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.

Skyline Luge

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.

Skyline Luge!

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.

Getting Back Up

Cheering for our kids at their speed skating events brings me great pleasure. Today we are spending another Saturday at a Speed Skating competition. This time in Richmond at the 2010 Olympic Oval.

For a building that’s almost a decade old, it’s still in pretty good condition. The risers have remained in the Vancouver Olympic colours scheme. They’ve even left the banners up from the 2010 games offering a visual inspiration for future Olympians.

Our little group from Langley is always cheering each other’s kids as much as possible. But watching the kids can be stressful. As each race last about 45 seconds, it can be the longest 45 seconds in the day. The reason is we don’t want to see the kids fall- because a fall is inevitable at some point during the day. You just hope it’s not one of yours that takes a tumble.

Not so lucky for us. Today, as Darwin was in the lead, she lost her footing. It knocked the wind out of her and she didn’t finish her last two laps. She got off the ice on her own accord, which is always a good sign.

Because she didn’t get up right away- the paramedics were required to check her out. Everything seemed okay and she will be back to race her last two races after lunch.

Getting back up or back on the ice can be emotionally challenging. Getting back out there is the best way to overcome the tumbles and falls. We will be giving some extra cheers for Darwin on the next couple of races.

The road to success has many stumbling blocks. Getting back at it and learning from the mistakes is sometimes a painful lesson to learn.

The Big Speed Skating Competition.

Today is day one of BC Short Track Championships. Our 11 year old son is competing. This is the set of races that he has been working towards all year. This is also his first year representing Langley Blades. His name was even in print. That means a lot to a young man.

This is the big event for kids and teens across our Province. Our son will compete against many of his friends from other clubs. Healthy competition and fun rivalries are abundant this weekend.

With the National Anthem finished being sung, it will soon be time to start the races. Two long days ahead of us. For our son, the other skaters and all of the audience members cheering on family and friends- it’s time to focus, stretch, and get mentally ready. Maybe one day, some of these skaters will represent our country in the Olympics. Encouraging them at a young age is paramount to their development. Time to cheer them on.

Go Skaters!

Go Langley!

Go Theory!

One Race Closer to Pursuing The Gold


About a year ago I shared a story and aspirations I have for my son.  Here is the link: My Son- The Future Olympian.  Today I am with him again as he is working hard competing in another set of races.  This time we are at the Richmond Oval on the outskirts of Vancouver.  This was the location where the Speed Skating events were held during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.


Throughout the building there are inspirational images of the past Canadian athletes that partook in previous Olympics.  Seven years later- the facility is well maintained and busy.  The city has split the large oval into two separate rinks, and a dozen basketball courts. There’s a ping pong table tournament area as well as a sectioned off for a Cheerleading competition.  (Coincidentally, the Cheerleading competition that my daughter will be attending later today.)


These skating meets can be overwhelming.  The hardest part about these competitions is the waiting.  Waiting alongside racers from other clubs can feel intimidating.  Before the races, my son hangs out with his friends in the facility-  often playing on iPads, iPhones, or wandering around and even taking a break to play drop-in ping pong during lunch.  There is a special camaraderie in our skating club.  As the skaters are on the ice- the rest of the group cheers from the stands offering encouragement.


All of this waiting is for his two minutes of ice time.  During his two minutes of work- my son pushes his limits.  At his age, places don’t matter as much as his times for his age group.  So even if he comes in third out of five, his time may push him up another level for the next meet.  He wants to beat his personal best times. Sometimes he wants to improve his stance and form- so he focuses intently on that.   


When he gets on the ice- it’s him vs his own nerves.   He has a determination that shows up when he is on the ice.  As if he is the only soul in the arena.  The last person who can psyche him out is himself.  He has put himself out there and pushes his boundaries.

I’m proud of our son.

Olympics Summer VS Winter

As the Rio Olympics approach the final day- I have yet to put on and watch any events.  For me, Summer Olympics aren’t as exciting to watch as Winter Olympics.  I understand that all of these athletes are the best that each country has to offer.  And years of training leads to these moments.  There just isn’t anything in the summer games that grabs my attention.  Winter Olympics is just, I don’t know, faster.  Hockey, luge, skating, skiing- it just moves.  The hits are harder, the excitement is stronger.

Cool snow sculpture we saw at the 2010 Winter Olympics.


Sports aren’t my thing at the best of times.  But, I’m more likely to turn on a tv to watch sports in the winter vs the summer.  The summer is a time for patios and being by the poolside.  The winter is a time to stay warm and gather round to enjoy each other’s company.  Oftentimes leading to a game on the tv.

As I mentioned before, my son loves doing speed skating, and we have high hopes for him one day.  Maybe 2022 Winter Olympics?  I could only hope.  That being said, I fully support all the athletes, their families, the coaches, and hometowns who want to see them succeed.  This year, the Canadian Women are doing extremely well in Rio, and that’s great to see.  

I enjoyed when Vancouver hosted the Olympics.  It was well received with a beautiful backdrop, and showed the world that we have what it takes to continue to host any major event. Vancouver hosted Expo ’86 thirty years ago and that originally put us on the map for the world to see.  

I could hardly contain my excitement!


During the 2010 Olympics, my wife and I were lucky enough to go to watch the Freestyle Downhill Ski Jump finale.  The energy was amazing to see an event firsthand.  I would watch another event any day, no matter the event.  

On a final note: As always, Go Canada!  

My son- The Future Olympian

As parents, most of us strive to make our children’s lives better than our own.  We get them into good preschools and hope they make lots of friends (but only the good ones with parents that are as like-minded as ourselves).  Then we push to get them into the right classroom with the right teacher, and sometimes even a better school.  We enter our children into after school programs, music lessons, sporting activities, and buy them electronics so they aren’t left behind by society.  We do all of this because we think it’s the right thing to do.

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You have to start somewhere.  Learning how to balance on his speed skates.

 

And it is- for the most part.  As they get older, they start to push back.  Their schedules dominate your own social life.  Suddenly, years go by and you wonder to yourself if you are doing the right thing.  Giving up is so much easier than arguing or forcing yourself to drive out of town.  Suddenly, a moment hits you like a ton of bricks.

 

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First place all the way.

There is your child superseding your expectations.  All those arguments, all those hours, all coming to fruition as they lead the pack.  You jump up and realize their potential is still there as you cheer them on.  Now, more than ever you want to boost your child up and help them reach for their goals.  All those future hours and arguments don’t matter, because at this exact moment, they are number one in your eyes.  Nothing will take that away from them, or you for that matter.

My son, the future Olympian.  I still have dreams for him and I hope he strives for the same goal.  The choice in the end is his.  I am proud of how far he’s gotten in just five years.  I don’t know where he will be in five years, but I’m willing to put forth the effort and support him in his decisions.

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How he’s grown over 5 years.