Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Shop Around for the Team that Fits

                              Before you join a team and say I do now,
                                 Make sure it’s a good fit for you now,
                                       This mama is telling you,
                                        You better shop around!

   
      Wait a minute, you’re thinking, cute song, but that makes no sense. Teams pick kids, not the other way around. Not necessarily. If your young hockey player enjoys multiple sports and activities during the season, you’ll want to find a program that will give them a chance to grow their skills and still have a life outside of hockey. 
  
     As hockey dad/coach Michael Bonelli with the Bears hockey team points out, “Your family is unique and your child’s interests and activities are unique. If you choose to play for a team and a coach that offers little to no flexibility when it comes to other activities, then you’re setting yourself up for frustration before the season even begins.”
       
    It may take some detective work, but don’t be afraid to ask questions, “As a parent you need to know start of the season, end of the season, holiday schedule, weekly commitment.” A 6am weekday practice before school, not cool? Do all players play every position, or is the coach going to determine your child is a “born defenseman” at age 9?  Find out!

        Finding a good match may take a little extra work, but well worth the effort, “Finding a team, a coach and an organization that adheres to the same values and expectations as your family will make for a smoother experience throughout the season.” says Bonelli. 
    
     While you might not find the team that fits like a hockey glove, knowing ahead of time how much an organization and team structures their program, can make a world of difference down the road.
    

  

    


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Award Sends Message to this Hockey Mom







 Just when I was beginning to feel bitter and angry about the freak injury that sidelined my hockey girl for six months, along comes a notification from our coaches they would like Sophia to attend the annual hockey board meeting and be part of a special night. We had never been and I wasn't quite sure what it was all about, but it was there, those angry, bitter feelings, got sidelined.

     Sophia's coaches had chosen her to receive The Ryan Schoonmaker award for sportsmanship. I found out that night Ryan Schoonmaker was an amazing and spirited hockey player who tragically died in an auto accident, at the age of 16. To honor is memory and all that he stood for, Ryan's parents created the award to be given to one player on each team.

Mr. and Mrs. Tim Schoonmaker who created the Ryan Schoonmaker award in memory of their young hockey player who died in an auto accident.


The Schoonmakers shared details on the qualifications for the award;  

" Despite being a true competitor, this person is willing to openly congratulate opponents and accept even the most bitter of outcomes, because he or she knows there was nothing more they could have done within the rules of the game to change the end result.

Just because the root sports actually is part of the word sportsmanship, it doesn't mean that good sportsmanship behavior is required on on the athletic fields. People who are honest, consistently  give their best effort, who don't make excuses, respect others, are able to accept every day outcomes, without complaint or holding grudges are generally the ones who succeed.  Every day presents many ups and downs. There are many more small defeats than major successes. Good sports don't get bogged down in the smallest of setbacks."


      "This described my son Ryan. Ryan played with this organization until Bantam. He was on good teams. And also, some not so good teams. He played travel. And also on House teams. Was he the top scorer? Maybe. Was he the assist leader? Could have been. He was an individual who demonstrated the characteristics of a truly good sportsman. He put his love of the game and being a member of the team first. In his last year, when he was playing forward on a Bantam travel team, his coach asked him to play defense. Had he ever played defense before? No. Was he one of the better forwards on the team? Maybe. Did he complain about this change? No. Did the move to defense and how he handled it make his parents proud?  Yes. As a side note, Ryan was all of 5'5 in his skates and all of 125 pounds with all of his gear on. For him to play defense at Bantam travel level showed his teammates the size of his heart and how much he loved the sport of hockey. To Ryan, the team was the most important thing.  Not where and how much you played. For the past 15 years, Camillus youth hockey has selected children from all levels that the coaches believe demonstrate the characteristics that Ryan exemplified and stood for. "
                                     
 


 " To the recipients tonight, picture this in your mind. you are standing at Shove Park by the door, waiting for the zamboni to finish the ice. You look out,  and see that clean sheet of ice. No skate marks. No imperfections. It is another practice, it's a big game. Whatever it is, it's another opportunity to display good sportsmanship. To the parents, you should be proud of how you are raising your child. Your son or your daughter. They are a reflection of you. Tonight take photos."
                            
"Congratulate your children on receiving this honor. Each of these awards continues to pass on Ryan's name and what he stood for as an individual. This award is similar to passing an Olympic torch that passes the Olympic spirit of one Olympics to the next.  While we continue to suffer from our tragic loss,even today,  a piece of Ryan remains and his spirit continues in each of tonight's winners. These winners serve as remembrances of Ryan and how he lived his life. "



Friday, March 25, 2016

My Tough Hockey Girl

Hello my friends. Sophia would like to thank you for all of the prayers and well wishes. The surgery got complicated. Turns out she suffered a very rare root tear of the medial meniscus, which required an entirely different approach than a traditional meniscal repair. Her meniscus had flipped and they could not repair it arthroscopically. Our surgeon said he had never seen this in anyone her age, and only two in his entire medical career. What was supposed to be an hour and a half surgery, was close to four with two surgeons.So, she has 15 staples down in her leg. "15? Wow, that's my number!" exclaimed Sophia when informed by the doctor. She was also told she will have a scar. " Darn, does this mean my career as a leg model is over? " Sophia joked and got her medical team laughing. She then told them the scar will be "cool" and she is going to tell everyone she was bitten by a shark. It will take six months to heal.  
Sophia hasn't shed a single tear, unlike her mom.
‪#‎SuperToughHockeyGirl‬ ‪#‎HockeyMomInAwe‬ of daughter's strength and courage.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Sidelined




   So my tough little hockey girl, who has been hip-checked, tripped, whacked and punched more than a few times this season is now out for the rest of the season. But it wasn't hockey that got her sidelined. It was during lacrosse practice, doing something she done hundreds of times before. A sudden stop and change in direction. Pop goes the knee and now the lacrosse season, that has only just begun.
    Sophia has a torn meniscus and surgery is scheduled for tomorrow. This was a transition time for my girl. She made the lacrosse team and we've got one more big tournament to close out the hockey season. This is the weekend her hockey team travels to Brampton for the world's largest girls hockey tournament. Being sidelined hurts.  No broken bones, but my tender young hockey player's heart is broken. She wanted more than anything to be with the girls, her team, her "crew," and bring home some Canadian hardware.
         She's understandably anxious about the surgery. Will it hurt? Will I be awake for it? Will I be loopy? When can I get back to lacrosse?
      I need to reassure her that "it's not the end of her world" as she texted to her good friend, and that she'll be back on the ice/grass in no time.  I know she will bounce back, physically and emotionally, a lot faster than this sappy mom, who absolutely loves to watch her play. It's such a huge part of our lives. Now we all have to figure out, how to make it less painful, for all of us.



 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Ode To Lane 3

Ode to Lane 3
by Caroline Stanistreet


(This is dedicated to former competitive swimmers who loved to swim back then, and may return to the pool someday.... even though the whitewater we make these days may not be as white!)



It only took me 2 minutes to jump into you today. That's rare for me. That first minute to adjust to the water temperature was always the worst part of practice. It used to take 5-10 minutes before my Coach would become frustrated with me and would give "the final countdown" before adding laps to my warm up.

I had to briefly share you, Lane 3, with someone who was unsure of proper "circle swimming etiquette" but we got through it. Sharing you with someone else challenged me to swim harder and faster. I made small goals of passing the swimmer - and catching up again. 

Your close-to-the-middle spot in the pool enabled me to look at other lap swimmers on one side, and secretly cheer on the children taking their deep water test on the other side. Their goal? Swim one length, pass and graduate to the Almighty Water Slide. But you're not a proving ground, Lane 3, you are there for people like me who get the privilege to escape for an hour and simply forget about the day to day challenges in life. 

My arms felt weak when I started, but you were forgiving and allowed me to warm up and take as much time as I needed to get used to you. The instep of my right foot even cramped up like it used to (I forgot to eat a banana prior to heading to the pool). Hey, it's been more than a few years since I swam "for real" in a 25-yard pool, having enjoyed much shorter laps in my backyard pool in the summer. 

Common sense also told me not to overdo it on my first day back. So I stopped at one of your ends and used a starting block to stretch my arms, rest briefly, and return to my private workout. You and your fellow lanes were non-judgmental, and remained completely  unconcerned about my age or ability if I had to stop.

You were also the perfect distance from the side with the pace clocks, one which was digital - and the other clock that most competitive swimmers grew up with. From you, Lane 3, I could see that large white face and easily read the single black hand for minutes, and the red sweeping second hand...which at times seemed to spin too quickly.



Placed at your shallow end was a large whiteboard with a handwritten workout for "veteran" competitive swimmers, also known as Masters. If you know who the "Not Ready For Primetime Players" are from Saturday Night Live, then you may appreciate the group I began toward the end of my swim, the "Not Ready For Masters 4,500-yard Workout" - not yet at least. 





Thanks to you, Lane 3, I was able to simultaneously swim and fill my head with an array of songs and even a few memories of past swim competitions.  I'm pretty certain that I solved some of the world's problems - without the use of a cell phone and social media. Imagine that! 


I may have brought home a little bit of you...I swallowed some water after a flip turn, which I can still do fairly well after so many years.  But my memory must've shorted out since every coach will tell you NOT to breathe out of your turn! (Gulp)


It's no secret that swimming is THE best sport when it comes to maintaining flexibility, improving endurance and strength, and increasing lung capacity.  So working toward those fitness goals may cause some aches and pains. But they don't stem from you, Lane 3. I am not pounding my feet on pavement or jumping up and down on a floor. You are so kind to my joints and knees. You allow me to pull myself through you and resist just the right amount. For that I am grateful, especially on my first day back. 




So thank you for the most satisfying exercise I've had in a long time, Lane 3.  I've been gone too long and I can't wait to see you again, and if you're not available, perhaps you won't mind if I spend some time with Lane 4?