Are you a “hockey mom” or a “soccer mom”?

October 1, 2010

The New Oxford Dictionary has added a whole wack of new words to the dictionary this year, and while I can’t muster a tonne of enthusiasm that “bromance” and “hashtag” made the list, I am excited that moms have a new definition for our activities. This year, “hockey mom” made the list:

hockey mom n. informal a mother who devotes a great deal of time and effort to supporting her children’s participation in ice hockey.

Now, obviously a hockey mom is much more devoted than a “soccer mom,” which Merriam Webster defines as:

soccer mom n. a typically suburban mother who accompanies her children to their soccer games and is considered as part of a significant voting bloc or demographic group

Obviously we soccer moms are just stuck in our situations, whereas hockey moms put the drive into driving your kid to sports.

My kids don’t play hockey, but even if the definition applies to other sports, I think I’m much more of a soccer mom than a hockey mom. But boy, do I know a lot of hockey moms!

Last summer, when I was coaching Little League baseball, we had a dad who really pushed for his kid on our team, and we called him a “hockey dad.” Can’t find that one in online dictionaries, but I always thought the hockey dad was the guy who pushed so hard that he got into fights with other hockey dads and coaches to get his kid more play time. Obviously, that is not the hockey mom.

Soccer mom was a term invented to define mostly baby boomer suburban moms, so it’s nice to see that we Gen X moms now have a term all our own.


My twentieth Terry Fox Run

September 20, 2010

I ran the Terry Fox Run this morning with my family, and it was the 20th run that I have done. I’m proud that we raised money for cancer research, I’m proud that we ran (the kids completed the 3K route with parents lagging behind), but mostly I’m proud that I am able to pass on this tradition to my children.

This year is the 30th anniversary of the Terry Fox Run. I can’t believe I missed the first ten, but I have made a point of doing this run every year since 1991. I’ve run it in Ottawa, in Kelowna, in Winnipeg, and in Vancouver. Wherever I was, wherever my family was travelling that weekend, we always got to a run site.

Why do I do this? Well yes, it’s a good cause. A wonderful cause. Nearly all the money raised goes directly to funding innovative cancer research. But mostly I do it because Terry Fox was a real hero to me. I was a teenager when he ran across Canada. I was living in Winnipeg then and was really excited about him coming through my city. I wanted to run alongside him when he came through. But of course he never made it to Winnipeg. His run ended in Thunder Bay, about 700 kilometres from my home.

So I run the Terry Fox Run every year to honour my hero. And I drag my family along every year to teach them about Terry and why he is such a wonderful person to look up to. I think I’m even getting through to my kids.


All baseball, all the time

May 17, 2010

I feel like my whole life lately is about baseball. Okay, there’s work in there too, but outside of work, it’s all baseball.

I coach my nine-year-old’s little league team. We are playing (I think I can say “we” as the coach, can’t I?) at a higher level this year, where the kids pitch, they can steal bases, and they practice a lot. In fact, between games and practices, we have baseball 4-5 times a week. Every week. For nine weeks!

And my son is a pretty good ball player, and he’s one of our team’s pitchers. But he needs to work at it, and practice. And that means I’m expected to find extra time at home to practice with him. But I have no extra time these days, mostly because of his baseball schedule!

We took a weekend away recently. It was fun, but not especially relaxing. And where did we go? To Seattle, to watch a Mariners Major League Baseball game.

I’m also trying to organize an outing for a large group of kids and adults. Where to, you ask? Why, to a baseball game to watch the Vancouver Canadians!

At least this week it looks like I have an evening to myself. And how will I spend it? I’ve been asked to sub for an adult team’s softball team. So yup, night off and I’ll be playing — you guessed it — baseball.

Good thing I like baseball.


I once did a triathlon — there I said it!

October 9, 2009

Last year, when I turned 40, I committed to myself that I would complete a triathlon. I am not terribly athletic nor fit, so it was a huge commitment. I swam occasionally, ran when I had to, and biked lots, as long as no hills were involved (and I live in Vancouver, so you can imagine how little that was). But goshdarnit, I needed a challenge for my 40th to prove I wasn’t really old, so that was it.

So I trained. I actually followed the rules with my Monday-night running group, and even ran mid-week. I got over the hill thing on my bike and got better at cycling. And I swam more. I got help, from the head lifeguard at the pool, from the guy who runs the running clinic, and from my trainer. And from a website about training to run your first tri.

And I did it. My only goals were to finish it, not embarrass myself, and not be last. And I did all three. Despite swimming breast stroke, I came out of the pool about halfway in the group (a very supportive women’s only tri race helped!), off my bike a bit slower, but heck, it’s a mountain bike, and while my run was pretty pathetic and at the end I had absolutely nothing to give, I did cross the finish line in under two hours and there were a dozen people who finished after me.

And sometimes I like to brag about all that. But maybe I talked about it a bit too much last year, because my hubby has threatened that if I say the word “triathlon” again he’ll make me do another one (which I really don’t want to do). My kids try to trick me into saying it all the time now. But today an Olympic triathlete, who went to the same school my kids now attend, is visiting the school and came out early to run with the cross country group, and I was going for a run anyhow so I ran with the kids for 10 minutes myself. So I got to run with a triathlete again today, and got to say triathlon all the time this morning. And I just felt like mentioning my own triathlon effort too, so am writing it here.

But since hubby doesn’t read the blog, and anyhow writing and saying aren’t really the same, right, so I’m safe right? Please don’t make me do another one. Running 40 minutes this morning was hard enough.


To bike or not to bike, the rain is a question

July 6, 2009

I have taken lately to biking to work. No, not the work I do at my home office. It would be very hard to bike from the kitchen to the playroom nook where my office is located. No, twice a week I work at a client’s office in Burnaby, which is 16 km from my home.

At first I couldn’t imagine doing the commute on my bike. I started this 2-day-a-week gig last September, right when the weather turned cold and wet. I had no interest in driving, since the drive takes about 45 minutes, so I bussed, which took me about 55 minutes, but I got to sit and read a book the whole way (and yes, I bought a blackberry so I could keep on top of work, both the client’s stuff when not at their office and my other consulting work when on the bus or at the client’s, but no, I rarely gave up my reading time on the bus to work on my handheld computer).

But in May, the ads for Bike-to-Work Week hit me, and I decided to give it a try. After all, I wasn’t a horrible cyclist, and the worst that would happen is the commute home (uphill) would be too much and I’d stick the bike on a bus). Besides, if  biked to work, even one way, I’d get in a workout, which would free up more time for the rest of my life, saving me from having to hit a gym or worse, go for a run (yuck!). So I tried it. And I found that it wasn’t too hard.

I found a terrific route to and from work that pretty much avoids the big hills — along the tracks by Arbutus, then along the new bike route that runs under the Skytrain, right to my office pretty much. It takes me just 55 minutes to bike to work (if you’re keeping track, that’s the same time it takes me to bus), and about 60 to bike home. So it isn’t taking any extra time, and I get my workout in while commuting. I’ve been biking out to Burnaby at least one of the two days every week for a couple months now, and loving it.

But let’s face it, the weather has been lovely, until today. Today it threatened seriously to rain on me on the way here. Now, I don’t care much for biking in the rain, but I’m hard core enough now to do it anyhow. On the way home. Because when I get home, I can hop in the shower, warm up and dry off. But on the way there, not so much. At my small office, there is no shower. It’s not usually a big problem, because I change clothes and am never terribly sweaty getting here (It’s more downhill on the way in, and cooler in the mornings. Nothing a few baby wipes can’t clear up.) But when it rains, I’d get very wet getting in, and while I can certainly dry off and change, I’m unlikely to warm up.

At least, that’s my story. That’s why I didn’t bike in this morning. Of course I feel like a woos for not biking. Especially since my next day in the office, it’s also threatening rain. And I won’t have time to work out much this week, so I do need to get in some biking on the way to something.

Would you bike in the rain if you didn’t have a shower on the other end?


A family walk — up Grouse Mountain

June 28, 2009

My family did the Grouse Grind yesterday morning. Yes, all of us, even the 8 year old and the 6 year old. And before you laugh at me too hard, yes, I was the last one up.

This wasn’t the kids’ first time climbing Grouse. Both climbed it a couple times before — the younger did it at age 4 (and yes, he did it faster than me then too). But it was the first time I climbed with them. Dad has always been the one to go with them before. In fact, two years ago, after my then-six-year-old did the climb in a reported 90 minutes, I went up the next weekend with a girlfriend trying to just beat his time (I didn’t, I tied it. Stop laughing!).

So this weekend we all climbed together. In my own defense, I have asthma, and it’s exercise-induced asthma, so when I climb a lot of stairs (and in case you’ve never experienced it, the Grouse Grind is described as Mother Nature’s stairclimber — it’s a mile straight up a mountain after all!), my heart rate skyrockets and I need to take a lot of breaks to slow my breathing down. The boys can just scramble up easily, even using their hands for the steeper steps. I can’t.

Anyhow, I told the boys to go on ahead with Dad and not wait for me until they reached the top, but they took a few long breaks and I managed to keep up with them. In fact, their time was 83 minutes, and mine was 86. Not too shabby for an old lady, right?

While it may not have been a crowning moment of athletic achievement for me, for the kids, it was an amazing one. They’re only 6 and 8, and they climbed Grouse Mountain in under 90 minutes. I am so proud of them, and so proud to have been able to do it with them.

And okay, none of us could even dream of doing it more than once, let alone 13 times like this superhero, but still, those two boys are my heroes.