Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Parenting By Hockey

Everything that I believe to be a cornerstone of good parenting can be found in a well-officiated hockey game. If you have ever watched a game, you have surely borne witness to the tantrum thrown by many players on their way to the penalty box as they plead their case. You have also likely noticed that an official never says “well, you’re making me feel so bad, I’m gonna change my mind”. Nope. It is quite possible that the official will be more watchful of the play upon which the penalized player is blaming her folly, however officials never apologize for enforcing good conduct.

Officials stick together. When a linesman makes an offside call, players may attempt to argue the call with another official. They may earnestly plead their case that the call was wrong; perhaps they believe that the linesman doesn’t like them. I’ve never witnessed an official changing the call of another official, except on plays which are open to review (see below). No official has ever said “Yeah, I know, ole’ Joe really needs to get some glasses. You know what, let’s just go ahead and give you a penalty shot.”

The rules are allowed to change in hockey. Not over-night, not in the middle of games, but the rules do evolve. Different officials enforce the rules slightly differently. Amazingly enough, most players are able to adapt without too much trouble. Sure, there’s the occasional idiot that still doesn’t understand why he’s not supposed to elbow other players in the head. Most of today’s players have managed to get this change of acceptable behavior incorporated into their playing style. With reasonable notice, rules can change.

Reviewing the play. While most plays don’t get a review, some plays do. One of the great things about hockey is that an official can review the play and change his mind about the call. They actually say “Yeah, I thought there was a kicking motion too. As it turns out, there wasn’t and the goal is going to stand.” Officials can and do admit to being wrong. No hard feelings.

We use a penalty box, figuratively speaking. We don’t start the timer until our player has stopped futilely pleading her case. She sometimes argues that the linesman was wrong. Sometimes she is right. If it’s warranted, we’ll review the play and discuss the results after she has served her penalty. The officials never change each others’ calls. The call stands: even when there isn’t unanimity amongst the officials, there is a united front from the player’s perspective. If absolutely necessary, the officials confer between periods-but never within earshot of the player. Finally, the officials never forget that the player wants only to win the game. It is the job of the officials to make sure that the game was won in accordance with the rules.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Two Packs A Day

Aimee and I quit smoking (for the last time) about 9 years ago. Like many other reformed smokers, we sometimes smugly wonder how some people can tolerate a habit which easily costs them $150 per month. That money could be spent on so many better things.

Today, I realized how incredibly funny we are. Even though we don’t smoke, we’ve hardly put that extra (combined) $300 per month to good use. Really, we just developed a different but equally (or more) expensive habit. Coffee.

The weight of realization hit me today when I purchased my 16oz Saturday morning latte with an extra shot. After tip the total came to $4.98. Aimee and I each purchase three or four coffees per week.

I wondered why we haven’t purchased an espresso machine. We’d save money the first month. It isn’t as though we’re saving time driving the wrong direction to the coffee shop, waiting in line to order and pay, and then waiting in line for our coffee. If anything, that’s a net loss too. What other reasons would we have for continuing to frequent the local coffee shop? The only thing I can come up with is that we don’t want the responsibility of trying to service ourselves. We’re too specific and nitpicky about our orders. There’s too much of a chance we’d screw up our own orders, and then we’d have to start our days feeling inadequate. Perhaps we’ll leave coffee making to the professionals.

Monday, April 4, 2011


We were driving back to the cottage from Country Dairy today when we happened upon a truck moving slowly down the road. It looked as though the driver had a load of metal to recycle, and he was moving cautiously. As we waited for a safe opportunity to pass, I noticed a "Tapout" sticker in his back window. In the event that you have no idea what Tapout is all about, just think about the guys you see pummeling each other on national television from time to time. Someone has to make gear and sponsored clothing for these guys to wear while they attempt to inflict closed head injuries upon each other. That's what Tapout does.

When we were able to safely pass the truck we did so, waving casually as we eased by. Once we were safely around him, I glanced in my rear-view mirror and noticed the truck's vanity plate. It read "Jesus".

I had forgotten that Jesus was sponsored by Tapout.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

We already worked it out!

We decided it would be nice to get out of town for a couple of days, so we asked Mom if we could go to the lake house. She said sure, and here we are. Last summer Mom had a sign made that reads "Evy's Lake House". The sign is mounted prominently in front of the cottage.

Evelyn has decided that it means that the lake house is literally hers.This evening we were brushing her teeth when I said something about "Grandma's Lake House". Evelyn retorted "It's MY lake house." I suggested to her that perhaps she should work that out with Grandma as I walked out of the bathroom.

From around the corner came a defiant, impatient voice that declared "We already worked it out!"