Monday, November 10, 2014

Fall 2014

I’m sitting on the plane to Phoenix next to a sleeping Lukey, getting ready for a week of sunshine and relaxation after a really busy and challenging start to the school year. Since moving back from Point Roberts in the end of August, it feels like a big blur of activity with few moments to slow down and catch my breath.

Part of it is, no doubt, the contrast. Our summers at the Point are filled with long days spent mostly as a family. It’s pretty rare that anyone needs to rush off to anything other than me, for my next shift at work. Fall is different.

The first day of school 2014-15
Finny is running at least 3 days every week between Labour Day and Halloween, with most meets scattered around the far reaches of the lower mainland. Les is a supermom, who not only does these long drives without complaint, is also able to talk to Finny about all her competitors and every race. It’s inspiring to see the effort Fin puts into running. Lukey and Molly also ran cross country for their school and worked hard at the meets they entered in the strike shortened season.

At the end of season, after the big city wide meet, we always head out for ice cream, and this year was no different.

Lukey’s hockey and soccer started up pretty much right away in September. That adds 5 days of driving, hurriedly picking up from school only to scurry off to practice or a game. Lukey is officially a half-time goalie for his hockey team this year…which means an extra separate goalie practice as well. He sweats his butt off getting up and down, up and down, well over 100 times during each training session. My legs get sore just watching!

Soccer is a little less demanding and tiring....and has lots of Boston Pizza lunches afterward.

The team went to see the Whitecaps after one of their games...which was a first for me. 

One day Lukey had a soccer game followed by pizza lunch, basketball practice, hockey game followed by his team getting dinner together and then playing floor hockey in the gym and air hockey in the games room! Spoiled little guy.

Usually his cleaning process involves a hot-tub or dip in the pool...but we occasionally wrestle him into the bath.

I’m still coaching Luke’s hockey team with a group of other dads, but have really had to step back in my role. It looks like I’m going to be mostly a goalie coordinator and an extra on-ice presence when time allows.

There’s been a couple of crazy days this fall where he’ll been in school all day, run a mile cross country race, followed by a hockey practice, basketball practice and then goalie practice. We know…it’s probably too much…and isn’t very common…but he does love his sports.

Molly is much more in love with her arts. She is going back for her second musical production with the Vancouver School of Performing Arts. She is also taking a drawing class at Arts Umbrella. Recently Molly and Les have joined the tour of high schools offering special programs like leadership, arts, and the various mini-schools around town. This is making for a relatively busy schedule on it’s own…but then there’s basketball.

I started Split Second Basketball 5 years ago. I’ve loved the experience and feel proud of the training we’ve been able to offer my, and other people’s kids. Although I’ve had numerous requests to offer programs on more evenings and outside of the Arbutus Club, it’s never felt quite right to do so. I already have a pretty busy schedule, and so do most of the guys coaching with me. A few of them are still playing for the UBC T-Birds. The “retired” guys have families, and jobs and such that rule out full time coaching.

However, this summer my really good friend Joey Vickery decided, after 19 years playing professionally in Europe, that it was time to come home. If you haven’t met Joey and/or haven’t seen him play, you can’t possibly understand how uniquely qualified Joey is to coach Split Second Basketball. I learned more from Joey than anyone else I ever played with. He taught me the importance of Split Seconds…both from the in-depth conversations we’ve had over the years, and just from watching the example that he is.

Joey took Lukey for his first game of pitch and putt
To say that Joey is unique is an understatement. To say that he is uniquely qualified to teach young kids what I want most to pass on is even more understated. If it weren’t for Steve Nash (who is close), Joey would be the best shooter Canada has ever had. Combine this with his ability to connect with and lead kids, he is the perfect person to run Split Second Basketball classes.

So, despite a rather full schedule, I felt compelled to create new coaching opportunities for Joey to come to Vancouver full time. It all happened pretty quickly, meaning lots of last minute scrambles to find gyms (THE HARDEST PART!), and players, and jerseys and insurance and on and on.

Joey also did a week of PE classes at the school

It’s been a challenge. It’s been stressful (poor Les), especially because I’ve also gone through some big exams at work this fall to become EMR licensed.

Finishing off the EMR licensing practical with a game of soccer and some beers

It’s been tiring. Mostly, it’s been fun and rewarding. I’ve gotten to spend lots of time with Joey. He’s a fantastic coach and an even better friend. Les has been holding the whole thing together and making it work. I love working closely on a project like this with her. It’s been good for the kids who have gotten some new basketball and life experiences.

With this holiday coming up, I figured I could add one more thing onto the schedule and organized the 2nd ever Split Second Cup at the Arbutus Club. We brought 30 kids out to play a 3 hour tournament, followed it up with pizza, prizes and a trip to watch the T-Birds play UVIC. At half-time the kids did some shooting and dribbling contests.

Lukey teamed up with 3 friends from his hockey team to win their division

Finny was ecstatic after beating out 5 grade 7-10 boys in Howard's impromptu $20 shootout after the game

On Sunday at Fortius Sport and Health, we brought in a couple of their physios/kinesiologists to teach our players better movement patterns. It was an experiment for us and for them, that seemed to go over well.

We also had a Steve Nash movie night at the Arbutus Club where we showed our players documentaries and clips of Nash...and talked about what he has done to get to the highest level of sport. He's a fantastic role model for kids, and we were hoping to set the stage for these kids to be able to appreciate watching his final season in the NBA. It doesn't look like that's going to happen.

Rich Anderson rolled into town for a brief visit...setting up a reunion of our 2002 Austrian Cup championship team.

The Raptors practiced for a week at Fortius this pre-season, so Joey, Rich and I watched them for a couple of hours and met with coach Dwayne Casey

and Jama Mahlalela to chat a bit about his role in player development.

We hosted our first Thanksgiving/Molly birthday weekend in Vancouver, breaking our long standing Point Roberts tradition...and were pleased to be able to easily host 15 people.

Les really has been holding us all together through this busy time. Cooking turkeys, answering emails, taxing, taxing, taxing, helping me with whatever I need.