Fort St. John Hospitality

We spent the weekend in Fort St. John at the BC Winter Games. We are really proud of our kids for reaching some Person Bests this weekend! As well, our son with his friends are bringing home a bronze medal: BC Winter Games Success. But the hospitality Fort St. John offered was amazing.

We stayed at the Pomeroy Inn & Suites. The hotel chain had their first location in Fort St. John back in 1941. There is now 8 locations in BC and Alberta. Their accommodations were clean and the breakfast was filling. It’s no wonder that the Pomeroy also supported the building of the Long Track Speed Skating arena. It helps boost tourism into the city.

For lunches, my wife discovered the most amazing donair place. A little hole in the wall with delicious food. Fort St. John has been hiding this secret place from the rest of us. We ate there three days in a row. FST Donair- remember that name if you ever find yourself in Fort St. John!

After the Saturday events, we went to a Social put on by the Northern Lights College. We enjoyed some beers, snacks and a hot chocolate bar. It was a nice way to mingle with some locals and other parents who came to watch their kids perform in the games.

Closing Ceremonies
(The Big Screen showing off our son to the crowd. Another proud moment.)

Finally, I want to acknowledge the city and people of Fort St. John. They were kind, friendly and very helpful all weekend long. Visiting Northern BC was never really on my must-travel-to locations in the past. But as we’ve been to Fort St. John a couple of times now within the year, I can see why people would live here or visit more often.

I expect to visit a few more times over the years as our son progresses with his Speed Skating goals. Perhaps we will discover some more hidden gems in their city that I can share.

BC Winter Games Success

Podium Goals

The second day of BC Winter Games ended yesterday. It was also the second day of skating for the kids. And you could see how tired they’ve been getting. The day before, our boys successfully made it into the relay finals. Yesterday, their last Short Track race of the day was to compete in these finals. The three boys from our zone were against two teams of four skaters and one other team of three. Four teams on the ice competing for medals.

Our boys were a cohesive team. They came up with a plan for doing the laps for the 3000m relay. The coaches agreed with the plan and they executed it flawlessly. A few times we could see the boys reaching their limits as exhaustion was kicking in. But they held their own keeping on the heels of the teams in the lead.

They successfully placed third! After a clean race, the joy they shared together became evident for all of us who cheered them on. After receiving their medals, they wanted to show off their wrists. It was where they wrote their plan for how to run the race.

Seeing the kids earn a medal for their hard work is awesome. As I’ve mentioned before, they skate with one another on a regular basis. Sometimes even competing against each other. But to reach a goal and successfully push each other to the end result showcases the camaraderie they share.

Long Track at BC Winter Games 2020

Fort St. John hasn’t hosted the BC Winter Games in 36 years. The town has been excited to share with the province its amazing hospitality. We are pleased to be a part of it.

For the first time ever, the BC Winter Games will have Long Track Speed Skating. This is exciting for our kids as they get to compete in both Short Track and Long Track this weekend. Fort St. John built the long track ice rink in 2010.

Friday was filled with Short Track racing. Zone 3 (the zone our kids are representing) have been holding their own. Our son had two personal best times already. Thus showing that sometimes these bigger competitions can push the limits of their skillsets.

We are here for two more days of events. And of course, we’d love our son to bring home some hardware (read as medals!) If you wish to watch the games on YouTube, Subscribe to the FSJ Speed Skating YouTube channel (and click the bell) in order to be notified when we start the live video just before skating starts. The channel can be found at: YouTube Our son is the one wearing the number 53 on a light blue helmet.

So scream at your screen to cheer him on for us! I’m already going hoarse from all of my cheers.

2020 BC Winter Games Opening Cermonies

Last night was the Opening Ceremonies to the BC Winter Games 2020. It has been a long time coming. The last couple days have been the longest ever.

The night before, our Zone flew in on a chartered flight Off On Their Own. Earlier today, my wife and I flew in to Fort St. John with a few other parents. When we arrived, we had a chance to watch the kids from our zone as they warmed up on the ice.

In the early evening, my wife and I wandered nearby where the Opening Ceremonies were being held. We saw some amazing ice sculptures. With the chill in the air, it is no wonder that the sculptures looked fantastic.

The ceremonies were filled with pomp and circumstance. Starting with some of the local cheer and dance groups performing. Then the organizers of the games were introduced, followed by the entrance of the athletes. 1500 athletes that arrived on 12 charter planes and 5 buses.

Denny Morrison

Before the ceremonies ended the key speaker- Denny Morrison- took the stage and delivered a fantastic speech. He is the Fort St. John local hero who has won Medals for Canada at the Olympics for Speed Skating (Our son was also coached by him last summer). The flame was brought into the arena and passed to Denny. He lit the cauldron and the games had officially begun!

Now it’s on to cheering for the kids as they compete in their respective sports. Best of luck to all the athletes this weekend. We are rooting for you!

Feel free to watch live streams “Subscribe to the FSJ Speed Skating YouTube channel (and click the bell) in order to be notified when we start the live video just before skating starts tomorrow.” The channel can be found at: YouTube

Off On Their Own

Last night we sent our children off on a chartered flight to the BC Games. This is exciting for many reasons. First, it’s the Ten Year Anniversary since the 2010 Winter Olympics in BC. Secondly, many of us sent our kids off on their own for the first time ever. A great chance for these young athletes to to aspire to bigger and greater opportunities.

These young adults were excited and eager to show off their skills on a provincial level. Going to the BC Winter Games is more than a road trip with mom and dad to a small event. This is big in their young lives. A chance to show off their skills to the rest of the province.

I’m proud of the Speed Skating team that our Zone has. These boys and girls are talented and becoming masterful at skating. They have a couple of great coaches, three young officials, and our adult chaperone all going to support them. This weekend, they will have a chance to prove their skills.

I’m proud of our son for getting this far. He will be skating his heart out. I hope the he understands that he is skating for more than just himself. He is skating for his family, his club and his zone. There are many people cheering him on that he doesn’t even know about. But he is the one out there showcasing his skill set.

If you wish to follow along this weekend for any of the BC Winter Games- there will be streaming of the games here: FSJ YouTube And of course, I will be writing about our son (and daughter) all weekend long.

Oh Dear, Red Deer

Over the weekend, my wife took our son to Red Deer, Alberta for a Long Track Speed Skating meet. This was significant for our son in many ways.

  1. He was in the top four of his age range of the skaters for British Columbia.
  2. This was his first National competition in Long Track Skating and he skated for Team BC.
  3. This was his first ever outdoor competition.
  4. This is only his second long track competition ever. His first was just a couple weeks ago.

Because of all of those factors, our son placed 17th out of 17 kids in his age range. As a parent wanting to encourage him further- what do you say?

First you tell him that you’re proud of how much effort he’s put in. And you remind him that he is still top 17 Nationally in his age range for Canada. You also point out that he has no where to go but up. Having only competed twice at long track, I know it feels discouraging to him to place last. One day he can make it to the podium.

I’m looking forward to seeing him in action at BC Winter Games next week. He will be doing his third ever set of Long Track races as well as Short Track. Hopefully he isn’t dissuaded from doing his best. I’m just as proud to see him out there putting in effort as I am seeing him win.

I don’t know if I’ll ever see him skate in Red Deer in the future. But I hope he took away from the competition some learning points. Like dress warmly!

Speed Skating Swag

Part of being a proud parent of your children’s lives is supporting them. Taking them to competitions, cheering them on, coaching them, etc… But another way is to wear swag.

For Speed Skating, we usually wear Langley Blades hoodies. I have two different ones that I like to wear. My wife and kids each have 3. We wear these hoodies regularly in support of our kids’ activity and our local club.

Our son and daughter have also picked up numerous t-shirts and other hoodies supporting the Speed Skating sport in general. They are proud of the sport they chose to get into and love to show it off.

But my favorite piece so far is the BC Winter Games jacket. I’m overjoyed that both our son, who will be competing, and our daughter, who will be a young official, are attending the BC Winter Games. I’ll be wearing my jacket as much as possible over the next few weeks leading up to the games.

How do you show support to your children’s activities?

Schwinn

I was trying to think of something clever to call today’s blog post. I thought of doing a Charlie Sheen “Schwinning” Or a Wayne’s World type: “Sch-Winn” I even thought of a cheesy rhyme “Schwinn for the Win” In the end I just went with what I went with- Schwinn.

It may be obvious, but I’m writing about a bike. A stationary bike at that- the Schwinn AD6 Airdyne. The reason behind our purchase was so that our son (and the rest of us) will get a full cardio workout. Cycling helps with his legs promoting muscle growth for his speed skating. This bike also helps with arm strengthening as well- thus pushing the cardio aspect.

The bike arrived early this morning. All 117lbs of it. The delivery driver was kind enough to get it in the door at least. He was also amused by the fact that I was playing a record in the house, considering it was a lot of trumpets playing. I signed off on the delivery and attempted to move the box. Nope. I wasn’t going to injure myself moving this thing.

Instead of me dragging the box into our living room, I pulled the pieces out one at a time. I lay them out neatly and double checked that everything was there and nothing damaged or missing. I then set to work assembling the bike.

Assembly was pretty easy. Once it was done, I tested it out for about five minutes. I could already feel my lungs and heart working harder. I’ve never been one to actively workout. But I do enjoy swimming and using stationary bikes when traveling at various hotels.

When I was younger we had an inground swimming pool that I used regularly. We also had a cheap stationary bike that allowed you to adjust the tension on a cord to make it a tougher workout. That bike stayed in our unfinished basement and was used mainly by us kids to fool around on.

The bike that I just set up in our home is going to be in the main living space. It’s fairly quiet and we can watch movies or play video games while one of us can use the bike. I’m hoping that it gets a lot of good usage in its location. I’m also going to use it and get buff!

Really.

More BC Winter Games Excitement For Our Family

Besides the awesome news that our son will be competing at BC Winter Games (read about it here: 2020 Skating Journey), we received some other news yesterday as well. Our daughter Darwin is also attending! However, she won’t be skating competitively, she will be there in a different role.

She applied for and was accepted to take part in BC Speed Skating’s Young Officials program. That means as a young official, she will receive officials’ training and will officiate at the Games (primarily as track stewards), as well as serving as athlete mentors to the skaters competing at the Games. This is a perfect position for her since she was once a cheerleader and has always supported our club in many aspects. She is a junior coach a couple of times a week and has volunteered at numerous meets throughout BC.

Young Officials also get to travel and be with the athletes throughout the Games. My wife and I will be attending as spectators during the BC Winter Games. We will be hiding in the audience as our children take center stage ice. This event is exciting for us all and kind of a big stepping stone for the future of our children.

Thanks for reading this proud parent post. Be aware that many more are still to come!

The 2010’s

Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. ~ Mark Twain

Here’s some highlights of my life, with photos from those crazy 2010’s. Lots of family, travel and experiences. Mind you, I’m only sharing all the greatest hits. We’ve had plenty of mundane days and a few bad ones along the way. But I’d much rather look back on our fun!

2019

Axe throwing, weekend away, Calgary, kayaks, Queen


2018

Tokyo, Tubing, a new driver, Disneyland Again!


2017

Road trips, camping, Becoming a Jedi


2016

Silicon Valley and our first taste of VR, Disneyland again for the 60th anniversary, 15 years of marriage, Career change, Rainbow hair


2015

Ningen Headwear studio, More Cosplay and hanging artwork from conventions, New roof, Our oldest entered high school, Driving in the desert


2014

Hawaii, Jem cosplay, Disneyland again


2013

Felicia Day Emerald City, Lex joining our family, Voodoo donuts


2012

Disneyland Halloween


2011

Center of the Universe with my son, Tenth anniversary


2010

Conductor on a Steam Train, Disneyland Halloween, an interest in Speedskating began.


I’m happy that I’ve had such wonderful experiences with my family. Seeing the kids grow up over the years is heartwarming. I hope you had a great run during the 2010’s. And here’s to the Roaring 20’s starting once more!

BC Cup Richmond

Last month we were in Prince George for Part One of BC Cup. Today is Part Two in Richmond. Another early morning of skating for our son.

If our son does okay at today’s meet, he will make Provincials without hesitation. He is currently in 4th of approximately 20 kids in his age range. He needs to remain in the top 12 in order to compete at Provincials. No pressure.

Maybe a little pressure- but most of it is a pressure he puts on himself. My wife and I support Theory and travel with him to a variety of locations. As long as he is pushing himself and striving to be better, I am happy to wake up early and travel to the coldest parts of Canada in pursuit of his goals.

He has skated here in Richmond previously, so he knows the ice. He’s also spent the past few years skating against many of the same skaters, so he is starting to understand their abilities vs his. But we are also here to cheer on every skater. These other families who travel, like we do, have become a friendly reminder of how much encouragement is out there for this sport.

The Family Saturday

Today was a long day filled with some quality family time. Quality time is something that I treasure whenever we can get it.

It started with early morning speed skating training, followed by a free movie at the theater. It was Community Day so we took in a classic film- “A Christmas Story” to start our season right. By far one of my most favorite films. Seeing it in the theater added a new ambiance to the film and legitimate out loud laughs by the audience.

The film was over around lunch. We came straight home, did a quick tidy/clean before settling in to a favorite family activity. It’s the first Saturday after my wife’s birthday, so that meant decorations for our trees were to go up!

Loads of fun, dancing, singing and smiles were had. It helped that my wife and I had cookies and Firenog as well. Today is a day that our oldest loves to be a part of and willingly gets her picture taken with a smile!

We have three trees, so the kids rotate which topper they put up. It’s the first year I haven’t lifted anyone up to do it. It’s also the first year that my wife did this:

She broke an ornament! It’s not Christmas until at least one ornament explodes.

Making My Wife Crazy

Today is another Speed Skating meet. Originally I was planning on going, however I owed a coworker a shift because he helped me out a couple of weeks ago when we went to the BC Cup in Prince George. That means I have to work overnight later today.

The issue today is that up until twenty minutes before leaving the house, I was still planning on going to this Speed Skating meet. My wife had planned on staying home as it was her day off. Now she is the one going and I’ll be at home to get some rest. My wife is none too happy with me.

On Thursday when she found out that I would be working she offered to take our son. I refused the offer because I had committed to taking him a few weeks ago. As I was putting on my shoes to leave I realized that I’d be awake for almost 24 hours. I’d be lucky to get in a nap prior to my shift. I grumbled under my breath, and that’s when my wife decided for me that she was going instead.

I should’ve accepted her initial offer a couple of days ago. Unfortunately I left it too late- now I was going to lose no matter what. Obviously it’s better that she goes today. I made a mistake by not thinking the situation through ahead of time. My wife will stew over this for a brief amount while.

I know I can make her crazy- it’s just not always intentional.

Feel Good Drive Home

Driving home yesterday from the Speed Skating meet felt great. A big burden for our son is behind him/us. The attitude in the car from each of us portrayed as much.

Right from the beginning of the trip- my wife and daughter were having some fun. We stopped at the only sight in Prince George that we could think of- Mr. PG. It’s a large tree like statue with what looks like an oversized antenna ball from Jack In The Box as his head.

The rest of the drive we had really nice weather. There was an occasional spotty shower during the bright sunshine. But that’s what happens when nature does what it wants. I enjoyed the drive on Highway 97 because it wasn’t overly busy and parts of it reminded me of our previous road trips on Interstate 5 through California.

Our son was so worn out that he slept at least half of the way home cuddling his Duffy teddy bear. Even though he’s a teenager and working hard towards his goals in the sport of speed skating- he’s still just a kid at heart.

I’m glad that one more major competition is behind us. For the next few months it seems we will be hitting up a meet every couple of weeks. It’s good practice and will help him with his mental game before the big competitions in early 2020.

Until then, it’s nice to be home.

BC Cup Prince George

On Saturday we spent the day in Prince George at The BC Cup… Part One… That’s because there is a BC Cup 2 next month in the Lower Mainland. We could’ve just gone to one of them- but they add the points between both… basically whoever gets the most points goes on to “Provincals”. So to guarantee a chance it’s best to go to both competitions.

Le sigh.

Arriving at our destination, it was obvious that I was unable to escape my work. We were at the rink connected to the CN Centre. But I wasn’t here to think about work- it was all about our son. So we focused on that.

He worked hard all day- stretching and exercising between races. Our regular coach wasn’t able to be there, but a lovely lady named Nicole and a fellow named Adam were willing to give some advice and call out tips to our son during the races. Theory took to the coaches really well and it helped tremendously.

Throughout the races, Theory did his best. At one point he was in fourth place and the three boys in front of him fell at different times and our son took this opportunity and earned first place. This pushed our son for his next race as it put him in a higher level. That next race- he earned a personal best.

Our son raced in five races. Each race lasting 45 seconds to 3 minutes or so. Not very long all things considered. On the other hand, our daughter Darwin volunteered her time as a “Track Steward” for the entire day. She had to make sure the markers were in place, holes in the ice were repaired, and the corners were smooth for every left turn. She enjoyed being on the sidelines silently cheering on her friends and her brother. It was a full time job.

In the end, we still won’t know if our son made it into “Provincials” but it looks like he’s in the top 8 of his division so far. He was up and down all day with the scoring. And if some of the boys from up north don’t go down to Richmond- it may help our son’s odds.

Competitions like this are stressful. I just want our son to feel that his hard work is paying off. It was a good feeling to hear people in the audience who I don’t know- cheer his name. I felt so much fatherly pride. That’s something worthwhile as our son does something he loves.

Driving On Nine

We travelled for nine hours to get to Prince George, BC. I did the majority of the drive. The only time my wife did the driving, she was stopped by the police for enjoying the speed of the car. Which unfortunately was within the first couple hours.

We made a pit stop in Quesnel just prior to arriving at our destination. There’s a small brewery that we liked back in the summer, so we made sure to stop once more for some lunch and beers. With a little over an hour remaining to get to the destination, it was a nice way to enjoy the afternoon.

We checked into our hotel- The Pomeroy- and they had upgraded us to a full kitchen suite at no extra cost. That meant we could go to the local grocery store and make a quick dinner instead of spending money unnecessarily at a restaurant! Bonus since we have a small fine to pay from earlier…

I took our son downstairs to do a workout before dinner. He hit up the elliptical, bike and treadmill for about ten minutes each. It was a great way to get his leg muscles active after such a long journey in the car. I even got my heart rate going on the bike and treadmill.

Our daughter has been enjoying writing during the road trip. She has a journal titled “Plans For World Domination“. I’m pretty sure she is secretly trying to take over the world by being obvious. Only time will tell.

I spent some time after dinner enjoying the newly updated pool and hot tub that the hotel had to offer. I’d like to say I was alone, but since there are a couple of waterslides- there were a few kids around. I still got a couple of laps in though and felt relaxed afterwards.

Now it’s time to encourage Theory in his Speed Skating. I mean, he is the reason we came up here!

Quick Weekend Road Trip

We are off again on a road trip related to Speed Skating. This time it’s an eight hour or so journey up to Prince George, BC. We are hoping for decent road conditions as winter is on the way up north.

As with most road trips, the essentials are needed. Music to sing along to, movies for some down time, neck pillows and snacks for a bit of comfort. Crammed into a car with bags and blankets. Road trips are something we have been doing for ages.

On the road before sunrise in hopes of beating some traffic. Although it’s not the local area that I’m concerned with but rather all the road work further along the way.

Let’s do this! ROAD TRIP!

2019/2020 Skating Journey

I’m really proud of our son- he successfully qualified on Sunday to be in the BC Winter Games this upcoming February. The end results were really close for him. He was in a three way tie for second place and in the end barely beat out one of his competitors to earn his second place spot. The judges used the times of the 1500m race to decide. Luckily for our son- he’s quite good at those long distance races. My wife was texting me status updates about each and every race. It was a nail biter for our family. But at least that stress is over.

He was so happy he didn’t care that his last name was misspelled.

There are a couple of other big competitions coming up. At the end of the month our son is traveling to Prince George to compete for a chance to be in BC Short Track Provincials. In order to be eligible our son would have to attend at least one BC Cup this year- either in Prince George in a couple of weeks or Richmond in Mid-December to earn points. It’s better if he goes to both competitions in order to garner more points for his chance like he did last year. In the end, he will be attending both.

Lastly will be getting into CanWest. He will need to place in a top spot in Provincials or luck out with a wild card spot. Both are possible, but I think he would get a greater joy from earning his place. All of these “Bigger Competitions” are at the start of next year- which is really only a couple of months away. Our son is training on the ice five days a week at numerous facilities in order to achieve his goals.

All of this is only for Short Track Speed Skating. I’m afraid to see what comes next when he wants to do Long Track.

Successful Staycation

It’s back to work for the night shift this week. I’d have to say though, my staycation with a to-do list was more than successful. Here’s what I had planned:

  1. Finish my costume.
  2. Fix the tile and tap in shower.
  3. Fix the sauna heater.
  4. Get the Honda Element serviced.
  5. Decorate for Halloween.
  6. Do some baking on Saturday.
  7. Make turkey dinner on Sunday
  • Numbers 1,4,5,6 & 7 were completed. Number 2 is almost done- I just need to buy a small amount of grout and seal it and my shower will be useable once more. Number 3 I am still avoiding. Don’t judge me…
  • However I did end up doing a few other projects that weren’t on my initial list.

    1. I installed a new stovetop.
    2. I painted the trim between the sunroom and the living room.
    3. I helped my son build his costume.
    4. I was involved in speed skating more.
  • Overall I think I was fairly productive with my time off. Now to get back into the work routine and utilize my days off as rest days once more. I just hope I remember how to do my job…
  • The First Set of Races

    So it begins. The first inter-club race of the Speed Skating season. Our club in Langley is hosting today- which means a lot of the parents from the club are volunteering in some aspect. Our two daughters are also helping for the entire day as “Place Judges”.

    This is the look of a tired parent who was here a couple of hours before races start to set up mats along the boards. Those mats help protect the skaters should they fall.

    We also have paramedics on stand-by should anything happen. This year I asked my buddy Greg if he would be available to help us out. He eagerly responded and was able to bring another 1st Aid Attendant with him.

    Only a few races in, and they’ve had to come and check on a couple of the kids who fell. No serious injuries, more just precautions. And of course my wife needed a bandaid. Sharpening the skates can be dangerous when you’re not careful!

    In the end, it’s amazing how a small community comes together in order to support these kids and teenagers in a sport that they love. I am proud that our son wants to achieve his goal of making it further in the sport.

    There are numerous kids and parents from the variety of clubs who also want the best for all of the children. Even though these are competitions, there is a comradery between us all. Positive encouragement is given to every skater. That brings me joy.

    What My Teenagers Do On A Friday Night

    Having teenagers can be difficult at times. Knowing what they’re up to in their free time can be even harder. My wife and I are lucky that we know exactly what ours are up to. They spend their Friday evenings at Speed Skating.

    Our two oldest don’t just skate, they volunteer their time to be assistant coaches to the new and younger skaters. The new skaters are first on the ice every Wednesday and Friday. Seeing our daughters out there enjoying themselves and helping others has inspired our son to start joining them early as well.

    After an hour and a half there is an ice cleaning. (The Zamboni Driver loves to give our high fives!) After which our kids hit the ice for their training. Which is far more rigorous. By the time we are home at 8:30 at night, our kids are tired and just want to veg watching some tv as a family.

    Getting kids into sports is a great way to keep kids and teens out of trouble. As much as it pains my pocketbook and cuts into my free time, I’m happy and proud of who they are becoming. I’ll gladly give up my Friday night to watch them bring joy to some of the younger kids.

    More Speed Skating Ice Time!

    The Langley Blades Speed Skating Club has been able to secure a couple of hours every Sunday at a sports complex that just opened. The complex is so new that they don’t even have the concession area rented out. I’m glad that our little club jumped at an opportunity to get more ice time- this will be beneficial to all of our skaters as well as future skaters.

    The new location is just a twenty minute drive from the Langley Sportsplex where we skate twice a week and have our competition meets. It may seem odd that our club has some new time at North Surrey Sport and Ice Complex, but we have skaters who live in Surrey. This is a great opportunity for them to be closer to home and maybe garner more speed skaters to join.

    This new ice looks pristine and will be a great opportunity for the skaters to get more practices in. Speed Skating always seems like an afterthought at these places. Hockey and Figure Skating always comes first. We are lucky to get the time slots we do and when new times come available, the skating clubs push to try and secure a couple of hours.

    Personally, our family does a lot of traveling around to make the most of the opportunities to speed skate. Every week our son skates 4-5 days for a couple of hours each time. It’s not just in Langley mind you. We also travel to Maple Ridge and Abbotsford in order to get some training. Some of the skaters at those clubs come out to Langley as well. It’s quite the little community of skaters all sharing in the knowledge and expertise of the sport.

    Now that we have a Surrey location- maybe there will be a new club created. But in the meantime, they shall carry the Blades name for the foreseeable future.

    For more information about our club, visit Langley Blades or find them on Facebook. We’d love to see more up and comers join in the sport.

    Marking Ice

    Speed Skating Ice requires marking at the start of the season. We share the rink with hockey and figure skating. Thursday morning, a few of the parents (and a coach) came out to do it. It’s more time consuming than I once thought. This is the third time I’ve helped out and the sixth time my wife has.

    Marking the ice requires strict measurements so the the skaters can have accurate results for their times.

    We each had a job to do. A few of us were measuring marking where we needed to place dots. One person was drilling holes for the dots, while two people painted the bottom of each one a different colour.

    My job was to go around with a spray bottle and fill the holes back up with water once the paint began to freeze. I had to walk laps around the rink slowly filling each hole with water. A bit over a hundred holes and an hour and a half of walking. I began singing to myself “Watering the dots. I’m watering the dots..” to the tune of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland’s “Painting the Roses Red”.

    It was a good feeling knowing that what we were doing will benefit the skaters all year. I like to think that our volunteering and support goes a long way. Now we are ready to start cheering and coaching the skaters for another season.

    The Parents Who Volunteer

    Fort St. John is a small community with a large Speed Skating Oval. While here, our kids got to experience a true sense of a tight knit community supporting their dreams.

    The parents of almost every skater has volunteered their time in many aspects. From photography to lap counting to place judging and every background position possible. Setting up these meets and camps just to promote the kids and their goals.

    The statue out front of the Pomeroy Sports Centre shows a father tying up his kid’s skates. This is the perfect representation of how sports bring forth a sense of family and camaraderie. I’ve tied my fair share of ice skates for many kids already. It’s a sense of encouragement that can mean so much out there.

    I also love to hear the cheering going on for every child out there on the ice. The parents, coaches and other skaters cheer one another on. I’ve mentioned this before, but I still delight from the enthusiastic energy produced.

    It makes all the difference in the world to many of these kids.

    Olympic Dreams

    We spent thIs past week in Fort St. John in order for our kids to get some Long Track Speed Skating training. It wasn’t until Thursday that I realized this is an Olympic Goal for many. Even those not just in British Columbia, or let alone Canada, but around the world.

    When we were in Calgary we saw the Chinese Olympic Speed Skating Team doing their training. Now they are training in Fort St. John alongside my kids. This seems crazy to me because of course I want our son to succeed in his goal. I thought our 12 and 14 hour road trips were extreme. But flying in from China- that’s dedication.

    This week our kids had an opportunity to learn and skate with Denny Morrison. A Long Track Olympic Speed Skater for Canada who got his start here in Fort St. John. Our daughter was even excited to have her Speed Skating helmet signed by Denny Morrison. I think our kids forget that they get coached by Eden Donatelli and her husband Julian Green. Both of these coaches have competed in the Olympics (having met at the 1988 Olympics).

    After asking our son if he remembers a time before Julian, and he does not. The drive and ambition to achieve an Olympic Dream is strong in our son. He’s been coached for many years and has a strong backing supporting him. If he wants to get to the world stage, then we shall help him any way we can. Including these trips to Fort St. John or Calgary and any other provinces or counties this may take us to.