Travel For Skating

Over the weekend, my son and wife were in Fort St. John for a Long Track Speed Skating meet. Just like Calgary, I was able to watch from afar on YouTube. Ah technology!

Seeing my son grow into a young man is pretty awesome. He has developed some good habits and strengthened his muscles over the past year alone. Watching him skate makes me really proud. That’s because of his focus and determination in doing the best he can while on the ice.

Even though he skates maybe a few times each day, I have enjoyed watching his progress in person as well. Having been to Fort St. John with them in the past, I remember what the rink is like and that the people are always welcoming.

But I do miss them when they are away. I always look forward to when they get home. My wife loves to track me on the Find My iPhone app. Today she wasn’t sure if I’d get to the airport first or they would be waiting. Turns out we arrived pretty much at the same time. I was only about five minutes in the parking lot, but could have easily arrived at the airport pick up location just as they stepped out.

I do hope our son appreciates the time and money we put into these competitions. Actually I know he does. He works hard each time and it shows.

The Roy

An ongoing gag in our home is teasing one another and joking about names. Every one of our kids have had their names changed into various nicknames or puns.

Random has been called

  • Dom
  • Randy Candy
  • RahRah

Darwin has been called

  • DarDar
  • Dar-b-cute
  • Dardvark

Theory has been called

  • Theor Bear
  • Bear Bee
  • The Roy

There are plenty of other names, but these have stuck.

The Roy is probably my favorite. It came about at a speed skating meet when he first started about ten years ago. Someone had misspelled his name on the race sheets. Today I was handed a picture from his speed skating club with the same mistake. This is funny because they don’t know about this nickname.

Theory will always have the alter ego- The Roy. A speed skater extraordinaire who talks about himself in the third person. I find it humorous and hope it sticks for years to come- especially in the Speed Skating community.

Poco Lightning Christmas Party

Today was a Christmas party at our son’s speed skating club. As always, it was filled with fun, laughter, tons of food and this time gifts and prizes!

The food, as always, was in abundance and delicious. Such a wonderful variety of asian and western food to be shared. My belly was full by the end. Just like the rest of the parents- we plopped down in some chairs and hardly moved until the end.

There was so much commotion that I was surprised we made it through the afternoon. But it was an organized chaos. Lots of mingling of the skater, parents and coaches. Even our middle has become a friend of many of these skaters. They too ended up with a grab bag and a gift in the end.

It was a good afternoon and a great way to unwind after the beginning season of speed skating. We still have more competitions coming up, but a gathering to hang out was well deserved and needed- by both parents and skaters.

A Man and His Bucket

As I mentioned the other day, my family and I are volunteering at our club’s first speed skating meet at the new rink. There is plenty of volunteer positions that were available. We had so many volunteers sign up, that a few positions were being shadowed as well. Which is all sorts of amazing.

My position kept me busy all day. After every race I had to give out two buckets of water to the track stewards. This happened about once a minute. I even had to refill my large bucket a few times. I had no idea how busy I would be. I thought I would just be sitting around for most of the meet. I was hoping for just a fun name tag and hanging out for free food.

I actually enjoyed my position rinkside. The kids who we’re volunteering on the ice were my bosses for the day. I took guidance from them about what they would need besides buckets of water. I had a bucket of snow, a fire extinguisher and a trowel at the ready in order to repair any chunks that occurred periodically when a skater fell.

Even though our son wasn’t skating, it was a great experience being a part of the meet. This club is run far different from our previous club. Even though the club was fairly organized ahead of time, we still had a few hurdles to overcome before the races began. But it was in all intents and purposes a great competition.

Pre-Volunteer Evening Planning

Tonight was a regular speed skating practice session at Theory’s club in Poco. He went there to skate and work out as usual. But the parents were there to discuss the upcoming Saturday meet.

There was plenty of talk about how to organize the meet. Like where people need to be, when they need to be there, where the coaches need to stand, etc… We also moved our club’s mats from one rink to another. (Mats are used along the outside as padding because the skaters can go pretty fast and if they slip- they need that padding to prevent injury.) The reason we moved them to another rink is because this one has stadium seating for the spectators!

Even though our son isn’t skating at our club’s meet- he is volunteering as a track steward. My wife and our middle are also volunteering in their own ways. But me? I wasn’t going to volunteer originally. But I decided that I needed to be a part of this club and as much as I support my son when he is on the ice- I also need to support him off the ice (as well as the rest of his teammates).

My role this Saturday is “Water Bucket”. Super glamorous I know. My wife finds it very humorous. I wanted to be called “Water Boy” but alas- “Water Bucket” is my official title. I promise to be the best Water Bucketer around! Now it is mostly because I am excited about the food that the volunteers are getting. And it’s not donuts and pizza this time around. I have heard the menu! Not gonna lie- there’s a bit of selfish reasoning behind my volunteering.

In all seriousness- there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that many kids don’t see. They are there to skate and do their best. And the parents in the crowd are there to cheer them on. Hosting a skating meet has a lot of background activity that keeps everything flowing. Even my job as a water bucket helps to keep the ice slick. Which is kind of a big deal.

If is wasn’t for my role- those kids could wipe out pretty gnarly. No one wants that. Good thing I’m the water bucket!

Can Am Long Track Day 1

As always, I love to write about my kids. Specifically when they are working hard to accomplish something important to them. This weekend my son is in Calgary (again) for a Long Track competition. Today, he was on his own at the rink because I’m still at home and my wife was working remotely from their Airbnb.

All day long I had the Calgary Olympic Oval YouTube live feed playing. I was able to watch him skate on our big screen. Due to a slight delay to my phone- I was able to screen grab his races without missing the starts.

I sent the results, along with the videos- to my son, my wife, and his current coach. In the group text, there was great feedback and discussion about the races. His coach is also here and not in Calgary. However, there is a BC coach who has taken on the roll to assist skaters from our province in person.

I have heard from numerous sources that our son is “very coachable”. He listens to the advice and goes out and works hard to get better. As always, I’m really impressed by him. He got a personal best on one race and took a strong lead on another.

There is two more days of these races ahead and I am looking forward to seeing him in action all weekend.

Go Theory!

Gone Again

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.

Our son took a picture of our home from the plane.

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!

WEC

Our son was at WEC- Western Elite Circuit. Not being able to be in person at our son’s speed skating competition hasn’t stopped me from cheering him on. I have been kept up to date with his progress through various social media.

As I mentioned, I was watching him repeatedly on YouTube yesterday. It was nice to be able to view his races virtually. His club has also been active on Signal- sharing valuable information. As well as various Facebook posts.

Seeing our son on his skates makes me proud. His skill sets are improving and even his new coach is happy with the progress she has seen in only a few months. He will get much further over the next couple of years with the new training and all the competitions. It’s nice that Covid restrictions have been lifted and allowing for more racing. That has definitely helped in his progression.

From previous Covid protocols, the live feed has allowed me to watch from afar. So that has been beneficial for me. I have enjoyed the feeds over the past few times he has gone out of town. I will continue to watch whenever I can’t be there in person.

Perfect October Saturday

Today I just did stuff for me. Sort of. I started my day early by cleaning the bathroom and mopping the floors. I took a break to watch my son skate via a live feed from Calgary.

At lunch, I went to meet a couple of buddies for beer at a new brewery in Langley. It opened only a month ago, so it was still fairly new and not too busy. During our beers, we took a break and watched another of Theory’s races on YouTube.

By three o’clock I was back home and caught Theory’s final race of the day. This was followed by some “me time” floating in the pool. I didn’t turn on the heat, so it was a float on the cool water as I enjoyed the sun and a couple more beers.

After such a busy few days off, I needed the afternoon to myself. I’m glad I met with my buddies for a break. Too bad they had other plans for the afternoon- otherwise we’d have gotten into more than a couple drinks. So much for the idea of Sober October. There’s always next year.

Early Skate Practice

Normally my wife attends the speed skating practices on Saturday and Sunday morning. I offered to show up today and let her sleep in. Partly because she had a long work week. But also because the parent who does first aid is off sick this week, so I volunteered to be rink side just in case.

It was a beautiful morning as the sun rose up. The kids arrived thirty minutes early to do a warm up outside prior to entering the arena for skating. Even before the coach got there, they all knew that they should do a few laps around the facility to get their muscles activated.

Standing rink side, I enjoyed how smooth the kids were on the ice. Each of them had good form and listened to the coach’s advice as they lapped around. Today’s practice wasn’t about speed, but rather technique. It works the kids towards muscle memory for when competitions come around.

Being supportive of our kids for these last twelve years has made a difference in the commitment level that they are putting in. Theory is getting stronger and we are hoping he starts to get into bigger competitions as he gets older. Our other two have taken away the ability to coach future skaters and our middle child continues doing it every Sunday.

So a big high five to all the parents out there that make the sacrifices to be up early and pushing their kids at various sports! I see you. Keep it up.

More Ice Time

Theory’s newest speed skating club is very active. They push the skaters harder than I have seen. So far it seems the skaters are up for the challenge and not complaining. The group still has ice time at an older rink, so they are utilizing it.

Every Tuesday that I am working night shift means I will be dropping our son off at Planet Ice. This was the club’s original home ice. If I’m working day shift- I’ll likely be picking him up on the way home. It is probably one of the coldest rinks I have stepped foot into. This is good for the skaters. But chilly for the parents and spectators.

At least the group is getting some intense workouts. It is much needed for every skater. I can’t wait to see the results over this next season.

End Of My Summer Vacation

Saturday was the last day I had off for my vacation. I had the house to myself for the last few days of vacation. So I enjoyed my solitude.

My wife had taken Theory to a speed skating competition in Calgary for the weekend. Darwin tagged along as well. I was lucky enough to have watched his races via a live stream from The Olympic Oval.

Being that I was home meant I had to take of the garden. We have had a good amount of vegetables coming in. Mostly peppers and tomatoes. Our mixed apple tree is bearing a ton of fruit as well. I can’t wait to make an apple pie from the green ones!

The end of my day (and vacation) I watched the sun as it set. The sun beams shone over the land as the clouds lay up in the sky. A flock of geese flew past at one point making a flight path southward. Summer is almost over- unfortunately my summer vacation has come to an end.

But it was fun while it lasted.

Cheering On Theory From Afar

This past week, my wife and son were in Calgary for a speed skating camp. Today was a competition for the skaters.

My wife shared with me a live feed of the event on YouTube posted by the Calgary Oval. I watched our son competing from the comfort of our living room. seeing his name on the television brings me a sense of pride and joy.

But watching him skate brings me more joy. He is passionate about his skating and is always pushing to improve his skills.

In his two races- he got new personal bests. He even shaved ten seconds off one of the heats. I’m really impressed and I hope he continues on the path to success in speed skating. The trips out of province are a good chance for him to get better and meet with other skaters.

But I can’t wait for them to come home. I miss the family when they are away.

Leaving Langley Blades

Our family has been a big part of Langley Blades Speed Skating since 2010. My wife has done a lot of volunteering, I have done my part whenever possible. Our two oldest became assistant coaches over the last few years as well.

However, as the next season in September approaches, many changes are coming. Our two oldest won’t be coaching since post secondary has taken priority in their lives. As well, our son will be leaving to go to another club. At the next club- he will have an opportunity to expand his abilities. He has already begun Spring Training and is enjoying the challenge.

As a thank you to my family, the Langley Blades presented us with a plaque and an award for our dedication to Speed Skating. My wife received it on Friday night at the AGM. Lee-Anne described the evening meeting as a bittersweet event. It was kind of the club to recognize the hard work and volunteering our family did over the last 12 years.

We will continue to see the skaters and parents at various meets and competitions. Perhaps we will be called upon to assist with their meets. Who knows, our two oldest may be able to find the time to coach as required. It’s tough to move on from a sports club sometimes. The growth for our son will only come if he learns from other coaches. And the growth of our previous club will come as they bring on new skaters.

Thank you Langley Blades for the years of training and fun. And a big thank you for the acknowledgment of our dedication to the club.

If you are local and want to keep your children active – try Speed Skating at Langley Blades.

2022 Canadian Youth Long Track Championships: Live Feed

Today I was able to watch my son in Quebec at the 2022 Canadian Youth Long Track Championships. My wife sent me the link this morning. She also gave me a few minutes warning right before he hit the ice.

Viewing the races on YouTube in real time made me happy. I felt like I was supportive even though I wasn’t physically there. I also watched his final two races of the day on our big screen tv. That was cool!

Watching on my phone, I also did a “Screen Grab” recording. Once the races were done, I cropped the length of them to be just of his race. This way I can send it off to him to review. He will probably show his new coach as well in order to get some feedback to get better.

Tomorrow is another day of racing for him. I suspect that he is tired after todays events. Long track speed skating is not his strongest yet, but he really enjoys it. Now to get him some training in places like Calgary and Fort St. John.

For my family and friends who wish to watch the feed tomorrow, here is the link: YouTube Live Feed

Training Ground

Our son is still actively training even though the regular speed skating practice season is over. Now he is onto Spring Session with his future club. And they push hard.

He is enjoying it. He’s looking fit. He’s strengthening his muscles, and getting a chance to meet other athletes with similar goals. Our last club was great and the family was there since 2010. But because our son wanted to continue with competitions- he needed to move to a club that really pushes the skaters.

Last weekend our son also went to participate in a special training at a University campus. This was put on by RBC to allow up and coming athletes from various sports to showcase their skills. It was mainly for sports that aren’t as mainstream as some. So no hockey or baseball were being represented. Once the evaluations are completed from the one day event, those kids selected will be given a grant to help pay for their dreams to compete.

I do hope the best outcome for him with that brief moment to showcase his strengths. But since it is Canada wide, he knows that he can’t be disappointed if it just doesn’t happen for him. However, we are still making sure that he practices and trains as much as possible in order to keep his muscles strong. There are a few summer programs and still a couple competitions that he will attend prior to autumn.

Training and a regimented schedule will help to keep him focused. I know he wants it bad enough, so my wife and I will help him on his journey as best we can. Mostly my wife mind you. She is really devoted in seeing what competitions are coming up and his times at each event. Being a supportive parent is the best thing we can do for him.

Do you train for something you enjoy? Let me know!

Parent Commitment

As much as I discuss our kids and their accomplishments when it comes to speed skating, there is still a lot that goes on behind the scenes.

The parents are often in the crowds cheering on the skaters. But they also take the time to sharpen skates and discuss equipment and skating strategies. Keeping the kids excited and actively involved can be challenging as the days go on. It’s not just the competition days though.

My wife travels a lot with our son. I have gone on the occasional trip for practice with him. But the competitions are mostly my wife’s domain. She is always excited to travel with him. Our son does his best and knows that these trips aren’t cheap. Nor are they a vacation. It’s like traveling for a business trip.

The business is skating. And encouraging our kids is the best way to keep them out of trouble due to boredom. It’s a sacrifice of our time and money, but the results are well worth it. A commitment to supporting our children no matter what.

11 Years Of Skating

Theory is attending a Speed Skating meet this weekend in Richmond. He has been to this rink numerous times before. As the years go on, I find it amazing at how much better he has gotten at skating. He gets a feel for the ice, he interacts with other skaters to do stretches between races, he also works on mental strategy before and during his races.

I’m always looking back at our kids’ progress. Yesterday was one of those Facebook Memories that is relevant once more. Theory’s first competition ever had him falling repeatedly, but the crowd cheered for him each time he got back up. Almost every meet since then, he has had friends and competitors in the audience continue to cheer for him.

This weekend will push Theory in his age group more than it has in the past. He is skating against someone in a 1500m race that is almost 20 seconds faster than he is. Chasing that skater is today’s goal for his personal improvement.

I’m always proud of how Theory skates. He never holds back and always does his best. Seeing how he had fallen and gotten up during his first ever meet proved that he wants to succeed. I’m looking forward to seeing his results this weekend.

Darwin Does Coaching

While our youngest is out in Fort St. John for a speed skating competition, Darwin has been actively coaching the home town skaters.

Darwin in a blue jacket from 2020 BC Winter Games.

On Friday night, we were in Langley and I watched as Darwin taught the younger of the two groups. Most of it was the basics of speed skating and a lot of drills.

Today is the last day in North Surrey for the season. Our club is in charge of this Sunday skate, so it’s a bunch of Langley skaters who want an extra day of practice. After some basic drills, Darwin plans on making it a bit more fun and games as the last day.

Next year is up in the air if Darwin will coach. Post secondary will take up the majority of their time. This upcoming Friday is the last skate of the year at our club. I know Darwin will be there and hopefully it won’t be emotional for all of them. The kids love Darwin.

Next weekend, Theory has one more competition in Richmond. Darwin has put in a request to be in the coaches box for that one. I think it’s amazing. How Darwin wants to help Theory and any other Langley skaters one last time.

Coaching The Next Coach

Julian has been a great leader and coach to our kids- and many others- over the years. He has focused on building up the skills that the kids possess without pushing them beyond their capabilities. He has an understanding of what each child can do and has helped to expand their chances at winning in the areas that they would be successful at.

The speed skating coach that my kids have learned from over the years is now training our daughter to be a coach. Yesterday they stood together on the sidelines coaching our local club members.

Julian has been a fantastic coach and friend over the years. His coaching wisdom has been passed on to a few youngsters, such as our daughter. He is an appreciated leader and loved by all of us. We hope for many more years of learning from him and to keep his legacy alive.

Always Dreaming Big For Our Kids

Today our 15 year old son is at one of the only Speed Skating competitions that hasn’t been canceled due to Covid. It is hard to have a goal with his practicing and exercising when the competitions get cancelled. I’m hoping for the best results in his races- obviously.

Seeing team Canada’s first medal at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics go to Isabelle Weidemann with a Bronze medal is inspirational today. It’s not just the athlete out there doing their best. It’s the coaches, families and the support group behind the skater that also helps.

Coaching on the sidelines today at my son’s meet is his older sister and two successful Olympic Speed Skaters turned coaches (who also got married)- Julian Green and Eden Donatelli. Darwin has been getting groomed by Julian over the past year or so on how to be a coach. We are lucky to have the medal winning Olympic duo training our kids.

On race day, our son is focused and determined. He is good at the endurance of 1200/1500 meter races. The shorter ones with a quick sprint is not his forte, but he has had a few successes depending on who else he is racing.

In the end, I want to see him succeed. His first race of the day he was holding second place, then overtook his competitor in the last lap and earned first. I am also able to use each loss as a learning point on how to improve next time. I always tell him that no matter what, if he’s giving his all- that’s all we can ask. Some days the times are with him. Hopefully today is a good day working towards those loftier goals.

Go Speed Skaters! Go Team Canada! Go Theory!

Parenting Is Exhausting

It’s Saturday morning. I was awake far too early today. I went to bed shortly after midnight and tossed and turned all night. Suddenly it was six a.m. and the alarm was going off. Up and at ‘em. I had a commitment to my son to take him to skating practice.

Parents sacrifice more than their children realize. My day to sleep in was cut short. The reason I was unable to sleep was my concern about another of our kids. But it should all be fine at some point. Parenting anxiety can be debilitating and you can feel at a loss. Sometimes, all you have is doing the best you can to make your children feel safe and cared for.

Being a parent of more than one child is extremely exhausting. You don’t want to burden them with issues or concerns, but you also don’t want to keep them in the dark. It’s mentally taxing.

So as our youngest is training on the ice, I’m going to take a nap in the car. I’d be here anyway since Covid protocol prohibits me from hanging out inside. I will get a little under two hours of rest if I’m lucky. Then the rest of the day it will be some family time with my wife and the two youngest. Mostly a distraction is required. Perhaps some video games, baking or a movie will be on the table. Heck, probably all three at this point.

No one ever said parenting was easy. And as your kids turn to adults, you still want to parent and help out. It feels like it will never end. Sometimes that’s a good sensation, other times it is the reminder that they aren’t toddlers anymore and are fully capable of looking after themselves.

Stepping Up

My family and I have been volunteering at our Speed Skating club since September 2010. As the years have gone on, volunteer work at other events has also happened. As I mentioned yesterday, we had our First Meet of 2021. My wife, myself, and our seventeen year old volunteered for the entire day. Our fifteen year old son competed in the morning, then volunteered for the afternoon.

Our son went above and beyond in his role. Originally he was going to be on the ice as a Track Steward. That meant he would check the ice after each race, adjust the markers, and assist as needed. Instead, at lunch he was asked if he could coach on the sidelines to a new skater from out of town. That skater came down with his father, but did not have a coach there. Because our children have done assistant coaching and coaching over the last few years, Theory stepped up to help without hesitation.

Because this meet was on our home ice, our son knew where to be to offer encouragement and support to a skater he met just moments prior. Watching my son on the sidelines calling out advice and coaching was one of the proudest moments in parenting that I have had. Theory is a great person and offers plenty of encouragement as it is already.

It feels as though our family has made a name for themselves in the local Speed Skating community. I hope it continues on for years to come. I know I’ll be volunteering still and I know our teenagers are enjoying it as well.

2021 Speed Skating Meet

Today is the first speed skating meet of 2021. We had the opportunity to have it in our club facility. The last meet that any of the skaters had was in March of 2020. This was a good chance to get back into the competitive side of the sport once more.

As new protocols and Covid safety measures were being taken, we had plenty of vaccinated volunteers doing their part. My job is to tweet out information to parents to keep them updated. This is being done in order to prevent spectators from wandering around unnecessarily.

I set up in the far corner behind the paramedics. My laptop was put onto a gumball machine and I am staying out of the way. A small space heater and coffee are keeping me warm all day as I share information.

I’m glad that the kids have a chance to get back on the ice. Many of them have grown and changed since the last time they competed. It’s also good to see the parents that we haven’t seen in ages. Keeping the groups healthy and safe has been the biggest obstacle in order to get races back on track.

Hopefully we can host and attend more races throughout the season. It’s good for everyone involved.

Happiness Passed On

Our children have been junior coaches for only a short time. Yesterday one of the parents who help volunteer at our club, dropped off a small gift for them. Our middle daughter was blown away by the gesture. She shared this on her Instagram:

“It’s little moments, little moments of everyday. Little moments like now, like today. The simple little things that make up a bigger entity. The entity of life. Little moments are everything to me. Little bursts of happiness, of joy. The cheers of teammates as you do a race, the unstoppable smiles of finally reaching your goal. Support and love. My favourite moments are the moments I spend here. I love watching the kids improve. Each moment changing everything. Each practice. Every second counts, every second matters to me. I love the smiles that sneak on their faces and they can’t make disappear, the jokes, the hard work. My favourite moments are the ones I spend here, with them. Helping them in any way that I can. My favourite part is when it all pays off and you can see how they’re proud of themselves and want you to see their achievements. My favourite moments are the moments I spend with you. It makes me happy to see that you feel the same way too, you never have to do this although it’s nice to feel appreciated. But you can’t appreciate me as much as I appreciate you. Thank you. Thank you so much. Keep making these little moments with me every time. I miss you all and can’t wait for next season to see you improve even more!”

I was extremely touched by her words. She definitely takes after her father in promoting positivity. That’s a great quality to have. It’s no wonder she, as well as her brother and sister, have become such great leaders and coaches. I’m really proud of all of them for the hard work they put in every time they are on the ice trying to help others.

Great job gang! And a big thanks to Langley Blades for all the years of skating.