Hockey

Symbol of Strength. . . or Super V Power!

When Brian was in Kindergarten, he played soccer.

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These games were fun to watch -- because the little guys, for the most part, just ran around the field in a pack.  They sort of followed the ball around, and occasionally they made (what Tom and I called) "intentional ball contact."

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Brian wanted to make a goal.  Badly.  So, one day before a game, I convinced him that the "V" design sewed into his little soccer shoes were "SUPER V"s and they game him Super Powers.  All he had to do was activate the power of the Super V, and he would kick with extra power!

It worked.  He scored a goal.  It was all the Super Vs, you know.

He didn't play soccer for long, but the Super V power followed him . . . into baseball. . .

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and hockey. . .

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even high school lacrosse!

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Of course, once he outgrew those little soccer shoes with their built-in Super V design, we had to add our own Super Vs.  Brian's sports equipment was always covered with marker-drawn Vs -- which were "freshened up" before any tryout or Really Big Game.

Here are his hockey gloves from high school. 

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When you turn them over, you find this. . .

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Super V Power!!!

It generally worked.

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Last year, when I went to watch Brian in The Pull at Hope College, this brought tears. . .

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The Pullers adorn their bodies with symbols of strength -- and Brian had chosen to include Super Vs.

Yesterday, Brian made the Super V a permanent part of himself. . . with a Super V tattoo.

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He was very thoughtful about it.  It took him about 18 months to decide whether to get the tattoo -- and where.  When he finally decided, he took me with him.

He explains the V as "a symbol of strength between my mom and me."

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SUPER V POWER!!!!  Now . . . Forever!


Hey! Hey! Hockeytown!

Ever since Brian was 9 years old, and played travel hockey, Tom and I spent the weekends traveling about the state (and occasionally beyond) for hockey.  From September through March; through all kinds of weather; lugging sticks and smelly gear, we drove for hockey.  Generally, I'll say it was a lot of fun.  But sometimes, our weekends were not our own.  (Make that . . . the weekends were NEVER our own.)  Although we miss seeing Brian play, we don't acutally mind closing the door on that part of our lives.

This weekend, though, we found ourselves traveling for hockey again.  Only this time, it was a little different.  This time, we headed to Hockeytown. . . for a Red Wings game!

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Tom has been to a Red Wings game before, but I hadn't.  (During Brian's hockey season, as he got older, we often did the divide-and-conquer weekend thing.)  It was fun to see the game played on the whole ice (so different from when you watch on TV) and to experience "The Joe" up close.

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I especially liked watching the coaches prepare during warm-ups.  So intense!

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And, in the end, it was probably the best-ever game to watch live.  The Red Wings played sluggishly for two periods, and then came back in the third period with gusto.  They tied the game with 3 seconds remaining -- and then won in overtime.  Great, great hockey drama!

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This hockey fan . . . had a great time!

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And no smelly gear in the back of the car on the way home?  A definite bonus!


TGIFriday!

News Flash!

I was at a meeting earlier today when I heard this:  Today, for the first time in recorded history, there is snow on the ground in each of the 50 states

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Love (1,000)

After going back and forth several times, I finally made the decision to actually sign up for the RavelympicsTeam Michigan.  I'll be participating in the Sweaterboarding event. . . and I'll be making a zipped vest for Tom.  Here's my little "training swatch."

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I've been wanting to make this vest for Tom for quite a while.  He's very enthused about it -- cooperating most heartily through the measurement phase, and the yarn selection phase, and even the swatching phase (although he was mostly losing interest by then). 

The most fun part was choosing the yarn.  Tom is color blind.  Like, really color blind.  (I could have a lot of fun with this . . . but I'm a Kind and Loving Wife. . . so I am Helpful when it comes to color-matching.)  I gathered up appropriate stash yarns in "manly" colors and presented them to Tom -- under a really good light, of course.  We considered a nice olive green (which, to Tom, appeared. . . brown) and a heathered forest green (which, to Tom, appeared. . . brown) and a lovely greyish-rust color (which, to Tom, appeared. . . brown) and a warm cocoa brown (which, to Tom, appeared. . . brown).  In the end, we went with. . . brown (as if that mattered).

I look forward to casting on tonight - during the opening ceremonies.  It's going to be nice to make something for Tom.  He is always appreciative of my efforts when it comes to knitting --- and very supportive of my little habit.  (He also likes warm vests!)

{Note to Rachel:  I was sorely tempted to join you for the Ropes event.  If the moss stitch on this vest gets to be a little too tedious - which is a distinct possibility -- I will join you for a few "laps" on the Ropes!}

{Note to Lynn:  I was also sorely tempted to join you in making the Every Way Wrap.  I'm going to be watching your progress carefully -- because that is next on my knitting agenda (I think. . .)!}

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Hard Head Hat

Brian's hockey team has a little locker room award the coaches give after every game.  It's the Hard Hat, and it goes to the player that has made the biggest effort/difference in the game.  Wednesday's winner of the Hard Hat. . .

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Great game, Bud!  (And that game winning goal was pretty dang awesome!)

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Stranger-Danger

Jenny and I go for a walk every evening.  During the summer our routes vary, but during the winter - when the roads are icy and snowy - we tend to follow the same path day after day.  Jenny knows our path Really Well.  She knows where the fenced dogs live; she knows where the loose dogs live; she knows where the loud-dogs-barking-in-the-houses live.  Not much surprises her during our winter walks.

Until yesterday.  We were walking along in one of the no-dogs segments of our route, when she suddenly freaked.  Her hair stood up on her shoulders and she growled and started walking sort of sideways.  She was beside herself.  It took me a minute to figure out what she saw.  It was this:

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A tiny little snowman (with racing flags????) in someone's yard!  This snowman is about 2 feet tall!  What a goofy dog. . .

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Birds of a Feather

Don't forget -- this weekend is the Great Backyard Bird Count!  It's fun and easy to participate.

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Fermentation Continues

So far, so good on the sourdough starter.  After nearly 48 hours, I have no trace of any blue, pink, or green liquid in my starter.  Just a very yeasty-smelling mixture with the consistency of pancake batter.  Sourdough. . . here we come!

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Happy Valentine's Day

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Have a great weekend -- with plenty of Olympics, knitting, and chocolate!

 


Friday RoundUp, January-Style

It's been a busy week. . . so I'm going to end it with a Friday RoundUp.

First up -- An Exciting Contest!

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When I first started this blog, back at the end of May, it was part of my "healing plan."  My way of stepping away from The Edge.  I needed to give myself a voice; to seem "real" after the whole cancer thing.  I don't know what I really expected from it.  But, after 6 months of blogging, I can say that I've gotten a lot more out of this than I ever imagined.  I didn't think anyone would read it.  But you do.  I didn't think anyone would comment.  But you do.  I had no idea that I would meet such cool people through my blog.  But I do. And here's the most amazing thing.  As of right now, I've had 922 comments on my blog (plus one about do-it-yourself awnings -- but I deleted that one).  Amazing. 

So, here's the contest.  The person that makes the 1,000th comment on my blog will win a prize of their choosing!  Either. . . a somewhat-custom handmade (by me) Minion of their very own. . . or a cool skein of sock yarn from my stash.

So get commenting!  (You have no idea how much your comments mean to me!)

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Next -- The Celebrating Continues!  

Brian and I thank you for your cheers of support about his hockey triumph.  He is still walking around on Cloud Nine.  I would hate to be their next opponent. . .  Anyway, I just want to show you how BIG this win was.  Here's the front page of last night's sports section in the Kalamazoo Gazette:

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So cool!  It doesn't get much better than that!

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Next - Those Damn Mittens

I trashed my first Psychic Heart mitten earlier this week.  The colors were just not working for me.  Not even a little.  (Tom thought they were fine, but he is color blind.)  Here they are, before their demise.

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After thinking about them for a couple of days, I decided to dive back into the stash and see if I could come up with a better color combination.  I'm trying again. . . but the jury is still out.

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What do you think?  (I'm actually knitting these "inside-out" on the needles - to manage the floats on the outside where I can see them.  I sort of like the inside better than the outside.  Maybe the pattern is just not doing it for me?)

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Opinions welcome.  I'm going to finish this one. . . but EZ's mitered mittens are beginning to call.  Loudly.

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Next -- January Thaw

It's been warming up a bit over the last few days.  Not WARM-warm, but over 32 degrees (Fahrenheit).  So we're in the January Thaw.  The "dirty-snow" part of winter.  Yuck.  My driveway pile:

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My car:

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I'd rather have new snow.  It's prettier.

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Next -- The Knitter's Equivalent of the "Bat Signal" Has Been Activated

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Haiti needs our support.  See the Yarn Harlot's blog (as if you haven't already) for details of how you can help.

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And, Finally -- Some Mind Candy

Important decisions 

Yes, it's been That Kind of Week!  Enjoy the weekend!


Do You Believe. . .

Hockey movies are big in our house.  We watch 'em all, but have favorites.  Mystery, AlaskaSlap Shot. Miracle.  They're fun, inspirational, and - generally - have endings that are . . . satisfying.  You know what I mean.  The "good guys" end up winning, or, at least, pulling themselves up by their bootstraps (skate laces. . .) and making a decent show of things.

Life isn't like the movies, though.  And sometimes, things just don't go well for a hockey team.  Like, take for instance, Brian's high school hockey team this year.  It's been a rough season so far.  Not so many wins.  It's not that the boys are unskilled (because that's not at all the case), but this year, situations have conspired to make things . . . challenging.  Lots of rookies.  Inexperienced goalies.  Untimely injuries.  Confidence problems. 

It's especially tough when you're a senior.  And you were hoping for . . . more.

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In this difficult season, we've encouraged Brian to continue to play hard; to play with integrity; to hold his head up ---- and to look for the little things that make this season "special" -- regardless of this year's win/loss record.  And so he has.

He was named Captain.

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He won the title of "Fastest Shot" in the League Skills Competition/Parent Night earlier this week (71 mph).

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And he's being recruited to play hockey at Hope College next year.  These are all Really Good Things, and these individual triumphs help to offset the disappointment of a disappointing season.  We all know better than to think that Ordinary Life is anything like The Movies.

But.  Do you believe? 

Here's a clip from the hockey movie Miracle (about the 1980 USA Olympic hockey team).  It's a great locker room talk -- from Coach Herb Brooks (played by Kurt Russell) to his team before they went out to meet the Soviet team.

Last night, Brian's team went up against their cross-town rival in a league contest.  Now, this cross-town rivalry is intense and long-standing, and, unfortunately, the Other Team has been dominating for years.  On top of all the "history," the Other Team is having a Very Good Year.  In fact, they are undefeated in the league, and, earlier this season, beat Brian's team 8-0.  We all expected another blow-out.

But.  Do you believe?

Brian's team scored first -- and early -- in the game. 

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You could hear the sigh of relief.  (Because . . . at least they would have a SCORE on the board in this game.)

But.  Do you believe?

Something happened.  There was confidence in the air!  They played well.  Really well.  Their confidence grew.  They frustrated the Other Team.  The crowd (always big in this hockey-loving town, but especially big for this rivalry) went CRAZY. 

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It was . . . like a movie!  It was as if it had been scripted!  Every kid on the team had his Best Game.  They played with excitement and integrity and skill.  And confidence.  The final score. . .

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The underdogs beat their rivals -- handing them their first league loss in over two years!

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The celebration was as big as if they had won the state championship!  (That's Brian jumping up on the glass to celebrate with some of his former teammates who came back for the game.)

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It was a True Movie Moment.  (This is Brian hugging another senior, Brandon, a longtime teammate -- from back in the travel days.)

Do you believe?  I think they do!


Away Game

For years, Brian played "travel hockey."  That meant that Tom and I spent many, many hours driving to ice rinks around the state of Michigan (and sometimes to states beyond) to transport Brian to, and then watch him play in, hockey games and tournaments.  This was a weekend lifestyle for us -- for many months of many years.  Yes, a Bit Nuts.

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I think this is a photo of Brian in 6th grade, although it may have been 7th.  I know it was one of those two years.

Anyway, for the last three years, Brian has played hockey for his high school team.  It's nice for him to play for his school -- and, as a bonus for his travel hockey-weary parents, most of the games are local!  When there are out of town games, a charter bus transports the team in style.  We Hockey Parents are a die-hard group, though.  Like I said.  A Bit Nuts.  We still go to any "away games."  (It's just not so much a lifestyle anymore.) 

Back in the travel hockey days, away games used to eat up entire days.  Sometimes game locations were two hours (or more) away.  Tack on to that. . . getting to the rink an hour before game time, then the actual game, then waiting for Brian after the game, and, finally, the return trip.  Sounds crazy, doesn't it?  That's what I mean by lifestyle.  A Bit Nuts.  But it was, actually, kind of fun.  (I got lots of knitting done.)  Now, Tom and I can just hop in the car and drive to the game -- and get back in the car right after the game.  That cuts out a lot of hanging-around time (and, unfortunately, knitting time).

This weekend, Brian's team had a game in Muskegon, Michigan . . . which meant . . . Road Trip for Tom and I. 

Here is the Hockey Mom getting ready for the game.

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Now, I must admit, this is how I look before all games -- local or away.  What's different about an away game. . . is that I also pack my knitting for the car!

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And. . . off we go!  Heading north.

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For Saturday's game in Muskegon, we drove north through Grand Rapids. . .

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and on further into the north . . .

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(We've played games in both Lansing and Cadillac, too, of course.  But today we were headed for Muskegon!)

where the sun disappeared as we got closer to the lake. . .

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We passed the time watching for hawks along the highway (we spotted 5 on the way) and listening to podcasts of "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" on NPR.  And. . . knitting, of course.

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After nearly an hour and a half of driving. . . we arrived at the rink in Muskegon.

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(I used to be very disturbed that ambulances were in the parking lots of hockey rinks, but, over the years, I've gradually gotten used to them being there.)

And, surprise!  There in the parking lot were my Mom and Dad!  Hockey Grandparents are a Bit Nuts, too! 

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And, look at the crowd!  This is the visitors side of the rink!  We really are a Bit Nuts, we Hockey Parents.  We just can't keep away. 

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Just in time for the boys to warm up before the game.

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And that's pretty much all I have to say about the game.  See the scoreboard there?  Before the game began?  That's the best it looked for our team the whole game.  'Nuff said. 

By the time we left the rink, it was dark for our drive home.  What does a hawk-spotting knitter do on the way home in dark?  Why. . . play with her camera and oncoming traffic, of course!

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All of Brian's games for the next couple of weeks are local.  Wish him luck.  His team could use it this year!


The Hockey Mom

My son, Brian, is a hockey player.  So that makes me . . . a Hockey Mom.

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That's him.  Number 11.  Delivering a punishing blow during a high school game last year.

Hockey is a sport that takes a lot of time and commitment -- from the player and from the family.  Lots of driving.  Lots of travel.  Lots of practice.  Lots of games.  Lots of equipment.  Lots of laundry.  In the early years, it meant lots of knitting time in cold rinks in uncomfortable seats with other Hockey Moms.  Hockey Moms develop a special camaraderie when their players are young.  You are actually in the locker rooms, getting your kids geared up/down for practices and games.  You develop a special intimacy as you sort through tiny shin pads and helmets and jocks together!  Thankfully, just as the players start to develop that . . . stink. . . and begin to talk like they're IN a locker room. . . they can take care of their own gearing up/down, and we Hockey Moms just shift to driving, watching, waiting, and laundry.

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Brian at 9, when his team won a tournament.  The Hockey Moms were ecstatic!  (Brian is on the very far left here.)

Hockey is also a sport that never ends.  The season just goes on. . . and on. . . and on. . .  There's Summer Hockey, and Fall Hockey, and the "Regular Season", of course, and Playoffs, and then there's even Spring Hockey.  Much of it is optional, of course.  But not really.  Because hockey is. . . all about the ice time!

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So, last night I pulled into an all-too-familiar parking lot. 

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Summer Hockey has begun! 

But this Hockey Mom doesn't knit at the rink anymore.  First of all, the games are pretty exciting at this level.  Second, I don't have to wait around anymore.  And, third, the rink has a bar!

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It also really hit me last night.  Brian will be a senior this year.  It's his last year for competitive hockey.  That means. . . it's my last year to be a Hockey Mom.

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I'm going to savor every moment!