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Kids Baseball

He Would Have Loved This

As my kids are growing older and developing into incredible little athletes, I find myself thinking more and more about my dad and how much he would have loved having sporty grandkids. I’m guessing he’d especially love the fact that my son is playing baseball.

I can still remember how our double car garage was set up as a batting cage instead of a place for cars, and while my garage isn’t nearly as large, I still have the batting tee and net set up in much the same way. One of my great sporting regrets is not realizing how good my dad was as a coach and taking our garage lessons more seriously. You’d think watching Canadian national team members come over to hit in our garage, or seeing him coach in the Olympics would have sparked me, but I was simply too lazy to put in the extra effort. That part hasn’t changed much, I guess.

The funny thing is that as much as I told myself that I would blaze my own path with my kids, I seem to be instinctively following in my dad’s footsteps, and that’s not a bad thing. As I helped coach with my son’s baseball team this year, I understood what it was that drew him to coaching. It’s not just that you get to be around your own child to watch them grow into a sport, it’s the rush of helping other kids grow and develop physically, mentally and socially.

The first moment a child thanks you for helping them overcome a hurdle, or a parent tells you that their child raves about how much fun they’re having, you get hooked. I understand now why my dad put in so many hours studying drills and taking coaching courses to better learn the game. The winning was a lot of fun, and we won A LOT, but we had fun as a team even when we lost and we worked harder because we had great coaches.

Baseball Coaches

He may not be around to help me as a father and coach but I know he would have loved this time in his grandkids lives and it gives me motivation to give both my kids and the kids I coach the kind of attention him and his coaching staff gave to us when we were young.

What I am also saying here is that you can expect a slew of sports related posts in the years to come!

Investors Group Stars on Ice Is Back!

Now don’t get me wrong when I say this, but you have no idea how excited I am that we have officially graduated from toddler age performances to live shows that the whole family can enjoy equally. Stars on Ice is exactly that kind of show for our family because it offers something for everybody! Our daughter is a figure skater and can’t wait to see Kurt “Brownie”, as she calls him. Our son, while not so into the skating, loves music and will still dance and sing along to the performances while secretly loving them as well. For my wife, a former skater, and myself, everything about Stars on Ice is fascinating, from the performances to watching the amazement in our children’s eyes.

How can the show not be good when it features the likes of Kurt Brownie (sorry, Kurt, we’re trying to correct her, we promise), Elvis Stojko, Patrick Chan, Scott Moir, Tessa Virtue and so many more?! The Stars on Ice tour kicks off in Halifax on April 28th and closes out in Vancouver on May 18th, so don’t forget to head to the Stars on Ice website to get your tickets today! If you really want the full experience, you can also splurge for Meet & Greet passes!

About Investors Group Stars On Ice

Founded in 1986 by skating icon and Olympic Gold Medallist Scott Hamilton, the Stars on Ice Tour originated in the United States. In 1991, Stars on Ice began to tour Canada and has now played nearly 300 shows in the past 25 years. Past tour performers include Kurt Browning, Jamie Salé & David Pelletier, Kristi Yamaguchi and Elvis Stojko. Investors Group Stars on Ice presented by Lindt is produced by IMG, the global leader in sports, fashion and media. For more information about the tour, visit www.starsonice.ca. Keep in touch with Investors Group Stars on Ice presented by Lindt on Facebook: www.facebook.com/starsonice Instagram: www.instagram.com/starsonice, and on Twitter: twitter.com/starsonice.

Disclosure: My family was provided tickets to this event.

The Tragically Hip

No Dress Rehearsal, This Is Our Life

I spent last night doing the same thing most of Canada was doing, gluing myself to the television to watch Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip play the biggest show of their lives. As with many of my fellow Canadians, The Hip are a staple of our upbringing in this country. They represent every cottage or camping trip we’ve ever been on, they helped us get through break-ups and for those of us who struggled through our English classes, they introduced us to poetry that we would have otherwise never known. In short, they were ours as Canadians and we loved them.

When the band announced that they would tour one last time, the rush for tickets was unlike anything I had ever seen before. The fact that Gord Downie was going to tour after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer was inspiring but I couldn’t have imagined the overwhelming array of emotions I was about to go through. I was fortunate enough to get tickets to the show in Ottawa and can honestly say that I have never heard a louder crowd in my entire life. You could tell by watching Gord in the moments when he wasn’t singing that he was truly humbled by the response from the fans and we were in turn humbled by his passion for his craft. By the way, if you’d like to donate to Gord Downie’s Fund For Brain Cancer Research, as I have already done, you can do so by visiting the Sunnybrook Foundation Page right here!

During their final show in Kingston last night, I told myself that I would be cool in front of the kids while we watched together. As I answered my son’s question about why the concert and the band were so important to me, I uncharacteristically started to choke up and realized that this was not going to be easy to get through. I can’t really explain the emotions I was feeling but I assumed that most others were having the same reaction. I was definitely sad to be losing a Canadian music legend in Gord Downie, but that wasn’t what was hitting me. I think part of it was seeing him up there doing the thing he was most passionate about and giving it everything he had left, knowing it would likely be the last time. It would have been easy to fold up shop when he got the diagnosis but he instead chose to make sure that every ounce of life went lived.

As I watched the tweets and facebook posts stream by, I was overcome with a strong sense of pride in my Canadian heritage and realized that we were taking part in one of the greatest send-offs of all-time. I was proud that Gord decided to unselfishly use his platform to speak for our indigenous community, who have been overlooked for far too long. I laughed as Gord talked about how hard he worked to finally get women to come to the shows, I cried as he let out all of his pain and anger in a stirring rendition of “Grace, Too”, I went through some deep self reflection and I became more inspired than I’ve been in a long time. All this in a span of 3 hours and all thanks to a band. Who knew?

I’d like to say a special thank you to the CBC for setting aside the Olympics and the commercials and the money you could have otherwise made to air this concert for the people and for a band that brought this country together for a night of love and reflection.

And, of course, Thank You to Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip for the music, the years of hard work, for teaching me about perseverance and the importance of nurturing your passion.

A Star In The Making

“It goes by so fast”. Ask any parent something they wish they’d known before having kids and that quote will be in there every single time. It sounds cliché but it’s so very true. One minute you’re teaching them to skate and the next they are skating circles around you. My daughter is no exception to this rule. To put it bluntly, she’s amazing. Every new task she takes on she does it to the fullest of her ability. Can’t do a cartwheel at gymnastics? She’ll do 500 cartwheels in one week until she masters it. In the last two weeks her coaches in gymnastics, dance and figure skating have all come to us to say that our daughter should be in their competitive programs.

While my first reaction to this news was an indescribable sense of pride, the next was one of worry because even forgetting the costs of these programs, there is not enough time in the week for her to possibly compete in multiple competitive sports. I also struggle with the fact that at 6 years old, how much do we really want to put on her plate? When asked what she wanted to do our daughter didn’t hesitate as she made figure skating her top choice. Coming from a life of team sports, this is a whole new adventure for me. Private coaches, booking ice time and not being able to volunteer are all things I will have to get used to but I can’t wait to watch my little girl grow into a beautiful skater and I can guarantee tears the first time I see her doing a routine.

We had the chance to take our daughter to see the Investors Group Stars On Ice show this weekend so she could see what the payoff could be for all the hard work she’s about to put in. While we couldn’t get too many pictures due to the dark lighting during the show, I can assure you that she was dazzled by the skaters and especially the jumps! She may not know who Elvis Stojko, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir or Joannie Rochette are but they definitely captured her attention and made her want to skate even more.

For my wife, who was also a figure skater as a child, having the opportunity to see Kurt Browning skate live for the first time was a dream come true. She posted a short video of Kurt’s performance on Facebook mentioning how exciting it was to watch him skate, and then got a message from a friend who was currently sitting next to Kurt on a plane heading out of Ottawa. The friend said that Kurt had just watched her whole video because it was a new routine and he’d never seen himself doing it yet. Then he shared this picture…

Kurt Browning

Kurt Browning giving my wife a thumbs up!

Needless to say, my wife hasn’t been this excited since the time Jann Arden called her on her birthday. It was a perfect way to cap off an amazing Stars On Ice show! After seeing the smiles on my two favourite ladies faces after the show it is impossible for me to not recommend that you check it out with your family. It is especially great if you have young figure skaters in your house. For more information on upcoming shows and tickets you can check out the Stars On Ice website. Oh, and Kurt, if you ever want to talk fatherhood, I’d be happy to conduct that interview (insert winky face here). I promise not to let my wife hijack the call…

About Investors Group Stars On Ice

Founded in 1986 by skating icon and Olympic Gold Medallist Scott Hamilton, the Stars on Ice Tour originated in the United States. In 1991, Stars on Ice began to tour Canada and has now played nearly 300 shows in the past 25 years. Past tour performers include Kurt Browning, Jamie Salé & David Pelletier, Kristi Yamaguchi and Elvis Stojko. Investors Group Stars on Ice presented by Lindt is produced by IMG, the global leader in sports, fashion and media. For more information about the tour, visit www.starsonice.ca. Keep in touch with Investors Group Stars on Ice presented by Lindt on Facebook: www.facebook.com/starsonice Instagram: www.instagram.com/starsonice, and on Twitter: twitter.com/starsonice.

Disclosure: My family was provided tickets to this event.

Harlem Globetrotters

Win A Family 4 Pack To See The Harlem Globetrotters! {Ottawa}

Anyone who’s been reading this blog long enough knows that my family has built a special bond with the Harlem Globetrotters. From playing Candy Land with them to having Zeus come to our house to shoot around with the neighbourhood kids, we love everything about the Globetrotters and the live show is the best!

Well, the world famous Harlem Globetrotters, who are celebrating 90 years of providing smiles, sportsmanship and service to millions of people worldwide, are bringing their unrivaled family show back to Ottawa’s Canadian Tire Centre on Sunday, April 10, at 3 p.m. and we hope you can join us for the show!

Special Promo Code just for you!

Click here and refer to promo code FAMFUN or visit the Canadian Tire Centre box office to save 25%^ on tickets to see the Harlem Globetrotters on Sunday, April 10.

Tickets start as low as $16 for this one-of-a-kind show that continues to thrill fans of all ages. To purchase courtside or VIP seats, please visit www.CapitalTickets.ca, call 613-599-FANS (3267) or visit the Canadian Tire Centre box office.

^This offer is not valid for courtside or VIP seats.

Win Your Way To The Show!

As mentioned above, I am giving away a family 4 pack of tickets to the show, which takes place April 10th at 3pm at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa! All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below letting me know who you will bring to the show! I will draw a winner at 5pm on April 6th. Good luck!

I’ll leave you with a video of the time I challenged Buckets Blakes to a duel, and paid the price for it…

Congrats to our winner, Angelo M!

Disney on Ice Ottawa Frozen

Disney on Ice Brings Frozen to Ottawa! {Plus Giveaway!}

Disney on Ice Ottawa Frozen

Over the years I have been fortunate enough to get a first-hand look at what goes on behind the scenes at Disney on Ice and those experiences have given me a new appreciation for the show. Hearing from the skaters how much work they put in and how much they love making the kids smile is exactly the reason why we continue to attend the show year after year.

Admittedly, we are a bit more excited for this year’s Disney on Ice show because for the first time, Ottawa will get the chance to see Anna, Elsa and Olaf from Frozen take to the ice at Canadian Tire Centre! We haven’t actually told the kids yet because we think it’ll be a cool surprise when they come flying out from behind the curtain. And yes, I am probably just as excited as the kids will be. So what?!

Well, what are you waiting for? Grab your Mickey ears and get ready for the ultimate Disney experience as Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic! Besides seeing their favourite Frozen characters, your kids will also get to enjoy a cast of more than 50 characters, with Mouse-ter of Ceremonies Mickey Mouse, sweetheart Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and Disney Princesses including Cinderella, Rapunzel, Ariel, Snow White and Tiana!

Show Dates and Times

Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic will perform nine shows at Canadian Tire Centre over the course of five days from Wednesday, Feb. 24, to Sunday, Feb. 28, as follows:

Wednesday, Feb. 24 – 7 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 25 – 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 26 – 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 27 – 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 28 – 11 a.m. and a 3 p.m. French performance

Ticket information

Tickets for Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic can be purchased by visiting www.CapitalTickets.ca, by phone at 613-599-FANS (3267) or 1-877-788-FANS (3267); in person at each of the 10 participating Canadian Tire stores in Ottawa as well as the store in Perth, The Sens Store at Carlingwood Mall and Place d’Orléans, any Ottawa Sports Experts location, Les Galeries de Hull and at the Canadian Tire Centre box office.

Tickets are $15, $23, $32, $52 and $72 (rinkside seats) for all shows. All children’s tickets (age 2-12; limit of four per full-price adult ticket) for the 7 p.m. show on Wednesday, Feb. 24, Thursday, Feb. 25, and Saturday, Feb. 27, are only $12 (excluding rinkside and VIP seats; additional restrictions may apply).

Giveaway

Okay Ottawa, I’m going to send one lucky reader off to the show by giving away four (4) 100-level tickets for the Wednesday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m. show! All you have to do to win is leave a comment on this post letting me know which character you or your child is most excited to see at Disney on Ice and I’ll select a winner on February 14th. Good Luck!!

Marriott Rewards NBA

Marriott & NBA Team Up For 2015-2016 NBA Global Games

I have been a sports fan all my life and have had the opportunity to attend a handful of NFL, NHL & MLB games in that time. One of the sports I have never had a chance to see live is the NBA but that is all about to change! Marriott is teaming up with the NBA as the Official Hotel Partner of the 2015-2016 NBA Global Games and will be rewarding its loyalty members with exclusive access to NBA games and events in Canada.

I signed up for the Marriott Rewards program a few years ago while attending the Dad 2.0 Summit at the JW Marriott New Orleans and have been enjoying the benefits ever since. Marriott Rewards is a frequent traveler program that rewards exclusive membership privileges when members travel, as well as a choice of frequent flyer miles in preferred airline program, or points toward free vacations. Delta Privilege joined Marriott Rewards earlier this year.

Marriott Around The World

Later this week I will be heading to the Canadian Tire Centre here in Ottawa to watch the Toronto Raptors take on the Minnesota Timberwolves (feat. Canadian phenom Andrew Wiggins) in pre-season action and thanks to Marriott Rewards I will also get to enjoy a private meet-and-greet with NBA legend Chauncey Billups! To say I am excited about this would be a huge understatement.

If you do any kind of travelling you should definitely check out the Marriott Rewards program. Also coming soon, members can look for the opportunity to enter in an upcoming elite #AroundTheWorld sweepstakes for an once-in-a-lifetime chance to win a trip and tickets to an upcoming NBA global event! Keep your eyes on the @MarriottRewards Twitter account and the Canadian Delta social channels for more info.

Disclosure: I received tickets to the Raptors game in exchange for this post, which was offered to me as a Marriott Rewards member.

Inside Out Disney Pixar

Win Passes To The Ottawa Screening Of Disney Pixar’s Inside Out!

I don’t know about your family but my kids and I are extremely excited about the new Disney Pixar movie, Inside Out! We’ll be heading to a special screening of the movie on June 17th and I want you to be there too! Disney has given me a family 4 pack of tickets to giveaway to one of my Ottawa area readers and entering couldn’t be easier!

Simply leave a comment below and let me know what your family’s favourite Disney movie is and I’ll draw a winner’s name on June 14th! Easy, right?! Now, check out the trailer and description below so you can get even more excited about Inside Out!

INSIDE OUT

Do you ever look at someone and wonder what is going on inside their head? Disney•Pixar’s original new film “Inside Out” ventures inside the mind to find out.

Based in Headquarters, the control center inside 11-year-old Riley’s mind, five Emotions are hard at work, led by lighthearted optimist Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), whose mission is to make sure Riley stays happy. Fear (voice of Bill Hader) heads up safety, Anger (voice of Lewis Black) ensures all is fair and Disgust (voice of Mindy Kaling) prevents Riley from getting poisoned—both physically and socially. Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith) isn’t exactly sure what her role is, and frankly, neither is anyone else.

When Riley’s family relocates to a scary new city, the Emotions are on the job, eager to help guide her through the difficult transition. But when Joy and Sadness are inadvertently swept into the far reaches of Riley’s mind—taking some of her core memories with them—Fear, Anger and Disgust are left reluctantly in charge. Joy and Sadness must venture through unfamiliar places—Long Term Memory, Imagination Land, Abstract Thought and Dream Productions—in a desperate effort to get back to Headquarters, and Riley.

Directed by Academy Award® winner Pete Docter (“Monsters, Inc.”, “Up”), produced by Jonas Rivera, p.g.a. (“Up”) and featuring an original score by Michael Giacchino (“The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille,” “Up”), Disney•Pixar’s “Inside Out” opens in theatres on June 19, 2015.

Disney On Ice Worlds Of Fantasy

Win 4 Tickets To Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Fantasy {Ottawa}

Disney on Ice has been a staple event in our house since we’ve had kids. I have to admit that while the skaters are all extremely talented and the show quality is second to none, I get the most joy out of watching my children’s faces throughout the show. You can see the “Disney magic” in their eyes as they shout out the names of the characters as they pour out onto the ice.

Disney on Ice’s Worlds of Fantasy show will be hitting the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa from February 25th to March 1st and I want your family to be there! With the help of Canadian Tire Centre and Feld Entertainment, I am giving away a 4 pack of tickets to the February 25th show, so you can experience the magic yourself. All you have to do is enter using the form below and a winner will be chosen on February 15th. Easy as that!

Don’t want to wait to win tickets? No worries, you can buy your tickets by visiting www.CapitalTickets.ca, by phone at 613-599-FANS (3267) or 1-877-788-FANS (3267). Here is a little more info on the show:

Rev up for non-stop fun Wednesday, Feb. 25, through Sunday, March 1, at Canadian Tire Centre with four of your favourite Disney stories at Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Fantasy. Thrill to high-speed stunts as Lightning McQueen, Mater and the crew of Disney/Pixar’s Cars race across the ice. Dive into The Little Mermaid’s enchanting undersea kingdom and enter the mystical world of Pixie Hollow with Tinker Bell and the Disney Fairies as they reveal the magic that lies within. The toys are back in town with heroic action when Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Jessie and the Toy Story gang escape from the rambunctious tots of Sunnyside Daycare and race for home, in their most daring adventure ever!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sid Science Kid Centrepointe Ottawa

Win 4 Tickets To See Sid The Science Kid LIVE At The Centrepointe Theatre

I’m just going to say it. Watching children’s television can get boring for parents at times. It always feels like the same episode is on repeat for days even if the kids don’t notice. It wasn’t until we starting getting out to some of the TV shows Live performances that I developed an appreciation for what the kids were seeing in them.

It will be no different when Jim Henson’s Sid the Science Kid LIVE! show comes to Centrepointe Theatre in Ottawa on Nov 15th! My kids have been watching Sid for a long time now and I love how it mixes education and music together. Here is a brief overview of the show, followed by a great giveaway from Centrepointe Theatre!

Sid the Science Kid comes to life in this incredible live stage experience! Kids and parents alike will be thrilled as Sid, May, Gabriela and Gerald come to town to discover the excitement and curiosities of the world around them. With wonders to discover, Sid and his friends set off on a day of excitement and adventure, as they explore their five senses through fun games and experiments and by asking curious questions and finding fascinating answers. Teacher Susie is also along to keep the music flowing as the kids explore the world around them with audience interactive activities, cooperative problem solving and plenty of laughs to go around. There is even a surprise sixth sense revealed by Teacher Susie.

Win Tickets To The Show!

If you would like to win 4 tickets to see the Sid the Science Kid LIVE show, leave a comment below and let me know what your child’s favourite TV show is. I’ll pick a winner on October 29th. Good Luck!