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A Great Giveaway from Sports Posters Warehouse {CAN/US}

Sports Poster Warehouse

Let’s get something straight. Just because I lost my man cave to a daycare, that doesn’t mean I can’t have nice things. To me, nice things, is code for sports memorabilia. For as long as I can remember, I have been a collector of things. Not just sporty items either. I’ve collected bottle caps, stamps, match packets, coasters, shot glasses and even rocks at one point, although the rock phase only lasted until I stepped on one for the first time.

That’s why I was excited to get an email from Sports Poster Warehouse about some promotions they were running. I dove right into their site and immediately got a rush of excitement thinking about how all of those posters would look in my basement. I mean, what sports nut wouldn’t want these lining their walls?

Canadiens CupNotre Dame Irish

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the cool things about Sports Poster Warehouse is that it’s not just about sports. They have everything from Motivational posters to very cool Disney stuff for the kids. Funny, now that I’m a parent, I find myself gravitating to anything that has a picture of a cartoon on it. Maybe that’s just me though… Check out some of these cool non-sports posters:

Disney AlphabetBeatles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is so much more to pick from that I couldn’t possibly list every type of poster and pennant they carry. You’ll have to go check it out for yourself to find out what I’m talking about. And that brings me to my next point. The fine people at Sports Poster Warehouse have agreed to let me give away one of their amazing posters (up to $40 value) to you guys.

All you have to do to enter is visit their website, Right Here, and then come back here and leave me a comment letting me know which poster you would like to win. Pretty easy, right? Contest is open to residents of Canada and the US (excluding Quebec) and will close on Sunday, February 24th at midnight.

You can also find Sports Poster Warehouse on Twitter, @SportsPosters, and also on Facebook at Sports Poster Warehouse. And if you aren’t the winner, you can still order from Sports Poster Warehouse and get 10% off with this discount code: DAD-10 (expires 2/28).

Good Luck!!

Just a quick update that the winner is entry #2 – Amy. Congrats!!

Someday That’ll Be Me

I love being a Dad. Snuggling with my little ones is probably my favourite pastime these days, especially with the advance knowledge that they won’t want to do that forever. I can’t believe how fast they are growing up and how quickly their minds and abilities are evolving, but, I have to admit, contrary to how I thought I would feel about their rate of growth, I’m kind of excited about it.

Don’t get me wrong, I definitely don’t want them to turn into teenagers tomorrow. I love all the amazing moments and “firsts” that come with raising toddlers, but every now and then I see a Dad on his way to his son’s hockey practice or daughter’s dance recital and proudly think, “Someday that’ll be me”.

With each new step my children take towards independence, I can’t help but think of everything the world has in store for them and for us as a family. When I took my son skating for the first time, I kept glancing over at the father and son having a game of one on one and got an extra proud bounce in my stride in thinking about the day that I will be playing in that game.

I watch how carefully and lovingly my daughter takes care of her little dolls, making sure to give them all regular checkups, and I can’t help but flash forward to the day that she is taking care of real people at her own practice. These thoughts bring on an unexplainable sense of pride in knowing that my kids still have time to do whatever they want to do with their lives.

I have no intention of rushing my children’s development but that doesn’t mean I’m not excited for the journey that lies ahead. Even the smallest of scenarios are things that I can’t stop thinking about. I saw an older man having lunch with his adult son and grandson the other day and I couldn’t help but get lost in thinking, “Someday that’ll be me”.

Canadian Spotlight – Todd Churchill’s Charity Rink Of Dreams For Carter

Todd Churchill Rink for Carter

I came across this story on the CBC website and it was too amazing to not write about. Todd Churchill lives in Portugal Cove – St. Philips, NL with his wife Kimberly and their two sons Hunter and Carter. His youngest son, Carter, was diagnosed as profoundly deaf in December 2011 and then subsequently diagnosed with cerebral palsy in January 2012.

Since that time, Todd and his wife Kimberly have become very active in various fundraising efforts for local charities and non-profit organizations associated with or helping with their son Carter’s condition. This past July, they both participated in Easter Seals’ Drop Zone event in St. John’s and personally raised over $8,000 dollars.

Todd then decided that the logical next step would be to build an outdoor rink. This, however, was not just going to be any outdoor rink. Todd had a dream of designing and building a 95’ x 46’ outdoor ice hockey rink in his backyard, complete with boards, painted lines, nets, lighting, etc. His goal was to sell ad space on the boards and also on the ice surface, just like an NHL rink, with the proceeds going to support the three charities that have helped and continue to help his family the most. Those charities are:

1. The Easter Seals of Newfoundland & Labrador
2. Rainbow Riders
3. Mazol Shriners

I’ve included links to the donation pages of all three in case you are compelled to contribute. Todd’s got a website all set up that lists all the amazing sponsors, supporters and news about the rink and his family’s charitable efforts. The website is called Reason For The Rink and I hope you’ll stop in to check it out. I was also fortunate enough to interview Todd for this feature and here is what he had to say.

CD: Where did you get the idea to do this? It’s quite brilliant!

Todd: I received a photo of a similar, albeit smaller, rink done out in western Canada and I always wanted to do one as a personal challenge being an engineer. When my son was born and was diagnosed as deaf and with CP, my wife and I became very proactive in organizations dedicated to assisting children like Carter, namely Easter Seals NL, Rainbow Riders and Mazol Shriners. We both participated in the Easter Seals NL Drop Zone event (9 storey rappel) in July, personally raising over $8,000. As a result, I was invited to participate in the Easter Seals Toronto Drop Zone (17 storey’s). There are links to videos of both events on my website under “Other Fundraising Efforts“. My wife has a small home business called Carter’s Cupcakes, which makes cakes and cupcakes with 25% of the profits going to children’s charities associated with Carter. I started my rink as both a fundraiser and a way of increasing awareness of these organizations which I myself had no awareness of prior to Carter being born.

CD: Was the rink a community project or more of a solo effort?

Todd: It was a solo project that I started planning last winter but actually physically started in June building a prototype corner and straight section to work the bugs out of my design.

CD: Now that the rink is built, what are your goals for it? Will there be more fundraising or is it a community rink?

Todd: I am going to have to some fundraisers for people at work. I am currently working on the Hebron project here in NL so I am going to have a hockey tournament for employees of the major companies, ie. ExxonMobil, WorleyParsons, KCAD and Kiewit-Kvaerner Contractors. I have also been receiving a lot of offers to rent ice time with proceeds going to charity.

CD: How difficult was it to sell the ad space?

Todd: It was slow going at first as companies didn’t really know what to make of what I was doing. Some companies jumped right on board, while others needed some convincing and others never responded at all. After I launched my website, I had more demand than available spaces so City Honda here in St. John’s offered $1,000 for an in ice ad, which is something I never considered before. I was only going to have the charity logos in the ice, but I could not turn down that type of donation. Provincial Airlines, ExxonMobil (Hebron Project) and Ranstar* soon followed and took the remaining three in ice logos for $1000 as well. I have now raised over $16,700 to date.

Rink BoardsRink DrawingRink Frame

 

 

 

 

 

This was such a great story and I was so glad to be able to speak with Todd about it. For more information about Todd’s charity rink or on how you can donate, you can visit his website, Reason For The Rink, and you can follow him on Twitter @Reason4TheRink.

I wanted to leave you with one last look at the finished product. Admittedly, this photo makes me want to hop on a plane and fly out to Newfoundland to take a lap on the ice. So, if anyone has an extra plane ticket to Newfoundland… Yeah, didn’t think so! I want to thank Todd Churchill for the interview and also for being an Awesome Dad and human being, along with his entire family. Keep up the great work!

Churchill Rink Night

Cheers!

A Thank You Letter To The National Hockey League

This half finished post had been sitting in my drafts folder since September 20th. I hesitated at the time and figured I’d hold off because I knew that the NHL and the NHLPA would come to a quick agreement and I’d have my hockey back by now.

Fast forward two months and not only is there no hockey, but there is no end in sight to this latest lockout. The fact that I can even refer to this as the “latest” lockout should be enough to make both sides of this debacle, hang their heads in shame. That doesn’t seem to be the case though. The NHL is currently going through its 4th work stoppage in the past 2 decades and this fan, at least, is growing tired of the charade.

While I understand that having your salary cut is not something most people would find an acceptable practice, when your salary is 4.5 million dollars and your job is to entertain fans, you can probably see where the general public would find the lockout to be a tad ridiculous. You might also understand how annoying it is to listen to the childish back and forth banter about how you’ll divide the 3.3 billion dollars in revenue.

Most of you don’t know this about me, although you probably assumed because I am Canadian, but I am one of those crazed lunatic fans that worships his team through the good and the bad times. I have shirts, underwear, socks, hats, signed photos, framed jerseys and a million other NHL products lying around my house. Last week, I wrote about how I’m not very superstitious. That doesn’t apply to my love of hockey.

I have been so frustrated with my team’s play that I have actually walked out of games in disgust, only to sit in my car in the parking lot, listening to the remainder of it. I actually had an argument with my wife over which team our son would be pushed to cheer for, the local team or the team Daddy likes. I’ve even switched clothes midway through a game, to try and jolt my team’s chances. These are certainly not the actions of a sane person, but I can assure you that this is how a lot fans, and even a few friends of mine, react to watching our teams play. I know the die-hard’s see where I’m coming from here.

I won’t even get started on my obsession with hockey pools. When you know your team’s depth chart, down to who would get called up if you lost 5 goalies to injury, it may be time to take a step back!

A funny thing happened yesterday, though. While listening to the local sports radio station talk about the latest snag in negotiations, I started thinking about all the things I’ve accomplished throughout what would have been the first month of the NHL season. Without the NHL, I hadn’t worried about the standings or how my pool teams were doing. I didn’t spend 3 hours doing research because some 15 year old kid in Russia might be the next big thing and could make for a nice sleeper pick.

In fact, I’ve done more of the things that make me happy, as opposed to watching hockey, which usually just stresses me out. I’ve spent way more quality time with my family, I got yard work done, I spent more time writing for this blog and I generally didn’t even notice that anything was missing. It has been an eye opening experience for me and in a way; I have the NHL to thank for it.

So, I’d like to formally thank the NHL and the NHLPA for their continued greed. I feel like my blinders have been lifted and I can now see that my time and money is better served being spent on other things. I know I’m only one fan, but when you start losing the support of the die-hard fans, imagine what the casual fan and especially the American fans are thinking.

Best of luck in digging yourselves out of this mess. I’ll probably still watch some games once they return, it’s not hockey’s fault that you can’t get your shit together. However, I can promise you that I’ll be keeping my wallet in my pocket when it comes to attending games and buying merchandise. I’ll spend that time and money on my family instead, like I should have been doing in the first place.

Cheers!

Soccer Kid

A Father’s Insecurity: What If My Son Hates Sports?

I’ve always been an athletic person. Even in my older, chubbier dad years, I still feel like I can hold my own on a sports field.

I got this from my Dad. In a bittersweet and cruel twist of fate, I lost my father on the same day my wife found out that we were pregnant with our first child. Regrettably, I never got the chance to sit down and talk dad stuff with him. I didn’t get to ask him questions about my youth, or his for that matter and that’s one of those things that you regret as a son and father.

From the young age of 6 and maybe sooner for all I can remember, my dad encouraged me to take part in sport and I gladly obliged. Really by the time I was a teenager, sports was all I knew and I loved the feeling of being able to excel in something that I knew made my dad proud. He didn’t force anything on me, I truly enjoyed the time it afforded us together.

He coached almost every team I ever played on and when we weren’t at the diamond or on the ice, he always made time to ask if there was anything I wanted to work on in my respective disciplines. He went as far as building a rink in our backyard every year and also making a huge net for me to take batting practice in the garage. We grew very close through sports and when I found out that I was going to become a father, I couldn’t help but hope for the same type of result with my son.

Flash Forward to today, my son is almost four years old and is more than ready to start carving his niche in the world. Obviously I would love for that to involve sports but I worry about the prospect of him not wanting anything to do with it. After all, sports is really all I knew growing up, so naturally I have a lot to offer as far as coaching and experience go.

I have also developed a love for music, but as a singer with no formal training and no instrumental skills, there’s really not much I can teach him other than a brief history of rock and roll and what I learned from the Foo Fighters documentary. So that brings us back to sports as my main source of expert knowledge to share with my son.

I’ve started trying to get him into sporty things. I tried to get him to watch hockey with me but without Lightning McQueen or Buzz Lightyear on either team, my efforts fell by the wayside. I still remember the first day he asked me if I wanted to go outside and play hockey, I beamed with joy and shot outside so fast that I forgot to bring him with me. The hockey game lasted 5 minutes before hide and seek became all the rage.

Now we’ve begun soccer lessons and I can’t tell if he enjoys it or not. I know he has fun at it but I wonder if it’s because of the sport aspect or because he has a couple buddies in the class. He’s starting to understand that when the ball or puck goes into the net, he’s done something worth celebrating and while I try to make a big deal out of his goals, I also don’t want to look like one of those crazy parents at a sporting event that makes their kid and themselves look ridiculous.

The point of this article is not to criticize my son on his ability or interest in sports, it’s to shed light on my insecurity that if he decides sports aren’t for him, what do I have to offer him as a father? It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot as a father who doesn’t want to fail his son.

In the end, no matter what he decides his path will be, I am going to be supportive (unless he chooses a life of crime I suppose). I also want to be able to help him grow into the kind of person my father has helped me to become, regardless of his life choices. And I guess I would just feel more confident if that life included something tangible I knew how to teach him, other than life necessities such as using the toilet and brushing his teeth, which my wife and dentist will attest to as being things I’m not even that good at, lol.

Thanks for letting me share a little bit of my inner workings with you. It feels good to put it all down in writing, even if no one reads it. I often wonder if Mom’s struggle with the same insecurities that us Dad’s do? They always seem to have such a level head about everything and look to have it all put together as natural parents. If I had to do half the work my wife does or that my mother did, I think my head would literally explode into tiny pieces.

If you have anything you want to say about this topic, please feel free to leave me a comment below. I check and respond to them all and love hearing from everyone.

Cheers!