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.

Why We’re In Fort St. John

I guess I should write about why we’re up in Fort St. John for the week. This is another week of Speed Skating training camp at a Long Track ice rink. Our son is getting more and more competitive at Short Track Speed Skating and wants to set his sights higher. So last month while we were in Calgary: The Fastest Ice we picked up some Long Track boots and blades for him. This week he is doing more training and he’s learning lots. Our daughter also wanted to come to the camp. We rented her some Long Track skates for the week and she is wanting to learn the officiating aspect as well.

We’ve spent the last few days at the Pomeroy Sports Centre… okay I’m a liar- we drop the kids off and they spend the day training. The building boasts two hockey rinks on the main level, a large oval on the second level and a walking track on the third level. Every day my wife and I show up early for pick up and walk the track for a few laps.

Both of our kids have made a ton of friends this trip. Wednesday night was a BBQ hosted by the local Speed Skating Club. Our kids abandoned us so they could hang with these friends. One day they will also be the competition, but they are all getting along famously right now.

I like the Speed Skating culture. Everyone is encouraging and wanting the each other to be successful.

What Does $1000 Look Like?

Recently I finished a set off doors for our home. I’m really happy with the results. But it got me thinking about how $1000 can look differently every time. With each and every purchase or experience being worthwhile.

I treated my wife to a night out on the town at a spa and hotel. We needed that time off. Wedgewood Hotel and Spa

We bought tickets to Queen for the five of us. Such an amazing show. Queen

We now have a back up generator for when the power goes out. Like it does every year… sometimes for days on end.

My son got a pair of Long Track Speed Skates. Chasing that Olympic Dream! Fastest Ice

We bought a couple of kayaks and accessories. Gotta stay in shape as we grow older. Kayak Adventure

That’s all from this year. In the past- a thousand dollars bought three iPad Minis, or a video game system and accessories, or tickets to Disneyland, even a new mattress…

Like they say, a thousand here and thousand there- pretty soon it adds up to real money.

I’m starting to feel broke. Maybe it’s time to slow down on the spending. The kids need a post secondary education. A thousand bucks might buy a couple of textbooks.

Time Off

I’m about to enjoy 17 days off. It seems like I always have vacation time off from work. I kind of do I guess. Five weeks of regular vacation every year. I try and set aside a week every couple of months. This year was a bit different. I have been enjoying summer a lot and still have more to come!

As I’ve mentioned, most of my time off this year is to support our son. First was a week in March for a Speed Skating competition. Then was June so that I could chaperone with Grade 7 Camp. A week in July in order for him to skate on the Olympic Oval. And next week is another Speed Skating camp in Northern BC.

The last week of August will be a summer wind down. With some camping and R+R to slow down our busy lives before returning to a September schedule. Taking a week in June, a week in July, and two weeks in August is a great way to keep the summer vacation going. Even if we aren’t traveling to exotic locations- the time spent with family and friends is extraordinarily worthwhile.

How are you planning on ending August? Let me know in the comments.

Summer Chills

Looks like our road trip next week will be a chilly one.

Leaving our home behind us also means leaving the warmer weather.

That’s kind of disappointing. But I guess the chill up North is great for our kid’s speed skating. Right?

Right…

My Son’s Thank You

Another proud father moment.

Yesterday as I was at work, our son took it upon himself to wash my car after our road trip. He did it as a “Thank You” for taking him to his Speed Skating camp. That was unexpected and really amazing of him.

What I found really great of him as well, was when we were leaving the Speed Skating camp, he gave all three of the coaches a hug and thanked them. He also wanted me to tell my friends and followers thank you for the “Likes” and support.

For a 13 year old, he is really mature and kind. He always has been and I’m glad it hasn’t changed. If anything it makes me more impressed that he has remained humble and with virtue. He knows that there are people rooting him on to do his best and he doesn’t want it to go unnoticed.

Fastest Ice In The World

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.

Skating Never Ends

The Speed Skating season is over. But that doesn’t mean that training is over. On Saturday morning I took my son to meet up with some other members of his Speed Skating club for an hour so that they could get a bit of a workout.

It was a beautiful day, so the kids went out on their in-line skates for some more practice. The four of them enjoyed it tremendously. What I really liked was that it was one of the skaters that wanted to arrange this, not a parent or coach. Speed Skating is a serious endeavor for those involved. The fact that these kids are taking it seriously makes me proud.

I need to get myself more disciplined like these youngsters. Perhaps it’s time for me to put my inline skates back on…