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It’s All Over

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Well it is finally here……after 20+ years of taking my four children to their hockey, baseball, soccer, track and field and cross-country practices and games, it all came to an end last night after my youngest daughter’s last soccer game of the season. Minor sports are over.  Am I sad?…..A little, but I’m pretty sure I will be able to find something to fill the void.

Growing up, my siblings and I were not involved in playing sports other than school sports, so when I had my first baby I gave no thought to the possibility that I would one day be a hockey/baseball/soccer Mom.

When my son was born he already had some older cousins who were involved in sports, mainly hockey. I remember taking him to the arena to watch his cousins hockey games when he was about two years old, not because I was interested in watching a sport I basically knew nothing about, but because if I wanted to visit with any of my brothers or sisters-in-law during the winter months that’s where they were so that’s where we visited. I hated the arena, it was cold, smelly and loud. I said over and over my kids were not ever playing hockey because I had no intention of spending my time hanging out in a freezing cold arena like my in-laws did. Let’s not kid ourselves here, we can all be in complete control of what our kids do, where they go, who they see……right up until they start school, make friends and get their own ideas of what they want to do, and that’s how it was for me. Ryan decided he wanted to play hockey and since he had all the necessary gear handed down to him from his cousin’s, who was I to stand in the way of his minor hockey career? I ate my words over and over as three of my children ended up playing hockey, one at rep level, three played soccer, again one at rep level, three played baseball, and one did track and field and cross-country running.

Over the years when all four kids were playing sports at the same time there were some hectic evenings and some creative planning to get them all where they needed to be and on time. With only one vehicle to do the transporting it got a little crazy by times. We had evenings when we had to drop off our oldest with his brother at the ball field early, (before any other parents or coaches were there) then take our oldest daughter to her soccer field and wait until at least one other parent showed up, scoot to our youngest daughter’s t-ball field and one of us would stay with her while the other one went back to the first field to pick up our oldest son to get him from his brother’s baseball game or practice (which had now started) and take him to his ball field for his game, and then hurry back to watch our youngest daughter’s game and as soon as it was over rush off to the next child’s game see what we could have of it and move on until we managed to catch as much of each one as we could and get them all collected and back home again. Those nights were memorable indeed, it meant a quick supper at home right after work, that was pre-prepared or take-out (we ate a lot of take-out, I’m not really ambitious enough to be a pre-preparer of meals). We missed a lot of some of their games but took in as many as we could of each of them. There were a few snags in our system, like forgetting to pick up our daughter from a soccer game, arriving at the wrong field for a game and rushing around to try to figure out where we were supposed to be, and things like that, but we generally managed to make it work.

I will say my years as a “sports Mom” were very entertaining and educational. It took so long for me to figure out what an “off-side” was in hockey. Every time the referee blew the whistle I asked whoever was beside me what it was for (I’m sure I was the most annoying “new” sports mom ever), I eventually figured it out along with many other infractions of the game, thanks to the patience of the other parents who took the time to explain it to me……over and over. Of course once the off-side in hockey was figured out I was stumped by how anyone could be off-side in soccer…..I saw no line on the field to indicate an off-side.

I have to admit that the last few years have been a little easier with just one child in sports, however she was involved in Rep Hockey, Rep Soccer, Track and Field and competitive Cross Country running all at the same time, so while we just had the one child to transport, there were just as many places to transport her to and sometimes there were conflicts where we would need to take her to a hockey game right after a soccer practice or vice versa.

It is true what they say, your kids sports become your social life. My husband and I have met some really great people, and made some good friends over the years at the arena, soccer field, the track and cross-country races. When you spend a couple of hours at least twice a week, every week, with the same people you definitely build friendships. We will miss this as much as we will miss watching our kids play their sports with the skills and passion that gave them the desire to play in the first place.

Now that the days of living our lives based on kids sports schedules have come to an end my husband and will finally have some “us” time. I think it might take me a while to adjust to not having to plan out every evening meal depending on how much time we have before having to be somewhere, but I’m ready to start getting used to it. I say bring on the next chapter of my life……maybe there will be some grand-kids in our future and we can start watching sports all over again. 🙂

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CWOSSA Cross Country…..

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I’m a little disappointed that I missed Erika’s race yesterday. Her school ran as a team in the Senior girls cross-country race for CWOSSA. I watched her run CWOSSA in grade 9 and grade 10 , but I missed her grade 11 race. I guess sometimes there are things you just can’t get out of at work to go watch a race….. 😦

If you don’t understand how qualifying for OFSAA in cross-country racing works (and I say that because my husband and I had trouble understanding how it worked the first year Erika ran in High School), you run as a team (of 4) or as an individual if there are not enough runners from your school in your age group. The top 3 individual runners move on to OFSAA and the top 2 teams move on. For example, if you finished in 4th place but one of the top three finishers belonged to a team that finished as 1st or 2nd then you would be bumped up as an individual to 3rd place. As a team member you could qualify for OFSAA even if you personally finished in 146th place but if you ran as an individual and finished in 4th place you don’t move on…..weird way to do it but there it is.

In grade 9, Erika was the only cross-country runner in the Midget age group from her school so she ran as an individual and finished in 4th place, missing the opportunity to go to OFSAA by one spot because the top 3 finishers were all individual runners.

Grade 9 CWOSSA....Off to a good start

Approaching the finish line....4th place

Coming through the shute.....not so pleased with her results.

In grade 10 Erika ran as an individual again and finished in 5th place, but one of the top three runners belonged to a team so 4th place moved up to 3rd place and Erika moved to 4th so she missed qualifying for OFSAA again by one spot.

Grade 10 CWOSSA......start

Crossing the finish line.

This year in grade 11 Erika got to run as part of a team and they finished as a team in third place…..again missing the opportunity to move on to OFSAA by one spot.

Team Mate crossing the finish line.....Erika is seconds behind.

Crossing the finish line....20th place.

All in all Erika had a great race and should be very proud of herself, she finished the 5000 meter race in 20th place out of 182 grade 11 and 12 girls with a time of 20:46:25. Erika’s already looking forward to next years Cross Country season!!

9th place=1st place……

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I am finally thawed out……

I stood out in the freezing cold rain today to watch my daughter run D10 Cross Country. While I was standing there I made my Facebook status: “Standing in the pouring rain at Cross Country D10…..what is wrong with me??” A couple of friends reminded me  of what is wrong with me…..  “It’s called what we do for the people we LOVE!” and “Nothing wrong, just being a mom.” They are absolutely right….there is no other reason to put oneself through such misery. Thank you for the reminder ladies. 🙂

In grades 9 and 10 Erika was D10 Cross Country Champion….but not in grade 11. This year she finished 9th, a respectable finish, but not a championship.

D10 Champion Grade 9

D10 Champion Grade 10

9th place finish Grade 11

What was different this year? Several things.

This year Erika ran with grade 11 and 12 girls….not just her own age group, this year Erika has done nothing in the way of training… this time any other year she would have already been playing hockey and would have been doing dryland training, and cross-country training. Most importantly what is different this year is that Erika did not want to run Cross Country, her school coaches talked her into it.

I believe that if an athlete has made a decision to give up a sport, no amount of convincing from coaches, parents or peers can change that person’s mind to continue that sport. Oh, they may continue out of guilt or a desire to please, but their heart will not be in it. The desire to compete has to come from within, if your heart isn’t in it you will not perform at your best. That has been Erika this year…..she has participated in the races but has not finished well, she hasn’t really cared.

Modelling her beautiful soaking wet pre-race outfit.

The top runners at the start

3 of the 4 Celtics running together.

Edging ahead coming out of the woods.

Coming through the shute....a little wobbly.

Cold, wet and ready to go home....

What good thing do I see that might have come out of today’s race? Erika may have found her desire to run again. Running has always come easy for Erika and she has never really pushed herself to compete, she has just run hard enough to win but has never cared enough to push herself…..until today. Today she had a reason to push, she wasn’t just running for herself, she was running as part of a team. Her school had enough runners to make up a team in the Senior level and the girls finished in 5th, 6th, 8th and 9th place. As a team they finished in first place! So, while Erika didn’t personally finish her race in first place today, she ran her best to help her team mates finish in first place. She is now looking forward to her next run at CWOSSA and if the team can finish in the top 4 they will go on to OFSAA in Ottawa.

The 4 Celtic runners after their big finish.

Congrats to BMCHS senior girls for their top place finish today in the freezing cold and rain, and Congrats to Erika…..I am very proud of you. 🙂