Tag: blogger

The Kids Are Alright

Even though that they lost, they were all still winners, in the end.

Now, that probably sounds like the ending to some cheesy, cliche sports story. It’s not, though! It’s the beginning to this non-cheesy,  non-cliche sports story. Trust me, it’ll make sense later.

stories about tolerance

 

I don’t know about you, but I worry about what kind of people my children will be, when they’re older. B, in particular can be a handful, to put it mildly.  We try to instil as much as we can, but at the end of the day, it’s on B to accept it or reject it. As such, putting him in the right environments is always a big factor for K and I.  Sports, for example, are perfect, as they expose him to all kinds of life lessons in a structured, fun way.

Luckily, B loves basketball, and he played on a rep team in Hamilton this year. Even more luckily,  the team was comprised of a good group of boys. Sure, skill and talent-wise, they were OK, but everyone got along, and their attitudes were fine.  Off the court, whereas B’s the type who takes goofing around to new levels, I was surprised to see that, when with his team,  he wasn’t any more rambunctious as anyone else (usually).

After an up and down season, the team competed in the provincial championships recently.  The tournament covered a whole weekend, which meant staying out of town in a hotel.  After the first game Friday evening, the team went out to a restaurant for dinner.

While there, some of the boys ended up at the bar area, to watch the Toronto Raptors game on TV, including B. Don’t worry, they weren’t drinking  (they’re 9 years old. C’mon now). Eventually, though, B came running over to K and I, excited. He had worn his warm-up shirt to the restaurant, but now, he just had his jersey on. He told us that he gave away his shirt, to a kid at the bar. Since we had paid for the shirt, as part of his uniform, and B has a track record for silliness, like I mentioned earlier, our immediate reaction was to cut him off, and tell him to go get the shirt back.  He ran back to the bar, and came back to show us that he got it.

I’ll admit to screwing up here, folks. Sometimes, like the Fresh Prince said, parents just don’t understand. After the shirt incident, J went over to snoop on her big bro, and reported back that the boy who the team was hanging with at the bar had a disability (not her words, but I’ll error on the side of vagueness here). Then, we started hearing from B’s teammates that the boy was really excited to be talking to, and chilling with, the team. Then, we heard that B and one of his buddies had given him their shirts, as a token of friendship, and that the boy was super excited about receiving them.  B had come over to explain this, but K and I kiboshed it.

Sigh. Don’t do this.

When B walked by, after we found out about his gesture, we told him that, of course, he could give his shirt to his new friend, if he wanted to.  So he did. He then returned to say that the boy’s mom wanted to know where our games were the next day, as they wanted to come watch. K jotted down the address on a paper, which B delivered. Afterwards, when it was time to go, the mom approached the parents on the team, to say thank you, and compliment the boys.

The next morning, B kept nervously wondering if his new pal would actually show up, with his mom. importance of tolerance in schools As game time neared, I looked around the gym, and didn’t see them, which was disappointing, but understandable. Right before tip-off, though, they walked in! The dude was even rocking B’s warm-up shirt. B broke into a goofy grin, which made me goofily grin, too.  After the game, the team went over to say hi, and give the boy props and stuff, which he was clearly thrilled about.

Needless to say, I was proud that B, unsolicited and unprompted, made a new buddy, not because he was ‘different’, not because it was ‘the right thing to do’, but just…….because.  Maybe that guy will be alright, after all. We could all stand to be more tolerant, accepting and not quick to judge, right?

The only part that sucked was that the team kind of got killed in that game. However…..

Even though that they lost, they were all still winners, in the end.

 

Told ya that it would make sense. Til the next one, later!

 

 

Top 8 WWE Live Moments!

funniest wwe moments

 

World Wrestling Entertainment’s Road To Wrestlemania Tour comes to Toronto this Friday, March 8, and thanks to my friends at the WWE, my family will be attendance for the show! It should be a great way to kick off March Break. As someone who’s been to an event or two over the years, I can tell you that the experiences are always memorable. Like, listicle worthy memorable. Check it out! Here are eight of my top WWE moments, experienced live, in person:

8. The Royal Rumble is one of the biggest shows of the year that the WWE puts on. I actually went to the very first show, in 1988, in my hometown of Hamilton. It also happened to be the first show that I went to. Even more memorably, despite coming from very modest means,  my family somehow had floor seats, just a few rows from the ring!

wwe best moments of all time

A picture that my mom took of the action. Hulk Hogan, wobbly, after Andre The Giant overturned a table on him.

7. While leaving the above event, heading back to our car, I had my first celebrity encounter! We bumped into legendary wrestler Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts and legendary wrestling personality ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund outside of the rear entrance of what was then known as Copps Coliseum. As Jake was my favorite wrestler at the time, little kid me was in awe and starstruck.  They had clearly downed “one too many” beforehand, but were incredibly nice and talked to us for a while. For those not around in the 80s, we couldn’t just bust out our phones, to take a selfie, if we met a star (crazy, eh?), so you’ll have to take my word on this encounter.

6. A couple of years later, I went to a house show with one of my sisters, also in Hamilton. Again, for reasons unknown to me now, we somehow had floor seats, a few rows from the ring. My favorite wrestler at that time, Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart, was scheduled to be on the card. One of his gimmicks was that, during his entrance, he would give his sunglasses to a child who was ringside. Knowing that we would be close, I brought my Bret Hart action figure with me, with the intention of waving it, and drawing Bret’s attention, so I could hopefully score a pair of shades. When the big moment came, and Bret came strutting to the ring, he took off his glasses, looked right at my frantically waving little butt, and headed over. BUT, before he got to me, he saw a kid rocking a Bret Hart shirt, so gave the glasses to that boy, instead. Yo, I didn’t say they were all of these top WWE moments were good moments, peeps.

5.  When attending any event live, the crowd can really add to the experience . Wrestling is no exception to this. The hypest atmosphere of any concert/sport that I’ve been to occurred at the 2006 WWE Unforgiven Pay Per View, in Toronto, during the main event. Local hero Edge versus challenger John Cena, in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match. The crowd was bananas for Edge, and the hatred for Cena was hilariously harsh, so the place was rockin’. When Cena ended up winning, grown men were legit furious. Just a very surreal match, to say the least!

4. 2007. Saturday Night’s Main Event, in Toronto.  Batista’s music hits, followed by his pyro routine. Here’s an example of it, for reference:

Needless to say, it is LOUD! However, I looked over at my buddy…..and he was fast asleep. Slept through the whole thing. I was surprised, but impressed. It takes a special kind of tired to saw logs through that kind of noise explosion.

3. I’ll cheat a bit, as this wasn’t at an official WWE event. However, when a guy like ‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted Dibiase wants to lock you up in his signature move, The Million Dollar Dream, you suck it up and do it! Everyone has a price, right?

best wwe moments

Tie 2. & 1. First times always trump everything, so my top moments are when I took my oldest two oldest kids to their first shows. B a few years ago, to a Smackdown house show, and J, last year, to a WWE NXT show.  We had a good time, and they’re both looking forward to the upcoming Toronto show. At the end of the day, man, that’s what it’s all about – creating memories with your children. Who knows, maybe we’ll add to this list of top WWE moments Friday.

See you at the fights!

 

 

 

 

Top 7 Cruising Songs (According to a One Year Old)

One of the big developments in the ol’ Daddy Realness household these last few months has been the ever improving vocabulary of little KJ. Between the indecipherable baby babble is the odd word or two that you can actually understand. And not only that, but he will use his words to communicate what he wants sometimes, too.

Take music, for example. Before, we would just play whatever, no questions asked. He’s probably heard more random sports talk radio and 1990s hip hop while riding with me than any one year old would care to admit (if they could even admit it).  Nowadays, though, he’ll demand to hear his favorite jams.

Like, loudly demand.

Like loudly, repeatedly demand, to the point that I have to stop listening to Nas’ Illmatic album, or Steve Philips talking about Jacob deGrom’s chances of winning the Cy Young Award, and put on what he wants.

So what does he like, you ask? Well, let me go Ryan Seacrest-mode on you, and count down the hits!

7. Johny Johny Yes Papa (Parents Version) by Cocomelon a.k.a. HA-HA-HA

 

Coming in at number seven is this song from Cocomelon. Basically, the parents keep getting up in the middle of the night to eat junk food, and then lie about it to each other, even after they’re caught. Eventually, their kids wake up and catch them, so they lie to them, too. They all keep laughing about the dishonesty for some reason. Deception is so hilarious? Anyway,  when KJ starts asking for “HA-HA-HA”, it’s time to press play on this song.

6. Roar By Katy Perry a.k.a Ra-Ra

 

Sliding in at number six is this anthem from Katy Perry. J loves this one, and I legit think that KJ only asks me to play it because it reminds him of his sister. I get that, unlike what’s next, at number five.

5. Baby??

Not gonna lie, KJ will frequently request to hear ‘Baby’, but I have no clue what the heck he wants. I end up random shuffling a Spotify playlist, stopping at songs with ‘baby’ in the title. ‘Baby’ by Justin Bieber, ‘Baby Got Back’ by Sir Mix-A-Lot, ‘Baby One More Time’ by Britney Spears etc. Not surprisingly, KJ will continually say no to everything, until he gives up, and asks for something else. Let’s just leave this one here, and keep on keepin’ on up the charts!

 

 

4. Basketball by Lil Bow Wow a.k.a. Ba-ball

Number four is this classic jam (no pun intended) from the artist formerly known as Lil Bow Wow.  Last week, KJ not only wanted to hear it on repeat all the way to daycare, but when I picked him up later, he wanted to hear it on repeat on the way home, too. But really, can you blame him? What one year old child doesn’t love early 2000s NBA references? Oh, nevermind. Let’s see what comes in at number three.

3. Baby Shark by Cocomelon a.k.a. Baby Do-do-do

 

Now this one is a certified banger!  Despite there being a way more viral version of this song, KJ likes this particular one, and this one only. It automatically came on after another Cocomelon video ended, and he was immediately hooked. Truth be told, I had no idea how big a phenomenom Baby Shark was until last week, when I saw Ellen talking about it, on the Ellen Show. Y’all have been doing the goofy shark dance for months now, but no one bothered to fill me in. Thanks, friends. Speaking of viral sensations………

 

In My Feelings By Drake aka Kiki!

Why in the world does a one year old like this Drizzy hit, you ask? I’m guessing it’s because he can say the first lyric (Kiki). Or maybe he just needs a black card and a code to the safe. Maybe he wants me to upload a video of him doing the In My Feelings Challenge. Regardless, this is the one joint here that I don’t mind listening to constantly (clean, radio edited version, of course).   Unlike the number one song on the list.

1. Wheels On the Bus By Cocomelon a.k.a. Bus! Bus!

 

When KJ starts screaming for ‘Bus! Bus!’ then you know it’s about to go down. Cocomelon must have some audio baby hypnosis going on, because he only likes their version of this timeless nursery rhyme, too.  The appeal here are the visuals. Besides a monkey’s naked butt, the video has easy to mimic actions, which KJ does in my car. He’ll give me a big, hokey thumbs up when it comes on, he’ll tell an invisible baby to shush, and so on. No doubt this one is a crowd-pleaser; especially if that crowd doesn’t include me. Nonetheless, its place at the top of the charts is firmly cemented on my drives with KJ.

Until the next countdown, Seacrest…out!

 

 

“Your Kids Shouldn’t Be Walking Around Here!” A.K.A. A CFL Game Experience With The Family

Disclaimer: My friends at The Hamilton Tiger Cats of the Canadian Football League provided my family with complimentary tickets for their first game of the season.  Here are my random musings and thoughts about the experience that night, at Tim Hortons Field:

  • There’s a palpable buzz towards the team lately. Johnny Manziel, the Heisman Trophy winning, former NFL quarterback, has taken his talents north of the border, and is making his “comeback szn” with the Ticats this year!
  • There were a lot of Manziel fans in attendance. Based on the conversations I overheard, there were also people who weren’t even football fans, but came to see what all the fuss was about.
  • Admittedly, I’m a very casual fan myself. J and little K accompanied me that evening , but neither are fans. J’s six years old, so she was happy checking out the stadium and stuffing her face with food. KJ is one and a half. He was happy being anywhere.
  • We spent some time in Stripes’ Jungle, which is a really cool kids area in the stadium. I believe it was introduced last season, but this was new to us. It had a playground, and a face painting spot, while various mascots/team ambassadors were there, too. For little ones who get squirmy or restless during the game, this is a great place to go blow off some steam.

  • The Ticats’ gameday experience has really evolved over the years. It’s not about just buying a ticket to watch the game anymore. It’s also about hanging out, socializing and partying. Check out the stadium map, for example:

As you can see, almost everywhere you turn in the stadium, you’ll encounter a patio or lounge area of some sort.  I’m sure this has helped them attract more of the demographic who are into this type of vibe.

  • Back in the day, when I was a young boy,  I used to go to the odd game. The messed up thing is,  while I don’t remember anything specific about the games, or anything kid-friendly that occurred, I vividly remember incidents in the crowd. Drunk people yelling crude and vulgar things. Drunk people fist-fighting. Drunk people making asses of themselves and being dragged out by police. I honestly don’t know if this was a Hamilton thing, or a CFL football thing, or what the deal was. It wasn’t this extreme at say,  a Toronto Blue Jays game, for example. Regardless, when I had kids, the memories of boorishness and non-family friendliness made the idea of taking them to see the ‘Cats unappealing. Eventually, I did bring B out years ago, and it wasn’t that bad. There was the odd belligerent person, and profanity spewed, but it was better than I expected.
  • My most recent game was fine, too, in that regard, in the seats.  Some people were cussing out the starting QB, because they wanted Manziel to come in. OK, whatever, not a huge deal. However, venturing out of our seats, to say, get food, or go the bathroom, was eye-opening. The concourses had a sports bar-atmosphere to them. Very rowdy, very alcohol-fueled. While fun, if you’re holding hands with two small kids, trying to navigate through it, it’s a bit treacherous. One large,stumbling dude almost trampled KJ, apologized, then yelled at me about it. “Your kids shouldn’t be walking around here!” He said, “There’s a lot of drunk people here!”
  • So, by that logic, if the concourses are boozefests, and almost every corner of the stadium has some lounge or patio, which potentially could also be full of inebriated individuals, the only “safe” place for small kids, then, is the Family Zone?
  • Yo, I’m not saying keep your kids away from Tim Hortons Field. J and KJ both had a great time, and there were lots of other little happy faces in attendance, too. Shoot, one of B’s all-time best memories was when he entered the Ticats’ Halloween costume contest two years ago, as Drake. People that night at the game were going nuts about him, treating him like he was the real Drake. He got to go down to field, be on the big screen, and win a gift card!
  • I’m saying that, in my experiences attending live sports, I’ve encountered some of the most drunken, disorderly fans at Ticats games. I’m sure lots of people go and don’t have any issues.  You get thousands of people together in one setting, looking to have their own version of a good time, well, it’s basically buyer beware, for sure. I’m not complaining; I made the choice to go, right? This is just my observation as a parent, to other parents. Take it for what it’s worth.
  • Moving along,  the Ticats’ all female cheerleaders have been replaced this year with a co-ed “performance” team.  When they weren’t entertaining the crowd with routines on the field, they entertained the crowd throughout the stadium. Their engagement level with the fans was more than the cheerleaders used to be, I think. I saw some of them in Stripes’ Jungle for example,  interacting with everyone there.
  • We didn’t stay for the whole game, as KJ and J both started to get sleepy after halftime. From what I saw, Manziel looked OK playing, for what it’s worth.

That’s all I got. With the Tiger Cats feeling optimistic, and Johnny Football in tow, this definitely has the makings for an interesting season in the Hammer.  Oskee-Wee-Wee!

 

 

 

 

Stolen Cars and Kidnapping Rabbits – An Easter Story

 

In terms of holidays, Easter is definitely on the “Mt. Rushmore of Best Days Of The Year”, for my kids.  Now, how this holiday has evolved from its origins to what it represents today is a thinkpiece subject for a far more intellectually stimulating site than this one. In our house, while Easter is mainly about family, it’s also about the Easter Bunny.  And truth be told,  B and J are all in on believing in that chocolate pimpin’ rabbit!  J believed so much, that she even concocted a harebrained scheme this year. Lemme explain.

It ’twas Easter Eve, and I was doing what any good parent would do – running out to the stores last minute, to buy some chocolate and presents. After scouring the picked over shelves, I did manage to find some decent treats along with some cool cheap gifts. The best one was a toddler sized basketball net that I found in the clearance section, for little KJ.  I also had been scouting the house out for days, looking for awesome spots to hide eggs for an egg hunt (plastic ones that I would fill with candy). So with everything I bought safely hidden in my car, and my mental plan in check, I headed home. All I needed was for B and J to go to bed in a good time.

However, in the week leading up to the big day, J also came up with a plan……

She was going to kidnap the Easter Bunny!

My sentiments exactly.

Now, K and I did try to explain how wrong this was. J was undeterred, though. She just wanted to see him with her own eyes.  As such, I would hear her plotting and scheming ways as to how she was going to get him. She’s been on a Looney Tunes kick lately, so I’m sure she thought capturing the wascally wabbit would be a breeze. To top it off, she even recruited B, to aid and abet in the plan.  After K and I fell asleep,  they were going to go downstairs.  They would “chill out and watch TV”, in B’s words, to wait for the bunny’s arrival.

This plan sucked, quite frankly. I’m all for the kids having fun and keeping the charade alive. However, similar to Christmas, the key is for the kids to be asleep, so the magic can happen. The last thing I wanted was for B and J to sneak up on me as I was setting things up. Thus, the stage was set. Me versus the kids, in a battle to preserve the legend of the Easter Bunny!

I wouldn’t look so smug if I were you, rabbit.

As K and I binge-watched Seven Seconds on Netflix that night, J passed out by 9pm. Unluckily for me, B was wide awake. K got tired around midnight, and headed to bed, at which point B ran in to join her. While the Easter Bunny had probably visited your house hours before, and you were enjoying a good night’s rest, I had even started anything yet. Plus one potential magic-ruining boy was still up.

I figured that B would be asleep soon. If I waited a bit, I could quietly start getting organized. So, eventually,  I grabbed my  keys, went to my car to get my stuff…..

AND MY CAR WAS GONE!!!

I must have looked like the biggest doofus, standing in my driveway for like 5 minutes, dumbfounded.  K had told me earlier that vehicles had been stolen off of our street that week. Apparently mine got taken, too!  What kind of A-hole plays real life Grand Theft Auto on a holiday? I was confused and angry. The kids were going to be bummed out, because the Easter Bunny didn’t come with anything.  Brutal.

I had to break the news about the carjacking to K, and by default B, since he was still awake in our bedroom. B was shocked, but when I told K, guess how she reacted?

With laughter.

April Fool’s!

Yeah, she pranked me, since it was April 1. She thought I would go grab coffee in the morning, so she moved my car around the block that evening, to make it look like a theft. She forgot that I had all of the Easter stuff in my trunk, though.  I can’t lie. It was a funny joke, bad timing aside.

I waited for B to settle before retrieving my car, but then I got to work.  As I put together the eggs in the living room, I heard J’s bed squeak upstairs. Panic immediately set in; I tossed a blanket over the stuff.

Then I heard little footsteps.

Then I heard our bedroom door open.

Then I heard J loudly whispering to B to wake up.

Then I ran upstairs to squash that noise!

I told her that I wasn’t going to bed soon, so she shouldn’t bother trying to be sneaky.

Then she fake slept.

That was good enough for me, so I headed back downstairs.

I still had to set up KJ’s basketball net. I immediately realized why it was on clearance. Picture trying to put together Ikea furniture, but with less instructions, and more hard-to-unpackage, ill-fitting parts, and you get the idea. After fumbling with that for a while, it was now well past 2:00 AM. I tapped out. Instead of an epic egg hunt, I was exhausted, so the hunt consisted of me lazily scattering the eggs in our living room and kitchen. Your dude was then able to settle in for a good night’s rest.

Sike!

B and J woke us up at 6:30am.

However, the day wasn’t about grownups. All three kids were happy with their haul, and the hunt, so that was all that mattered. J’s already vowed to catch the Easter Bunny next Easter, unfortunately.

Stay tuned for the sequel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kids Say The Realest Things

Bill_cosby_1969

 

Remember that show, where Bill Cosby would talk to some lil’ children, and the kids would say the most random things? Sometimes, that stuff was hilarious, just straight jokes. I used to think that the kids must have been actors or something. However, I understand now that, nah, they weren’t actors. Just from talking to B, and then being around other kids (birthday parties, school,  sports etc.  You know,  those places that you probably wouldn’t be around very much if you didn’t have kids that  you had to take there), you realize that children are….random.  Sometimes (OK, a lot of the time), I have no clue WTF B is talking about.  I remember one time, when B was two, almost three years old.  K was at her baseball game, and B wasn’t feeling it when I was telling him that, so we got into an argument about it:

B- ‘Where’s mommy?’

Me- ‘I told you, she’s at a baseball game.’

B- ‘No! She’s at work!!’

Me – ‘What? I never said that. She’s playing baseball.’

B – ‘No! She’s at work!’

Me – ‘No!’

B – ‘ YES!’

Me – ‘Ok ok, she’s at work.’

B – ‘Daddy? Where’s mommy?’

Me – ‘She’s at work!!!’

B – ‘No! She’s playing baseball.’

Me – ‘ARRGH!’

B – ‘Daddy?’

Me – ‘Yes!?’

B – ‘Are you mad?’

Sigh.

No B, I wasn’t mad. Thanks for the Cosby moment, though.

 

 

Bedtime WTF Awards!

 

First post! I will get things poppin’ with an ongoing problem in our house – the bedtime routine.

As a three year old, B was your typical three year old boy. Or so I am told anyway.  Before having kids, I wasn’t really up on how toddlers were.  Getting him to go to bed varies in levels of sucktacularness and ridiculousness each night. The highest level warranted their own awards, which I call the Bedtime WTF Awards. For example, one night, here were the nominees:

1) B is screaming for help. I go to check on him. As I open his door, he sprints by like Usain Bolt, stops on a dime at his bed, grabs a book and flings it across the room like a discus. He then goes “Please get my book, daddy!”

2) Later, B is screaming and banging his door, I check on him again:

B (tears running down his face, sobbing) – ‘Your hair is on my door. Get it.’

I don’t have hair. I fake wipe the door.

B (sobbing more) – ‘No! The other side of the door!’

More fake wiping.

B (voice suddenly normal) – ‘Put the hair in your pocket! Will you put it in the garbage? For the garbage truck? What colour’s the garbage truck?’

3) Later, yet more screaming, I go to his room again:

Me – ‘What’s wrong now?’

B- ‘The cows outside. They’re mooing. The mooing is scaring me!’

Me – ‘We don’t live on a farm. There are no cows outside!’

And the winner is…no one.

The loser? Me……

.stick1

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