Tag Archives: sports

Life Lessons With Mitch Lesson 251

Lesson 251 AKA “Why You Can’t Have Motivating Sports Talks With a Seven Year Old.”

Scene: I’ve been coaching Little Mitch for the past 3.5 weeks for his first Taekwondo tournament employing many strategies from my wrestling coach and martial arts days.

The-Karate-Kid-Ralph-Machio-and-Pat-Morita-catMitch: “Okay buddy, tournament is 2 days away and this is our last practice. Do you feel ready?”

Little Mitch: “Yeah. I’m ready. I feel good.”

M: “Last drill. Let’s put it all together, let’s spar, offence, defence, the whole thing.”

LM: “Ok.”

M: “The sparring tournament is to 5 points. Right?”

LM: “Uh, I dont know. I guess so.”

M: “It’s to 5 points, okay. That other kid has your 5 points. You need to take those 5 points from the other kid. Those 5 points are yours! I want you to go out there and TAKE your 5 points!!! Whose 5 points is it?!?!?!”

LM: (Blank Stare)….”His? No, mine? No, his, wait, mine…his? mine,? I don’t know his? Uhhh… whose points?”

M: “The other kid has your 5 points. Take it from him. ”

LM: “He has my points? Wait the points are on his chest. I get a point for that right?”

M:”Sigh…You know what? Just go out and have fun, you’ll do fine, you’re ready.”

LM: “Can we order pizza tonight?”

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Thank You Brett Favre For That Damn Interception (Originally Published August 29, 2010)

Dear Little Mitch, 

I can’t believe you’re going to be four years old soon, little man. It seemed like only yesterday we finally got to bring you home after thirty three long days in the hospital. You came to us two months early, you were only 3 lbs 7 oz, roughly the weight of a five pin bowling ball or small frying chicken. 

From the first few days in the hospital you displayed a obstinate single minded tenacity that continues to equally inspire and times frustrate me. When you were in hospital we once watched you struggle to kick off a blanket for forty five minutes. You fell asleep from exhaustion a few times during the fight but eventually you kicked the blanket off and went back to sleep. When you came down with jaundice, the doctors put you under some ultraviolet lights for a few days. They put a blindfold on you to protect your beautiful but underdeveloped brown eyes. We got home later that night and called the hospital to see how you were doing before we went to bed. The night nurse said with a humorous faux frustration, “He keeps pulling the darn blindfold off, we had to tape it to his head!” We got back to the hospital the next morning to see the night nurse fashioned a few straps of medical tape to the sides of the blindfold making it look like an old leatherhead football helmet so you couldn’t pull it down. The night nurse said she had never seen a more determined stubborn baby like that before, as she looked down at you in the incubator your skinny little fingers were still clutching at that blindfold. After that, all the nurses knew you as “the stubborn little fighter.”

You still display that determination, be it wanting to go to the store for candy, not wanting to wear a shirt I picked out for you, or asking for six straight days to have a campout in the living room, once your mind is made, it is set in stone. Don’t ever lose that. 

A week after your birthday you start school. You’re excited and ready to go. I am not. I was not expecting this for another year but as you’ve done since the day you were born you do everything a little bit early, and you continue to surprise me with your abilities. I know you’re ready for school. Somedays, you ask more questions than I know answers to, and I admit at times it does get exhausting. Really, you can only answer so many questions of who has butt holes in our family, I changed the subject after we listed the anuses of mommy, daddy, the cat, Grandma, Pappa H, Nanna, and Pappa P. You have this incredible thirst for knowledge that at times I struggle to quench. Don’t ever stop asking questions.

You’re developing you’re own sense of humour right now and I am loving it. You’re even starting to make your own jokes. “So daddy, one time I was riding my magic jumping bike. I was riding and I was bouncing as high as the light post. One time I jumped so high I hit the light and fell off my bike, and I scraped my nuts!” Premise, setup and punch line, not bad. Right now a lot of your humour revolves around your butt, farting and your testicles. For some comedians that’s their bread and butter, they cultivate an entire career out of that. Don’t ever stop making me laugh.

As a father, there is no greater joy for me than sharing my heroes with you. Since I was your age, Superman was and continues to be my hero. It wasn’t the flying, the strength, or the costume. It was that Superman always inherently knew what to do. He never hesitated, he just knew what was right and did what he needed to do for the better of mankind. It brings me no greater joy than to see you in your Superman pajamas, now faded, pilled and a little too small, jumping off the couch flying. 

My other heroes are my heroes because I learn as much from their victories as I do their failures. Last fall, Sundays became our day. We would get up early and have breakfast. Then, still in our pajamas, we would walk to the corner store to make a two dollar bet on that day’s football games. You would always come home with your own little lotto pencil and blank ticket you scribbled on. We would then spend the morning watching football and doing laundry. Last season my favourite player Brett Favre was having one of his best years in his nineteenth year of football at the age of forty with the Vikings. 

As the season went on he became your favourite player too. The most memorable game to watch with you last season was the Vikings-Saints championship. We cheered together, we laughed together, we yelled at the TV together, we both screamed “No!” when Favre threw that agonizing interception. It was an excruciating loss. Easily one of the most painful sports losses of my life but that’s not what I remember that game for. I remember that you said that it was okay we’ll watch Favre play next Sunday. I explained to you that Favre’s season was done and no one knows if he’ll come back next year. You cried, you were so upset that we might not see Brett Favre play again together. 

The season didn’t matter, the playoff loss didn’t matter, the game didn’t matter, the damn interception didn’t matter. As I held you crying I felt so grateful that I was blessed to share my hero and the gift of that moment with you that my hero gave me. Don’t ever stop believing in your heroes. 

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Broccoli and Carrot Sticks (Originally Published June 10, 2010)

Normally when I sit down to write my weekly entry I have some unifying theory, or at least a semi-coherent idea of what I want to write when I sit down to my laptop. This week? Nope. I got nothing. Drawing a complete blank. Therefore I apologize in advance if there is no over-arcing theme to this weeks entry. I have decided to do a free form jazz thing and write a collection of random bits I’ve come up with lately but couldn’t really work into past entries or there wasn’t enough to the idea to make it into a whole entry, the “also rans” if you will.  I really hate to see these bits go nowhere but thanks for coming out we just can’t use you right now kid, Sheila the receptionist will validate your parking. Think of these snippets as some mental housecleaning. Without further ado I present to you the “The Brown Ribbon for Participation Edition of Mitch Being Honest.”

The other day I was coming home from work and passed by a seniors centre. It was a hot day, nearing 30 degrees Celsius, for my american readers I think that works out to 174 degrees Fahrenheit if my math is correct. Normally  I wouldn’t have thought twice to look twice at the seniors centre I pass on my way home, but for whatever reason my gaze wandered over to the group of seniors outside enjoying the sun. Of the group there were about five or six of the male seniors sitting on lawn chairs, sans shirts.  At this point you’re probably thinking I’m going to go on some rant about being totally grossed out by the visual assault of octogenarian flesh I had to endure. Nope. First thought that occurs to me was “My god, I have the same physique of an eighty year old man…. and I’ve had the same physical shape since I was twelve years old it’s just gotten bigger and taller.  It’s like peering into the past, present and the future at the same time.” My god I’ve become omniscient.

I was talking to my work buddy and we started talking about the soccer. I thought I caught World Cup fever but turns out that 7-11 burrito I had for lunch probably expired sometime during the Clinton administration. Remember when you were a kid and you played soccer? What was the best part? The soccer? The fun? The chance to play outside with all your neighbourhood buddies? Nope. It was the oranges and water at half time. I swear the only time I ever showed any hustle on the field was when the whistle blew for oranges and water at halftime. I don’t know why this was the only part of the game I could get fired up about. It probably had to do with the fact that as a kid and even now as an adult, I have an exceptionally low tolerance for heat and hence hate being outdoors, especially in summer. Then take into consideration I was a slightly overweight, flat footed, TV loving kid who hated running and being sweaty; at the ripe age of thirty two this pretty much hasn’t changed. Well, maybe slightly more body hair. You literally could not have picked a worse sport for me to play, thank you parents. I’m weighing this when I pick your retirement homes. 

The worst was when you would rush of the field just itching to get your hands on that cold water and sweet juicy oranges but there was always that mom who would decide to go maverick and bring dry broccoli and carrot sticks… with no ranch dip. Even at the tender naive age of six you’d be thinking “What the hell is this? Where’s my damn oranges and water woman? Dry broccoli and carrot sticks? I’m out there on the field trying busting my butt to pretend like I’m enjoying this stupid hot sweaty sport, putting out just enough effort to keep my parents from breaking my raisin sized balls and this is what you bring? Fine, fine. Next shift I’m going to pretend my kick will miss the ball and nail your kid square in the tenders, bye bye grandkids.” You know what the best part is when you pull a bait and switch on a kid? The look they give you. The look is a mixture of “What the hell is this?” combined with that look you make when you can’t find that weird smell in your kitchen. 

Really? Broccoli and carrot sticks? This was probably the same mom in the neighbourhood who gave out erasers and mini toothpaste tubes at halloween. What? Huh? Who me? I didn’t egg your house. What do you mean you know it was me? You know of only one native kid in our predominately all white neighbourhood? You saw a native kid egg your house?  You know I’m native? Fine, you caught me, but I’m not sorry. Broccoli, carrot sticks, erasers and mini toothpaste; do you hate children or are you delusional? Wait don’t answer that. Let’s just say I made some mistakes and you made some mistakes, but the important thing to remember is I kicked your kid so hard in the nuts at the soccer game he threw up twice and will probably lose that testicle. Now we could go on all day about who did what to who, and who’s at fault really or we could just agree that next time you’re not going to try to be a hero and just bring us our damn oranges and water.  

All right I lied I managed to find an overarching theme to todays entry. No need to thank me, I’m an idea man, it’s what I do.


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Macgyver Wife (Originally Published June 25, 2010)

Interesting news in the Mitch house this week. After a few months of searching Mrs. Mitch has embarked on a new career at The Home Depot. She loves that home renovation kind of stuff. Anytime she watches television its on the home and garden channel. She’s the handy-woman DIY’er of our household. She put our BBQ together without the instruction booklet and she was drunker than a sorority girl during spring break at the time, without the flashing and vomiting. Frankly I’m totally okay with it. I accepted a few years ago that I have zero mechanical skill, the spatial ability of a drunk chimpanzee with head trauma, and have no inclination to learn hands on DIY crap. Not my thing and never will be. 

Mrs. Mitch kind of gets off on it. She love the whole gender stereotype that we are subverting and will tease me mercilessly about not being able to fix this or that or MacGyver my way around a home project. Usually when she’s busting my chops about not being a handyman I reply one of two standard responses “I don’t need to be a handy-man I went and got a university degree so I could hire someone else to fix it.” Which in itself is a pretty weak counter argument. With my student loan debt load I can’t afford to hire an 8 year old to sweep the snow off my balcony.

My other go to response is “You can’t barely turn off the TV.” Once we had a TV remote that had a power button to turn on the TV, then a separate power button to turn it off, and another separate button you had to push before you hit the power button to turn it off. Who would have thought that cheap Mexican made electronics would have features that make no sense? I think this is the Third World’s passive aggressive way of messing with us. “Hey let’s screw with the gringos. Two, wait…. no…no…no…. lets put three power buttons on the remote.” Not one but three separate buttons you have to use to turn off or on the television. Thank you NAFTA. 

Mrs. Mitch would mash all three until eventually the TV would turn on if at all. If it didn’t turn on she would throw it at me in disgust growling “I hate this stupid remote I’m pushing all the right buttons.” I could relate, nothing worse than  pushing all the right buttons and not turning something on, maybe she just needed a big glass of wine and a Barry White CD. Not that this approach ever worked usually it ended with Mrs. Mitch snoring asleep, empty wine glass in hand on the couch and me watching  late night Girls Gone Wild infomercials. 

There are certain “guy” things I should probably like but I just don’t. I’m not a big fan of gender humour as they are usually based on stereotypes and kind of a lame attempt at humour. I will admit there is probably some truth to most gender stereotypes but lets explore one guy thing I should be into but I’m not.

You know has every family has that one Aunt or Uncle who always feels the need to put on big events and get the whole family together? Well my family has one of those, and for a few years the big event was a family golf tournament. Every year I would get harassing good natured phone calls from uncles, aunts, cousins, family friends, the homeless guy downtown who wears a tinfoil codpiece, and my parents pleading to come to the family golf tournament. “But it will be so much FUN!” they would all plead, saying ‘fun’ like it was spelled with a “PH” and huge inflection at the end like PHHHHuuuuN. I would hold my ground and politely but firmly decline. Golf to me has got to be the worst sport I could possibly imagine.

Let me lay “Mitch’s Golf Theory” on you. I have to spend at least two if not more hours outside in the hot sun with no air conditioning getting sweaty. Then I get to smack a little white ball, that is significantly smaller than my left testicle a couple hundred yards away from myself. Then I go for a long walk in aforementioned hot sun to go search for the little white ball that is more diminutive than my left testicle amongst grass, trees, sand and water. Then I repeat this futile exercise a few more times and move on the next hole to repeat the whole damn thing for another 17 holes. This is fun? How about the next time you are hiking through the woods on a sunny hot day you take your keys and throw them a couple hundred yards away from you, amongst the grass, trees, sand and water. Then if and when you find your keys you throw them again a couple hundred yards away from you and go look for them again for two or three hours and let me know when you get “funned out.” 

That’s “Mitch’s Golf Theory.”

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Deadbeat Sports Dad (Originally Published May 25, 2010)

I am so relieved the Montreal Canadiens were eliminated from the NHL playoffs. Last summer,  after much soul searching and personal reflection I came to a startling life changing conclusion. I hate hockey. At that point the day before the 2009-2010 season began, I hung them up. I retired as a fan. I felt like a grizzled veteran who after fighting one too many battles for too many seasons had nothing left in the tank. The thought that I could have missed a championship season the year I retire as a fan was downright terrifying. 

At one time I loved the game, and was a huge fan. Over time, things between me and hockey were starting to sour. It started a few years ago; I slowly started to watch less and less games a season. If something better was on TV I would watch that justifying it to myself saying “That’s okay I can catch the highlights later.” Then one missed game turned into five, ten and so forth. You know when it’s time to quit watching a sport when you’re not even happy when your team is winning; “sure they won but the power play was pitiful.” 

I didn’t want to admit it to myself my last season as a fan.  I was in denial. I hung in there, kind of like when you’re dating someone and you know that the relationship is over but you’re both too comfortable and lazy to end it so you keep dating about 6 months longer than you should? Sure the sex was still okay but did she need to keep Facebooking her friends during?

What was it?  Where did the love go? How would we work out custody of the kids? Who gets the cabin in Kennebunkport? 

To be honest with you, I’m not really sure. It wasn’t one particular thing it was a myriad of little things. Here they are in no particular order.

Being a sports bigamist was getting to be exhausting. I was juggling two teams in two conferences and it was starting to wear thin. I felt like one of those dudes on Dateline who disappear after a ‘mysterious boating accident’ then turn up in a suburb of Arizona with a new family and when the camera crew comes and blindsides him as he’s getting out of his SUV, he’s half relieved he got caught and half blindsided he got caught. Pretty much the same look I gave Mrs. Mitch years ago gave me when she told me she wanted to get pregnant. 

Having two teams to cheer is great when they are both winning.  It also means having double the chance for disappointment when they are on losing streaks. I call this my “threesome theory.” Sure on paper it sounds titillating and a fantasy come true. Two at once? Imagine the erotic possibilities…. in reality it has a colossal percentage of failure. Not only do you stand the chance of disappointing one woman you double your odds of disappointing two broads at the same time. Wait, I’m still talking about hockey aren’t I?

One of my teams was an eastern conference team meaning that the games started at 5:30 pm. SpongeBob time. You try telling a three and half year old with no anger management skills he can’t watch SpongeBob because Daddy’s got a ten spot riding on the Wings and they got -1.5 spread to cover and see how well that goes over. About as well as saying to your wife “you know…your cousin… she’s kind of hot…now be open minded about what I’m going to propose…”

You know its time to stop watching a sport when you are inexplicably angry and bitchy…when they are winning. “Sure they won, but did you see that pathetic power play? Simply pitiful!” I was getting moodier than a 13 year old girl with self esteem issues every fourth week “Nobody understands me or my team!” as I run upstairs and slam my door and fall on my bed sobbing. 

The hockey season is too long. 82 games time two teams is 164 games a season. Thats too much of anything. It gets tiresome after a while especially at that midpoint of the season where the playoffs are still 4 months away. I just down right got bored. Too much of a good thing can get boring or what I refer to as my “Boring Porno Theory”. You ever watch a porno and your like “Wow this action is hot! That chick is awesome, look at her give that blow-job all she’s got!” Fifteen minutes later, “Is she still doing that blow-job? I’m bored. I’m going to watch Friends reruns.” 

It was suggested to me this playoff season that I could just hop back on the bandwagon. In no good conscience could I do such a deplorable act. It would turn me into the sports equivalent of the Deadbeat Dad. If I started watching hockey again only because my team made the playoffs after not watching it all season, I would be a “Deadbeat Sports Dad.” 

When the government paycheques are rolling in regularly (The team is winning) and a steady supply of Jim Beam is on hand, I would be there tucking you in, acting like your mom is my hot girlfriend, buying brand name cigarettes, pulling you out of school to teach you about the ‘real world’ and taking you to the greyhound track. All would be right with the world.  

Then when the government cheques stop rolling in, the Jim Beam dries up, I would move out because your mom is ‘getting on my nerves’, I would introduce you to my new ‘friend’ Nikkiii with 3 I’s and a bra size that is significantly larger number than her IQ, for some reason I would start calling you “Champ” all the time, I’d raid your piggy bank for cigarette money, and when you ask to come to stay at my place I would stammer “Sorry Champ, this weekend is not good Nikiii’s friend is coming over and she’s really open minded….umm errr I mean I got to work Champ, maybe at Christmas”. 

After all that, you expect me just to jump back on the bandwagon? I don’t think so “Champ.”

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