many “K” will you run?” I grinned and told her that it was 21.1K and then I explained that the “K” represented kilometres.

I had to be downtown for my race at 8:00, for the 9:00 start. I asked Ken and Reid to come later and cheer me on near the end. They were stationed within the last kilometre, right where I needed them most. I was more than a little tired after more than 2 hours of running but I wouldn’t let myself be walking when I saw them. Nothing like pride to keep yourself going! Seeing them at the side of the road brought tears to my eyes – good ones – and the tap of the hand that I got from Reid gained me at least 10 seconds.

Reid’s Red Carpet Celebration

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

Reid took part in A Red Carpet Celebration skating carnival last weekend. It marked the 40th Anniversary of the Gloucester Skating Club. Reid was excited to be participating – a very good thing since she performed Friday night, Saturday morning and again on Saturday afternoon.

Reid’s class skated to a Hannah Montana song. I don’t know the title and Ken seems to have blocked any knowledge of what the lyrics were. My running clinic conflicted with Reid’s lessons and so Ken was the only one who saw and heard the weekly practices. He seems somewhat traumatized. ;+) (Just kidding. Sort of.)

We first put Reid in the CanSkate program last summer to reinforce her skating skills since she was struggling at hockey. She made such progress that we enrolled her again in September. I have to confess my anti-figure skating bias. When I was growing up, lo those many years ago, the kids who weren’t good skaters were made to feel like they were wasting the teachers’ time and taking ice time from more deserving skaters. As you might guess, I wasn’t one of the skilled skaters. I had some enthusiasm at the beginning but not much talent. I didn’t want Reid exposed to a “be competitive or go away” culture. The CanSkate program was not like this at all. There is a competitive stream but there are also lots of learning to be done without following that stream.

When Reid brought home the form about the performances, I asked whether she wanted to participate and she said, “no”. The day before the deadline to submit the forms, I asked again and the answer was “yes”. (It seemed better to ask again than to have a kid full of remorse at missing a deadline.) For several weeks the kids who signed up practiced at the end of the regular class. Finally, there was a practice on the Monday before the performances and I got to watch. Reid concentrated so hard to do the right move at the right moment.

At bedtime on Thursday night, Reid was stressing about the performance but I reassured her that even Olympic skaters fell sometimes and that the main point was to get back up and continue skating. I wonder if Reid’s worrying is common or if I can take “credit” for it. I certainly get butterflies myself.

When I took Reid to the arena on Friday night, they said she could stay with me for an extra hour or go straight to the dressing room. Reid chose the dressing room option – I guess the butterflies had subsided – and I half-watched the other kids performing. I didn’t watch too closely because we had tickets for Saturday morning, too, and wanted to be surprised with Ken. I couldn’t ignore the 3 and 4 year olds, though. They were so small and so cute that they brought tears to my eyes. How did Reid get to be so much bigger than these little ones?!

I volunteered in the dressing room from 1:45 til 4:15 on Saturday afternoon. Being confined to a regular-sized dressing room (with typical accoustics) with approximately 30 children was a bit of a challenge. I’m not used to spending long stretches of time with 5 and 6 year old boys and they’re louder and more active than Reid and her buddies. There was hitting and pushing and way more noise than I like. I guess moms of boys get used to it slowly as their own sons grow but I found it a big culture shock. Also, I question the intelligence of parents who send their kids into public with electronic devices that aren’t labelled. Really, when Mabel’s Labels says that they make “labels for the things kids lose”, they mean the DS and Leapster and that sort of thing. As the adult volunteer trying to mediate between two kids each claiming the same toy, I didn’t have nice inside thoughts to say about the parents who sent the electronic devices unlabelled.

In each of her performances, Reid followed the routine with great care. She did particularly well near the end when they cocked their hips and let their Hannah Montana attitude show through ;+) I wasn’t allowed to take pictures during the performance but I did take a few when we were in the dressing room. You can see the attitude that Reid took with her onto the ice.

Reid ready to skate

Reid on a bench

Reid with her hat

Skiing lessons for Reid and Mama

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

When I first thought about signing Reid up for skiing lessons, I was mostly thinking about her being comfortable on school trips. Multiple trips to a local ski hill seem to be a ritual here in Ottawa for grades 3-8. We know lots of families that ski and it seemed like a basic living-in-Ottawa requirement. Then, I got thinking about what Reid would say if I signed her up for another sport that I can’t do. (I’ve never played ice hockey.) And I thought about how I write over at Losing it in Ottawa about the importance of being active.

And so it was, that Reid and I both started learn-to-ski lessons at Camp Fortune on January 9th. I had talked up my excitement about learning to ski at the same time Reid did and we were both keen on the way to our lessons. Ken came with us to help manage all of the newness. We were headed to the lesson meeting places, when Reid stopped suddenly. She had heard that I was going to the red flag and she was going to the blue flag. Reid had thought, I learned, that we were taking lessons with the same instructor. We coaxed Reid into going over to her class and Ken watched a bit while I hurried over to my own.

Reid’s class spent the first day on the bunny hill and magic carpet lift but made it onto a bigger slope the next week. The small kids ski without poles and also without fear. Reid can be a bit timid sometimes but skiing lessons aren’t one of those times. She learned how to make “pizzas” with her feet (snowplow) and eventually moved on to “french fries” (parallel skis). The kids link their turns to ski across the hill as they ski, just like adults do. Reid’s instructor – a teenage boy – is great with the kids. He’s playful and physically engages them but still keeps them in line. It’s pretty cool to see a line of 8 little kids snaking down the slope behind the instructor and even cooler when you recognize your own kid in the line. As we end our skiing lessons, Reid skis on the same four slopes as I do.

It’s a bit humbling to learn a new physical skill as an adult. I’d skiied a couple of times years ago but now that I’ve had 8 classes (we missed a weekend for Sulienne and Ryan’s wedding), I can’t imagine what I looked like that first day. I’ve learned so much and have so much yet to learn. During the first lesson, they taught us to snowplow and turn and took us to a slope. Okay, it was a gentle one but I was still scared. I fell 3 of the 4 times I got off the chairlift and several times on the hill. Thank goodness for the patience of my instructor and my own stubbornness!

As time went by, we left the two easiest slopes and went onto two slightly more challenging ones. Each was intimidating at first and became less as we practiced. Funny how new challenges work like that.

Last week, I noticed a near-empty slope at the top of a T-lift. Since the slope we were on was crowded and we’d never been on a T-lift, I asked if we could try it. The instructor – a substitute – agreed that we should go. I like to think our regular instructor would have reined in my enthusiasm. The slope was SO steep! It made me queasy to look down. Once you’re up at the top, though, you have to get down and walking looked like it would be as hard as skiing. I skied – scared – and fell several times but it was steep enough that standing back up was easy. At the bottom, I was victorious and humbled. We all headed happily back to our more familiar hill.

On the way, one of the women in my class told me that she thinks she’ll skip lessons next season and just buy a membership. I was surprised. That last hill had convinced me that I need lessons next year. Being able to ski on 4 slopes out of 23 doesn’t seem like a good time to stop.

Reid and I have much to tell Ken at the end of our ski trips. We’re both hoping that he’ll be persuaded to sign up for lessons next year.
It’ll be fun for our whole family!

The family that skates together

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

On the coldest day of the year (so far), Reid, Ken and I headed to the outdoor rink – a sheet of ice the city calls a puddle – that has been set up in the parking lot of a park close to our house. Ken hadn’t been on skates in about 20 years (yes, that means he is old but I am not) but wanted to get back into the swing of things – or at least the glide of things – since Reid is spending so much of her time on blades. Ken toughed out the pain of putting his frozen toes in the unsupportive skates and got himself over the snowbank and to the ice.

Putting on skates

His progress was a bit slow and he didn’t look like he was enjoying it much at first. Especially when Reid and I kept asking him how he was doing and Reid wanted to hold onto his arm to “help” him. Soon enough, Ken looked like he was skating rather than being tortured – until I tried to get a group photo, anyway.

 Reid glided around the ice. Her CanSkate lessons have definitely paid off.

Reid skating

After a bit, Ken and I convinced Reid that she should pass a puck with her dad for a while. Reid’s definition of  “a while” is much shorter than what Ken or I thought it should be. She isn’t interested in puckhandling, which is a definite drawback to her hockey performance. I remind myself that she is only 6 and that training for the Olympics or the NHL would take way too much time but sometimes I want to say, “Just practice, for goodness sake.” But I don’t.

Passing the puck

On the Ottawa 67s’ ice – Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010




View More Wordless Wednesday Participants, look at my previous Wordless Wednesday entries, or check out the cute babies and kids at 5 Minutes for Mom.

A Timbit at the 67s game

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Reid’s hockey team – one of the many, many, many Timbit teams in Canada – was invited to play a mini-game between the 2nd and 3rd periods of the Ottawa 67s game on Sunday. Over the weeks between when she found out and the actual game, Reid talked a lot about the “big game on the big ice”. Her excitement was contagious and both Ken and I were looking forward to going. Scotiabank provided 2 tickets for each player but I was sure we’d be able to sit together once I bought my ticket.

We watched the first period and a half of the game and then trooped over to the dressing room to get Reid into her gear. The kids were all lined up and waiting by the time the second period ended. One of the fellows with the 67s organization had them all standing with their hands out, waiting for high fives when the 67s came off the ice. After a short delay due to some fisticuffs, a number of the Kingston Frontenacs and most of the Ottawa 67s gave the Timbits a high five as they went to their dressing rooms. Reid and her teammates looked so small next to the big guys! I wonder if the big players thought about when they were little or if it’s just a part of their routine each week.

The kids hurried onto the ice and began the long skate to the far end while the parents went to the players benches for photos and videos. I resisted the urge to record video while walking but one of the other moms didn’t. The video I took in Scotland convinced me that movement + video = motion sickness.  I did take many photos of the scrimmage and Ken too some video. My Flip video camera is small enough that I can take video while I take photos but it’s nice to have another person (another reason I’m glad Ken is back :+)

The coaches tossed a couple of pucks on the ice and the kids split into two swarms. They all moved from one end of the ice to the other a few times in their 10 minutes of fame. Reid was triumphant as she came off the ice, excited and proud of herself. She wondered if we’d seen her play and we assured her we had.

The 67s Six-O Power Dancers (like cheerleaders) came into the dressing room while the kids were changing. They seemed surprised to see a girl hockey player and made quite a big deal over Reid. Reid was stumped when one of them asked what position she played and I had to say that she played them all for now. I explained to Reid that the players who try and score are Offence and the ones who try to prevent goals are Defence. She decided that she wanted to be Defence. In a later conversation, Ken told Reid that players on defence were called “defencemen” and she countered that the girls would be “defencewomen”. He told her that it was “defencemen” for both. I think Reid and I will just stick with “Defence”, the way that Chairman/Chairwoman has become Chair. It sounds a bit odd at first but it’s equal.

The 67s staff gave each kid a box of Timbits (of course ;+), a medallion with the 67s logo on it  and posters of a few of the 67s players. The kids all seemed to have a swagger in their step as they left the dressing room. Their big game had gone well.

Baseball Festival Day – Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Putting her body into the swingReady to hitHitting the ballWaiting on the moundReceiving baseball medalMedal and cap

Summer ice skating lessons

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Reid is taking a month of CanSkate this summer. I’d thought about signing her up for a week of hockey camp but her coach suggested CanSkate instead. He was worried that she might not enjoy being the only girl. Reid has definitely enjoyed the program, though she prefers the less structured practices on Thursdays to the lessons on Tuesdays. On Tuesdays, she has to follow directions more closely and who doesn’t like to avoid working on skills with which they struggle? Reid has taken a few courses through the City of Ottawa’s recreation department but the CanSkate is much stronger, in terms of structure and working on fundamentals. It’s more expensive, too, but I think it’s worth it.

Reid has improved her forward and backward snowmen, is starting to “make snow” when she stops and occasionally skates on one foot. Her two-footed hops still seem to involve more motion in the shoulder area than in the foot area. From the stands, it seems like her skate don’t leave the ice at all. They do a drill where the kids are supposed to bounce tennis balls on the ice and catch them again. I’m reasonably sure that this exercise would be difficult for Reid if she were standing on a floor in bare feet. Still, she is getting better at this, too.

It’s nice to come to the rink when it’s humid outside but cool inside. It’s less nice to be wearing flip flops when your 40-odd-pound kid steps on you while she is wearing ice skates. On the bright side, it seems that Reid’s skates need to sharpened. It hurt but I have only a small cut. Skating lessons were easier when Ken was in charge of tying skates but I’m considering this to be my pre-season training. Hockey begins in earnest in September. I have to get ready for my dressing room duties.

Game on!

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Reid had her first soccer practice/game on Saturday morning (May 1st). She is on the navy blue team this year. She was on the brown team last year and so we cheer “Go, Brown!” and I always thought of the NASCAR races with Dale Jarrett and the “Race the truck” ads for UPS. This year, it’s much cooler. I’ll call (really loud), “Go, Navy!” and then say (quietly), “Beat Army.” Because you can’t say just, “Go, Navy!” It wouldn’t be right.

Last year, the kids were 3-5 years old and the skills development included:
* not leaving the field in the middle of the game
* not touching the ball with your hands
* knowing toward which net your team was trying to shoot
* basics of dribbling and shooting the ball
The coach at Saturday’s practice taught the 5-7 year olds to do “step ons”, where they alternated standing with the left or right foot on the ball and jumping over the ball. Well, they were supposed to jump over the ball but Reid mostly jumped in the general vicinity of the ball.

After the practice portion, Navy played Yellow and luck was not in Navy’s favour. The Yellow team had nearly twice as many players and about that much more ambition and aggression. Reid needed regular reminders to look for the ball. I don’t mind if she isn’t always the first one to the ball when it comes near her but I’d like her to be aware of the fact that it was near her. There was one boy on Yellow who has perfected trash talking – “That’s going to leave a mark!” and “He’s going to feel that one in morning!” comments when one of the other little kids was hurt – and is a ball hog. I’m hoping Yellow doesn’t come up too often on the schedule.

Given my poor grasp on the concept of “home time”, Reid also started baseball on Monday night. It all started when the mother of one of Reid’s friends asked Reid if she were going to play soccer and baseball at MP with E. Reid got excited and they both seemed like fun to me. E’s mom has subsequently decided to enroll E in a different soccer program and not in baseball. I might be suggestible but I’m not a follower. Reid can play without E.

Reid and Ken joined other kid-parent pairs tossing the ball back and forth to each other as they waited for the coaches to call everyone together. Once the official activities started, Reid was paired with another girl about her age and they practiced throwing underhand and overhand to each other. Reid did a pretty good job of paying attention to where the ball is – a major challenge in soccer – and even caught a few balls. She threw once to her partner when her partner was looking at something else entirely but, fortunately, Reid’s throw was inaccurate enough not to make contact.

The kids played a one-inning, everyone-bats “game” after their arms were limber. Reid decided to bat from the “wrong” side of the plate. Ken is more relaxed than me. No, really. He said that Reid might bat left-handed but I’ve never seen evidence of ambidexterity. I don’t let my more limited baseball experience interfere with my conviction it this regard. In any case, Reid was called out at first but was confused by what to do next. The other parents encouraged her to stay on base and she did. There were other kids who left the field later, though, and so we’ll have to explain the process to Reid.

Everything about T-ball went smoothly except the batting helmet. I’d told Reid to keep her cap on when they put the batting helmet on – I fear lice – but it wouldn’t fit and so I had to recant. Reid looked a little worried since I’d explained about bugs getting from another kid’s hair onto the helmet and then onto her own hair. And worse from Reid’s hair onto mine! I’m hunting madly for a head cloth, like bikers wear, to put on Reid’s head. Since her uniform t-shirt is black with orange, a Harley-Davidson cloth would be just right. I’ll have to swing by the store soon.

All this to say, “Game on!”

Hockey hardware

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010


View More Wordless Wednesday Participants, look at my previous Wordless Wednesday entries, or check out the cute babies and kids at 5 Minutes for Mom.