Tag: basketball

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!

 

 

The 2018 Wrap Up


What up, my dudes! Another year has almost come and gone, and looking back on it, I see that it’s been an interesting one, for real.  Through the many trials, tribulations and experiences (some of which I’ve written about here), I’ve really learned a lot. For example:

– I spent some time behind the scenes, in the audience, and in front of the camera. The TV and film life is cool from a distance, but it isn’t for me.

–  Being excluded sucks, and I’ve tried to remind my kids of this. Hopefully, they aren’t the ones who someday start a club like No Homers.

– From my chaperoning adventure, supervising large groups of kids isn’t my forte.  Yet.

– B’s hoop skills have improved a lot. It’s just a matter of time now before he beats me one on one. When this happens, chances are I’ll cry.  In the meantime, if he’s close to winning, I’ll start faking an injury before the last bucket, so my L isn’t official.

– Fortnite. I don’t get it.

– J’s grown up a lot, too. Reading, for instance.  She started the year as a pretty average reader for her age. She’s gotten a lot better, though, month by month, to the point that she now reads bedtime stories to me, instead of vice versa.

– Speaking of growing, check out her legs in this picture:

It’s from a modeling gig for a catalogue.  I figured that there would be some photoshopping or whatever involved. However, of all the things to digitally enhance, I have no clue why the photographers settled on a six year old girl’s legs. Always expect the unexpected, was my takeaway from that experience.

– We booked a road trip to Lansing last year, in part to see uber baseball prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. About a week before our trip, he got called up to the next minor league level, so we didn’t see him. This season, I bought Toronto Blue Jays tickets in April, for a September game, thinking Vlad would be in Toronto by then.  Then in May, I heard that Vlad was being called up to Buffalo soon, so we made plans to see him there in June.  Before our game, though, he ended up on the injured list, so we missed him again. When September came around, the Jays didn’t call him up to the major leagues, so I didn’t see him there, either.  Conclusion? Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is a unicorn who does not exist.

– Baby Shark.  I don’t get it.

– KJ is a sweet lil dude overall, and hilarious, but the ‘terrible twos’ is still very much a thing. He spent the other day alternating between happily playing and losing his mind because he kept asking for “daddoo back”, and because I’m adult who speaks English, I had no idea what the heck he wanted.  If daddoo back was a physical object, he probably would have  beat me with it.

Not daddoo back, FYI.

– The older I get, the more conservative I get. Take this story, for example, of P.K. Subban, Lindsey Vonn and friends, cliff jumping.

About a week before, no joke, I was in the same spot, same cliff, with some of my friends, who took the same plunge as in this video. Where’s my Instagram evidence, you ask? There is none. I chickened out. Those rocks look painful, yo!

– This Is Us. I don’t get it.

– If someone told you that, in the last twelve months, they hung out at a set where Drake filmed stuff on, saw Drake in concert, dressed up as Drake for Halloween, and In My Feelings was their most played song of 2018, you’d probably say, “Man, that teenager sure is a Drake fan!”.  The fact that I’m actually talking about my thirtysomething year old self probably means that some of you are going to stop reading the rest of this now, out of Drake hate. Anyway, in 2018, I’ve discovered that I apparently really like Aubrey Graham.

– Finally,  I think the most important lesson that was reiterated this year was to not take your family and friends for granted. Like Ferris Bueller said, life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. So enjoy life, and the people in it who make it better.

From my fam to yours, Happy New Year, y’all! See you in 2K19!

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

Recap – Kiss IPF Goodbye Charity Event

Photo courtesy of Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation’s Facebook page.

Incurable disease are the two of the scariest words in the English language. In a perfect world, if you are diagnosed with anything, there would always be an encouraging prognosis for it. We don’t live in a perfect world, though.

I guess that’s why  Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF) resonated with me, when I first found out about it. PF is a rare and fatal lung disease. Per the Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (CPFF)  website, if you have PF, your lung tissue become scarred and thicken. Over time, it spreads, and the lungs lose their ability to function properly, depriving your body of the oxygen it needs. In Canada,  approximately 30000 people are affected with this disease; deaths from it are projected at 5000 per year.

I heard about PF from an unlikely source – NBA player (and fellow Canadian) Nik Stauskas. Nik’s grandmother passed away after a long a battle with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, and he’s been involved with raising awareness for the disease. One of the ways that he did this was by partnering with the CPFF to host the Kiss IPF Goodbye Charity Basketball Event recently . I heard Nik promoting it on a local sports radio station, and decided that B and I should check it out.

Now, truth be told, B was supposed to have a meet and greet with Nik before the event started, including some court time. B was obviously pumped for this, and wanted to show off some of his moves in front of an NBA player. Unfortunately, due to the joys of Toronto traffic, we were late in arriving, and missed out on this opportunity #dadfail. Fortunately, Nik did still give us a few minutes of his time, which redeemed me a bit, in B’s eyes.

B with Sauce Castillo himself.

Now, truth be further told, my real intentions were to treat the event as a learning experience for B.  Being charitable and generous are important traits to instil in a child, and I figured this was a cool way to show B examples of this, while supporting a great cause.

The event itself was a lot of fun. The game featured a mixture of  mainly local celebrities, and people who paid to play, but they all put on an entertaining show. B got super into it, and was impressed with the hops on a couple of the players (as was I).  The Toronto Raptors Dance Pak were even there, to hype up the crowd! The game went to overtime, too, believe it or not, as the participants really stepped up the competitive level late in the proceedings.

In the end, I think a good amount of  money was raised for IPF, and I know a lot more awareness was raised. On a personal level, I think B’s eyes were opened from the experience, which was a positive takeaway from attending.

Hopefully, the organizers were happy with the results, and, hopefully, the momentum can keep building towards finding a cure for PF one day.

For more information, please visit http://cpff.ca.

 

 

 

 

 

A League Of Their Own

Small kids need to be kept active and engaged. This is especially true when they enter toddlerhood. So, as soon as we were able to, we signed B up for as many sports and sport classes as we could. We’ll do the same for J. Gotta get their participaction on, yo!

That's B, playing catcher at a t-Ball game.

That’s B, playing catcher at a T-Ball game.

The first team sport that we signed B up for was soccer. I honestly didn’t know what to expect.  I asked around before he started, and the general consensus that I got was to expect a lot of dandelion picking. I thought that sounded dumb….until about halfway into his first practice, I saw B sitting on the ground, plucking dandelions. This trend has continued throughout the years. Not just at soccer, but into other sports, too. I swear, in the middle of basketball one time, in the middle of winter, he somehow found a flower. Luckily, everyone was right, and other kids do have the same gardening interests. I can’t hate on that. However, I’ve also been around enough games and practices with B to make some other observations.  See, when it comes to sports, I’ve noticed that children tend to fall into one of the following categories:

THE FLIRT

Now, most kids fall into this group. They dutifully show up, and, despite your constant encouragement, spend more time goofing off than actually playing the sport. Then, just when you feel the same way that you felt at the end of the series finale of Dexter (annoyed, frustrated, regretful etc. Or maybe that was just me?), they’ll do something competent out of the blue, like score a goal or hit a nice shot. As a parent, this gets your hopes up, that perhaps your child ‘gets it’ now, and the rest of the season will be more productive…..but then they go right back to goofing off.  Aww, kids. They’re such teases.

THE PRODIGY

This is that naturally gifted, athletically advanced phenom who is waaay better than everyone else, and loves it. The 5 year old who easily goes end to end, and scores 25 goals a game at will. The 4 year old with the killer crossover and picture perfect jump shot. When you watch them, you picture a mini Gretzky/Ronaldo/Lebron…until you hear their parents screaming at them to stop picking their nose and eating it. Regardless, if you happen to have a PRODIGY on your child’s team, force your kid to befriend him or her. Teach them that being in an entourage is a lucrative profession. What? The PRODIGY is clearly going places in their life. One of their childhood buddies needs to drive them there, right?

MR/MS. CONGENIALITY

This kid has the same positive attitude as a prodigy, but lacks any of the required skill. They are the ones you see constantly tripping on their feet, or running head-first into other CONGENIALITIES. Despite their suckiness, they still happily follow instructions, and try real hard. If you have a FLIRT, you might as well point out a CONGENIALITY to them, because they could learn a thing or two about being a good sport.  Actually, that back-fired on us with B, at soccer. He would see the other go-getters raising their hands at whatever the coach asked, so he started doing it, too. Sometimes even before the coach finished his thought. It was like buzzing in for Jeopardy, before Alex Trebek had said the answer.  Anyway, B became that kid who was always the first only one to volunteer to sit off.  Good times, spending my Saturday mornings watching B gleefully sitting on his butt.

THE CRYER

CRYERS are like little walking time bombs. They show up, clinging to their parents. Eventually, they build up some courage to venture out onto their own. But then, something sets them off (ie. the grass is too green, the ice is too cold, the PRODIGY won’t pass to them), and the waterworks start flowing. They then spend the remaining time on the sidelines, quivering messes, clutching mommy or daddy. Until treat time, of course. Then the tears suddenly stop and they’re good to go again.

THE (WRONG) GAMER

This is the child who would much rather be playing anything else. They are probably there against their will, so they act accordingly. The soccer player who hates soccer. The T-ball player who likes to play video games only. You get the idea. They’re the only kid who knows what ‘non-refundable’ means, since their parents are trying to get their money’s worth for the all of the league and equipment costs. A (WRONG) GAMER will exert as little effort as possible and play with a constant scowl on their face, like their mean muggin’.

Yeah, that's the look right there.

Yeah, that’s the look right there.

Unlike the FLIRT, where there is a ray of sunlight behind the screwing around, with a (WRONG) GAMER, sorry mom and dad,  there’s no hope here.  They are also known as a ONE AND DONE, since they won’t be back next season.

THE DANNY ALMONTE

Uh oh! Somebody check the birth certificate!  Whereas a PRODIGY is head and shoulders, skill-wise, above the other kids on the team, a DANNY ALMONTE is literally head and shoulders above them.  Named after the dude who killed it in the Little League World Series one year, but was actually 14 years old, and not 12 like his parents said, they are not necessarily PRODIGIES per se.  They just appear to be bigger and older, which is used to their advantage. This causes you and the other parents mutter to each other about why this kid who is supposed to be six years old is wearing a training bra. Or has a mustache. Or something like that. Nonetheless, until discredited, they are there for the same reason as your child, so you have to be nice to them. It’s not their fault they hit puberty while in pre-school. Unless,  of course, you’re their parent and you did lie about their age. In that case….really? C’mon man.

I think that covers it.

Which category does your child belong in? For me, in my own totally non-biased opinion, B and J are definitely PRODIGIES, no doubt!

What?

They are!

Probably.

I’m accepting resumes for their future entourage members, by the way.  There’s only one job requirement, too – must like dandelions.

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