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Hockey Dad Tries out for Baseball Dad

BaseballBenchThe pace of baseball is completely foreign to me, the amount of rules stresses me out and my childhood memories of the game are less than glamorous.

But it’s not about me, is it?

It’s about my 6-year-old son who practically floats with excitement just being on the same field as all of his friends. The faces are even mostly the same, they are my hockey kids, only with mitts on their hands and caps on their heads. Their smiles just as I remember them from underneath their helmets. It’s becoming (painfully) clear to me that the sport itself is secondary to my little athlete and is more about playing with his friends.

So here I am, a hockey dad, and my son is playing baseball. Can I be a baseball dad too?

I don’t know the answer to that question yet, but you bet I’m going to try. It’s time that I put my own baseball cap on and get serious about this sport that is in my blood. You see, my grandfather used to scout for the Philadelphia Phillies and wrote a local sports column (I got the writing bug from him at least) called, Strictly Local. So, no more sitting idly by on the sidelines, it’s time for this hockey dad to shower his knowledge upon his son from the sidelines and maybe even teach these baseball coaches a thing or two in the process.

“Keep those knees bent, son. Head up and always be ready.”

Okay, that wasn’t so bad. I think it was even correct. Sure those same things apply in hockey, but nobody needs to know that.

“Great job! Way to swing that stick, er, bat.”

I need to focus a little harder here.

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Posted by on April 15, 2014 in Brad the Dad, Dads Round Table

 

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Spring Training Rules with my Boys

sneakfave“I’m here, guys!”

As if we were unaware of his approach, his feet pretty much rumble the earth.

The 6-year-old and I panted with exertion and took a break from our soccer game to welcomeback the one we like to call, Freight Train. The game started out fine and with all of us playing together, but it didn’t take long for the feisty 3-year-old to take offense to being reminded about not putting his hands on the ball and quickly retreat inside to complain to mommy.

We were both happy when he returned.

He’ll get it eventually, and until then I’ll continue to remind him of the rules, but nor can I ignore the fact that his life has been defined by scratching and clawing for his own in this world and using his hands achieves exactly that by somewhat leveling the playing field with his bigger, faster brother. An older brother who lived a life uncontested for 3 years, a life completely unfamiliar to our 3-year-old. But on the field, their worlds become one and the rules apply equally.

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A Model for a Successful School Fundraiser

TasteBag1Sold out. Again.

Always.

The Center Elementary School PTO of Chelmsford, MA boasts one of the most successful and anticipated events of the year with its Taste of Chelmsford fundraiser. Every year as we head into spring, locals are treated to a night out of socializing, music, prizes, and most importantly, a night of sampling appetizers, main dishes, and desserts of the areas many fine restaurants and caterers.

Not only is this tasting competition a “calender circling” event for many adults, it’s one of the town’s most successful school fundraisers all year and benefits Center School’s enrichment programs.

An adults-only night of friends, community, and sampling great food and drink that raises funds to grow the minds of our children for a mere $25? It’s crystal clear why the event is sold out every year and why this should be a model for any school searching for ideas on how to raise money for their own programs. Raising money for these programs is the most important part of the night, but the added benefits of supporting your local establishments and fostering local pride can’t be overlooked. Your sense of community is stronger when you leave this event than when you enter, and the restaurants and vendors who participate bring their “A” game knowing how big of a shot in the arm this exposure can be for business.

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Posted by on March 20, 2014 in Brad the Dad, Dads Round Table

 

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Top 3 Rules of a Youth Sports Coach

20140308_092804As I turn the page on my first year as a youth sports coach, I’ve started to reflect on what I learned from this experience, which existing rules I want to keep and what new ones I should add to my repertoire.

I learned a lot this year, about myself and about being a coach. About myself in the form of the time commitment, personal dedication, and life balancing it takes to meet the responsibilities I have to my team and the hockey organization that entrusted me with these kids. I know I will always continue to learn more about coaching for as long as I coach, but I have to imagine this first year will go down as one of the more influential ones.

I look back on the way I was with the kids in the beginning by trying to answer every single one of their questions and address every single one of their concerns, to the way I was at the end where my expectations of them were that they did very little besides listen to myself and the other coaches and then apply what we said to the ice. From the way I would remind them that cutting each other in line during drills wasn’t how we did things, to eventually bumping such offenders immediately to the back of the line if they pulled such a stunt. From encouraging them to always have fun first, to encouraging them to always have fun first.

I developed as much as the kids did this year and the following are what I currently consider my top 3 rules as a coach.

1.   Have fun with your teammates

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Posted by on March 14, 2014 in Brad the Dad, Dads Round Table

 

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Why You Should Be a Youth Sports Coach

youthsptsStarting something new and unknown in life can be extremely daunting, but often, just as rewarding.

In the world of youth sports I would watch from the sidelines when my oldest son first started playing organized soccer and think to myself, “I can coach this.”

After that the only question was, “Do I want to coach this?”

Family, work, home. Most of us have them all and most of us struggle on a daily basis to find the balance between them. I’ve gone straight to soccer after work because of a time crunch and have skipped soccer to stay home with our little guy when he was feeling sick. If I was to be a coach, such speed bumps and stutter steps with regards to my attendance would be much less acceptable, if at all. So, at first, I hesitated and decided to prioritize family/work/home over heading the call of volunteering to be a youth sports coach.

A call that currently is loud and nearing the point of desperation.

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Posted by on November 18, 2013 in Brad the Dad, Dads Round Table

 

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The Role of Youth Sports in Raising Children

SoccerShotI can’t say enough about what being active in youth sports is doing for our son.

Still a freshly minted 6-year-old, our oldest recently faced his biggest athletic workload yet with soccer and hockey starting at the same time. Being new to the scene, my wife and I had concerns over whether or not he could handle playing two sports at once. Just last year we made a big decision to send him to kindergarten despite just making the cut-off age and thus the youngest kid in his class (My Kindergarten Son: An Academic Red Shirt), this year we had to decide if we should challenge him further by doubling down on sports.

As with any decision we make, my wife and I always want to do what we believe is best for him while also keeping in mind what he wants to do. We didn’t say, “You’re playing two sports because we’re those crazy parents and sick of all this free time we have on the weekends to chill out and would rather rush you around from field to rink and back again.”

No, that’s not how it went at all.

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Posted by on November 7, 2013 in Brad the Dad, Dads Round Table

 

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Confessions of the Lost

BradTheDadFiction2He wrenched his sword free from his victim’s stomach, vividly watched him slump to the ground and wiped his blade clean on the fallen body.

Falling to his knees, agony getting the best of him, he threw back his head and screamed into the air for what seemed like eternity. Finally, as his ragged lungs gave way to exhaustion, he stopped serenading the dead body in front of him; stopped reliving the regrets of his past. It wasn’t supposed to feel like this, it wasn’t supposed to hurt so much.

He killed because she was a killer. He killed because she said he would never understand her and that was why they couldn’t be together. So, he killed. Again and again and again.

He stared down at the body in front of him and knew that killing wasn’t the answer. No solution to his pain.

She was gone, and nothing was going to bring her back. Nothing.

**********

Standing at the edge of the cliff, her arms spread wide and eyes closed, she felt the wind buffet her hair as she leaned forward ever so slightly.

For a moment, she was gone.

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