The last day of skating began with a warm up. As Theory hit the ice, the Star Wars theme was being played, followed by Highway to the Danger Zone. It was a great soundtrack to get him pumped!
He skated so well this weekend. All five of his races he achieved personal bests. One race he shaved off 3.5 seconds! His goal was only half a second- it may not seem like much, but that is huge in the growth of speed skating!
Even though he kept beating his own times, he was unable to qualify for next weekend’s competition. However, the coach for Calgary speed skating has invited him to come out this week for practices. This is a great opportunity for our son to get a bit more ice time before we head home. It also helps that he is showing so much growth that other coaches are wanting to get to know him.
As a celebration for all of his accomplishments, we joined some other skaters, parents and the travel coach for some milkshakes. These were the best shakes I have ever had! (Peter’s Drive-In if you are in Alberta) Kind of odd to enjoy a milkshake outdoors in -8°C weather, but it was a fun way to wrap up the competition!
Since Saturday was only a half day of skating, we took advantage of having an afternoon to enjoy. Right after skating we went to the outlet mall to buy some running shoes for our son to use in his training. That was uneventful, but necessary. Afterwards came the fun!
We took the late afternoon as a time to unwind. The friends we are staying with suggested a place called Revival Brewcade. A brewery with pinball and retro arcade games. The prices were completely reasonable and I ended up playing Godzilla Pinball for most of the afternoon.
Our son has never really played pinball before. I hadn’t thought about it, but the gameplay is quite different from video games. He was asking tons of questions and also looked up scoring tips online- specifically for Godzilla as he wanted to beat my score. What’s neat about some of the newer Stern Pinball is the fact that they can connect online and track your progress and scores. I set up an account and achieved almost 42 million on my first game. My son’s highest score was 12 million. I guess pinball is my thing still!
Afterwards, when we returned to the house, our friend served us a variety of teas. We sampled about 3-4 different ones. Theory was willing to try them as well and we discussed what each tea flavour brought to our mind. The strongest tea we tried was lapsang sough. A very Smokey flavour, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
Right before bed, my son attempted to challenge our friend to some Beat Saber on the Oculus. He was fairly cocky going into the challenge, but was soon destroyed by our friend. She plays quite fiercely and competitively. My wife and I knew this, but it was more fun to watch our son get put in his place by the 40 year old!
All in all a good Saturday afternoon. I really enjoyed the fun and competitions. Now for the final day of our son’s speed skating competition!
Yesterday afternoon, my wife and I went for a thirty minute walk around Inglewood (a neighborhood in Calgary). Inglewood is a hub of culture, entertainment, and commerce- showcasing unique stores filled with vintage articles ranging from clothing to furniture to vinyl. The homes and shops are of eclectic styles in unmatchable designs. Filled with modern and traditional architecture and everything in between.
We braved the chilly atmosphere as we walked around. Coming from Surrey BC the other day, it’s easy to forget that the rest of our country is still experiencing winter. My wife and I bundled up, but the -16°C was felt on our exposed skin and eyes. Did you know that frozen snowflakes feel like tiny razor blades against your eyeballs? What we did see of the area we wandered was beautiful. I only took a couple of photos because my hands got cold fast when holding my phone out.
When we returned to our friend’s home, we ordered some amazing Chicago Deep Dish Pizzas. It has been years since I have had such an amazing pizza. It was warm and filling- exactly what we needed after a brisk walk.
So far, Calgary in the winter isn’t that bad. The biggest challenge I have discovered is Google Maps- every time I enter our journey to and from the Oval- it gives me a different route. I have taken half a dozen variations to get where I’m going. Perhaps it’s to avoid traffic congestion, or maybe Google just doesn’t like me. But I swear we have gone around Calgary in both directions and through Calgary– all have taken the same amount of time.
I guess that’s part of the charm of exploring a different city. Just finding new and exciting places and exploring what there is to offer.
This past weekend our sixteen year old son was in Calgary for The Western Elite Circuit competition. Normally my wife travels with him to the out of town speed skating meets. But this time she “unfortunately” had to go to Disneyland for work and was unable to head to Calgary. I was also working, so we opted to send our son by himself.
He did go with a couple of families from our club- they were kind enough to offer to make sure he got to the meet each day and kept him fed. His coach also attended to support the club- which was excellent as well.
I was able to watch the races remotely via YouTube. As I have done in the past, I watched the races on our television but also screen captured them on my iPhone. Once I trimmed the length of the races, I sent it off to our group chat consisting of Theory, my wife and his coach. That way they could review each race afterwards and discuss them. I think this helps…
Because he came in first for every race this past weekend!
What was really fantastic was the outpouring of support given from his fellow club members and their parents! The congratulation messages kept coming in as the competition ended.
Needless to say, we are very proud of his success. But now I am wondering if my wife is bad luck when she travels with him… Time will tell. For now, our son is beaming from his hard work efforts paying off.
My wife and son have left for Calgary this weekend. Theory will be skating all three days at the Calgary Olympic Oval. This is one of the few times that he gets to put on his long track skates. Unfortunately there aren’t any rinks nearby that allow for him to practice. So his ice time is limited on those style of skates.
This time around, my wife decided to fly with him instead of the road trip. I don’t blame her since driving through the Rockies in summer is far different than driving in inclement weather. On the fun side of things- my son took a picture of our home from the plane as they passed over. That’s really neat.
I’m relieved that they made it safely to their destination. I was kind of spying on them with the “Find My iPhone” app. In the new year, we are sending him off on his own to fly to a competition. I will 100% be spying on his progress when that time comes!
I’m the meantime, I will be watching his skating from the live feed on YouTube. I think he will get some personal bests since his training on short track speed skating has been intense for the past few months. I wish him the best of luck!
Calgary’s Olympic Oval is the reason we came out here this week. Our son attended a Speed Skating Camp at the Oval. He has his own ambitions and my wife and I want to see him succeed. I’m most impressed by how serious he is wanting to take his training.
Calgary’s Olympic Oval has the world’s fastest ice. Usually our son skates Short Track at our local ice rink and at similar meets in other ice rinks. He decided that he really wanted to get into Long Track Skating, so we got him out to Calgary to try it out. The first four days he wore his Short Track skates and dominated his own abilities.
Sadly, my wife and I ended up buying him his first pair of Long Track boots and blades. I say sadly more for our pocketbook. First these skates cost over $1000 and also the fact that we will be doing more traveling to other Long Track ice rinks in the coming years. There is also a new learning curve for him. But I think it’ll work out.
Our son wants to stand on the podium one day. He has set some lofty goals for himself. If my wife and I can help in any way, then we will. Next month- off to another Long Track for some more practice. In the mean time, lots of workouts and sideline cheering to keep him going.
I took our daughters out for the day as we wandered around Calgary. First was a stop at the Olympic Oval to check in on my son’s speed skating camp. (The whole reason we are here in Calgary). Then we went for lunch at an amazing Ramen restaurant that I had been to a couple years ago.
The ramen place we went to was Shiki Menya. Still just as delicious as always. Still just as busy as well. We had to wait outside until a table came available. But worth the wait. So tasty.
Afterwards, we walked into the central part of Calgary. We were hoping to go into the Calgary Tower, but due to a mishap last Friday- (read here: Calgary Tower Elevator ), that means unfortunately for our visit to Calgary- the Tower is shut down for an investigation.
But we saw a really neat sculpture just up the road called the Wonderland Sculpture. It is a fantastically large piece. Looking like a human head made out of metal mesh.
Calgary is a neat city that feels big and small at the same time. Besides the weather changing every 15 minutes, it also seems that driving everywhere takes only 15 minutes. Or there is the public transportation that seems to be widely used. A lot of the ideas and designs should be implemented in Vancouver and its surrounding suburbs that’s for sure.
We only have a couple days left here and a few friends left to visit.
Tuesday was originally going to be a write off. The weather in Calgary was so unpredictable- first was rain, then sun, then rain, then sun. All within a few hours. I wasn’t going to let Mother Nature beat me! So at 3pm we headed out in hopes that the rumor of “Don’t like the weather- just wait 15 minutes.”
It worked. The sun began to come out. So we were on our way to a fun filled destination.
Much like the Mountain Pipeline Coaster that we experienced last week in Revelstoke, this was a downhill experience that we had to try.
Like the Skyline Luge slogan says- “Once is never enough.” We had to go down a second time. I will also say, this was a better value and more fun than the Mountain Pipeline Coaster. Though not as fast.
Afterwards, we checked out some of the sights from the Calgary Olympics back in 1988. Calgary has kept the venues as being very useful decades later. Besides the Kart Luge, they’ve made Mountain bike paths and a zip line for use in the summer. As well as keeping the outdoor winter sports active. It’s the sort of thing that many other countries should look at and benefit from. I was thoroughly impressed.
Calgary keeps on beating my expectations of what I think a city should be.
Every time I think of Calgary, this song lyric pops into my mind. It’s the final line in a song from a brief tv show in the early 90’s on CBC titled “Three Dead Trolls In A Baggie”.
I’m not a fan of our neighbourly province. However, we are here in town for the Calgary Expo. The best reason to head into Alberta. It’s the sixth year we have driven to this convention. I really don’t know any other reason to cross the Rocky Mountains. The views through the mountains are beautiful though.
I love Calgary. It is one of my favorite cities in Canada. I love driving around it. I love the people here. It’s a big city with a small town feel. Even the high rises aren’t that tall. We are staying at my first Airbnb. It’s a lovely corner apartment on the outskirts of Calgary. The view of the city is worth the cost. What we are paying here for five nights is what we would have paid for two nights in a hotel. So far, so good!
I don’t think that the Three Dead Trolls In A Baggie were right. Perhaps the song was sarcasm. Because Calgary is the only place in Alberta that doesn’t suck.
It’s the night before my wife and drive to Silicon Valley Comic Con. Panic has finally subsided and acceptance has come over us. (Well me anyways.) We will have the merchandise that we have- no time to muster any more. Hopefully enough. Hopefully lots of sales. Hopefully a ton of fun.
Not only do we have a con this weekend, but we come back home for one day then off to Calgary for another. 15 hours driving to our first location, then back another 15 hours. Next week is only 10 hours from our home through the Rocky Mountains to the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo.
I love both of these conventions. The SVCC has so much tech that my nerd brain can hardly contain its excitement. Astronauts, robotics, vr, videogames, actors, gamers, artists… and the cast of Sesame Street?!? But wait there’s more! Gary Fisher photo ops! (Carrie Fisher’s dog). That last one is a bit much. But after the success of “Grumpy Cat” at Stan Lee’s Comikaze it doesn’t surprise me.
This is the first year that my wife and I have decided not to bring our children to a few of the shows that we attend. It feels strange. It feels wrong. It also feels right. It’s going to save us money. Plus my wife and I are really enjoying our time together lately. We need those few days without teenagers in order to relax.
My mother has been kind enough to stay with our children while we are gone. Hopefully my mother survives. (My wife and I would like to do these trips more often.) Back to packing now. It’s an early start tomorrow for us to travel most of the way south to our destination. Off to find my geeky t-shirts and download the SVCC app for this weekend.
Can’t forget that my 3DS needs to be charged as well!