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!

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.

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.