Use Your Words - FAST

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once, and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are:

emotion ~ chronic ~ laughable ~ information ~ begin again
They were submitted by: The Bergham Chronicles  - Thank you, Jules!

After a full two weeks' break from hockey practice Colin and his team mates had their first game of 2019 this weekend. It was also the first time he was deployed to the stronger group within his category, and he was proud and excited about it.

Now a typical away game goes as follows:

Families arrive at the arena, drop their player off in front of the locker room and meet for much needed coffee at a heated onsite restaurant. For the next hour the kids warm up and get into their gear, the zamboni preps the ice and excitement is growing. 
The speaker welcomes the teams and share information on who will play on which field, as typically two games take place at the same time.
The youngsters will arrive on the ice, skate a few rounds, gather up around their goal and spend a minute focussing before shouting their chant. All but the starting field players will leave the ice, and the puck will be dropped by the ref, usually a slightly older kid.
Parents gather around the boards and watch, film, cheer. Emotions will be upbeat. Our guys will score and win the first game and after a five minute break begin again. If there are four teams participating, they'll do this three times, get out of their gear, take a shower, get dressed, emerge from the locker rooms with big smiles on their faces, and we'll all go home, or sometimes grab a bite on our way home. The end. PS: For Hockey Moms of course this is not the end. We'll get to do the laundry.

This weekend it wasn't the typical away game.

It had been snowing, so we and most of the other parents made sure to leave really early in case there would be delays on route. Of course in case you budget extra time you won't need it, and we arrived way to early. Everything, especially the locker rooms were still closed. 
At this particular location the restaurant is always closed on weekends. Someone explain to me why they do that. Aren't weekends the busiest days for an ice rink? They have an outdoor kiosk with laughable customer service. They will chronically make you wait for 15 - 20 minutes for a hot dog. There is some kind of a self-service facility which is basically a closed room with no windows, a couple of lame-ass heating elements and a vending machine. That's where we spent the hour waiting till the game started.
At this particular location they make the kids play outside while many times the indoor rink is not being used. 
At this particular location there is no speaker either. If you want the results you'll have to keep track of the scores yourself which is fine for the game your kid plays in, but not the one happening at the same time. If you've got competitive kids that's an issue ;-)

Of course if the kids play outside, the parents watch outside. While the kids are constantly in motion, and thus keep warm, we'll start to get cold, no matter the boots, hats, gloves  and scarves we're wearing.

All of a sudden we noticed a kid being rushed to the ice. He was wearing his full gear except the match jersey which is being distributed prior to the game. Huh? Oh, this is J, we hadn't seem him when we arrived. He's one of five kids, four of which play hockey, and understandably, the family is struggling with logistics. I didn't know the guy who brought him. He helped him climb over the boards, and the boy approached the coach whose body language said it all: Too late! Buh-bye. 
The poor boy turned around, climbed back over the boards, and they left.

Shoot! At the time nobody knew what had happened. We were pretty much into half of the second of three games, so considering the time he was supposed to be here to meet the team beforehand, he was two hours late. Obviously the rules are if you don't make it in time, you're not playing.

As it turned out later they were stuck in traffic - remember the snow - upon coming home from spending Christmas break in the mountains, skiing. They had called to say they were going to be a little late, but clearly it was more than a little. While it was good to see that the rules apply to everyone, even the kid of one of the major sponsors of our franchise, I felt bad for the boy who was a victim of circumstances beyond his control. I also felt bad for our guys who were short-handed, especially Colin and another kid who had to pull double duty. (I was still happy to see that he obviously did a good enough job to be trusted with extra ice time.)

Sadly the games were not "good ones". Our team and the opponent alike weren't very organized, went back and forth with not much a plan, won the puck one second, lost it the next, it was not fun to watch, and the competitive / supportive Hockey Dads were getting restless. "Come on, now, go get them!" some started to shout, and one even encouraged his boy to hit the opponent. 
The coach who was already on edge, must not have approved and probably got even pissier. Is that a word? He was pissed before and got more pissed = pissier?

Some of the kids are a bit receptive / needy of parental feedback, and they kept swinging by the boards for encouragement. I was surprised. This was not the first time I noticed this was happening, there is one very young and dreamy boy who always, always wants to see a thumbs up from his Dad, but now it was happening from the supposedly stronger and more experienced players, remember I said Colin was playing with the "A team" this time? Wow, not great, especially if it was interfering with what the coach was telling them.

One ref was irritating me, using his whistle often, long and loudly, and he kept taking his sweet time for face-offs, and at some point I couldn't help myself but yelling at him to hurry it up already, and my tone was not friendly. Oohps, looks like I was on edge, too?

I can tell you what I am on edge about. So what if they lost a couple of games, those are some boys who have been spoiled by success, they need to learn it can't always be that way.

I have been talking to a fellow Hockey Mom whose twins play with Colin, and she also has an older son who will start high school this summer, and they are trying to get him into "sports school", and organization that allows talented athletes to train when they need to and attend class when they can. Spots are limited, and you need a recommendation from your coach, your teacher and your doctor. 

Even though there is a school like that in our state (we don't live in the state Colin plays at) there is no hockey franchise associated with it, it looks like they mainly focus on soccer and swimming. So even if we managed to get C into hockey town's school - not even considering that there are more talented guys in his group - how would we manage the daily life challenges? How will we if he stays in regular school?

This is what kept me up that night. 

We'll have to cross that bridge later.

So I had my post all written and scheduled, and it's not that I wanted to begin all over again, but then the following happened: 

One of my coworkers collapsed at the office on Tuesday. I wasn't there, C had practice. 

Hubby and some teammates called the ambulance which arrived super promptly. They took him to the nearby hospital. 

I asked my husband to call the coworker's Mom to let her know. She was very grateful and made her way to the hospital. A couple of hours later she called to tell us he was stable and hooked up to a breathing machine. 

The next morning his Mom called to inform us he passed away. Doctors thought he had a stroke. He was 47 years old, overweight and a smoker. Other than that he was a kind and super helpful and patient guy.

I kind of feel bad for not being there even though there was nothing I could have done. I usually work till 5:30pm on Tuesdays, but they moved practice from Monday to Tuesday so I had to leave early. I know that my teammates did everything they could, and the ambulance arrived really quickly. I think he was already more or less gone at that point, though. 

His Mom and her cousin walked into our office later that day. I have never met her before, but I immediately liked her. Such a brave lady. She told us her son had not one bur two brain bleeds, and the doctors only put him on the breathing machine to preserve his organs. It looks as if he didn't want to be an organ donor (which I personally can't understand, when I am gone I want them to take whatever other poor souls may need) and they ordered the doctors to take him off life support.

My husband is a bit faint at heart even if somebody cuts their finger, so you can imagine he's pale as heck, but he's holding up fine, keeping the business running. Customers have empathy, but they still want their own problems fixed. That's where I will have to come in, even though I am not qualified, ughhh.

We created a mailing to let our customers know (while praying that nobody was calling to ask for him before the letters go out). I folded them all at home in the afternoon while C had friends over. WhenI took them to the post office fortunately Colin was allowed to go to his friend's house. Gotta love my fellow Moms!

I drafted a death notice for the newspaper - when did this become my "specialty"? I feel like I'm developing a skill here. Too many people gone these past years.

We don't have word about a service yet. 

His Mom said he was very happy working for us. Which is nice to hear.

Can you imagine saying goodbye to your (grown-up) kid in the morning, and they never come home ever again? Heartbreaking. 

Before I leave, let me share you some stuff I googled, in hopes you'll never need it:

The American Stroke Association came up with the acronym FAST for recognizing the  symptoms of a stroke: 

F - Face drooping on one side, inability to smile or stick out your tongue
A - Arm numbness or weakness on one side of the body
S - Speech difficulty: slurry or garbled speech 
T - Time is of the essence, call an ambulance!

Other signs are blurred vision or seeing double in one eye and confusion or difficulty thinking.

Stay happy and healthy!

Don't leave before checking out my blogger friends' posts:    




  1. Outstanding quest there. What occurred after?
    Good luck!


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