Sports can break your heart

Tonight was a rough one. As I kind of mentioned yesterday, we had to win to make the playoffs. A win would put us finishing in third. Well, we didn’t win. We didn’t lose either. We tied. After regulation AND after five minutes of 3-on-3 sudden death overtime. That left us tied in the standings and because Nanaimo has the season series against, that gave them the first tiebreaker and the playoff spot.

We lost the postseason on a tie game.

Our 10-7-1 record didn’t cut it this year.

And that’s how it goes.

There were a lot of hands shaken and hugs given and I was prepared for the possible end of the season, but I wasn’t really prepared for all the goodbyes.

I’m thankful I got to watch the game – and it was a hell of a game with us tying it up with 4.1 seconds on the clock – surrounded by loved ones. Thanks to my dad, Barb, John, Hillary, Poppy and Grady for coming out and cheering on the Lakers tonight. 🥰

The long road home

We went to Victoria today. It was a beautiful day to take a ferry, barely a cloud in the sky.

We played a game there and it didn’t go as planned. We outscored our opponents 7-3 in the final two periods, but it couldn’t make up for the eight goals we’d spotted them in the first. That’s a big deficit to recover from.

These road trips are long. It takes between thirteen and fourteen hours to complete it in full. No matter, I’ve always really liked them. It gives everyone a chance to be in closed quarters and allows a little extra bonding that you aren’t afforded when everyone is driving their own car to the arena.

Before the game, it’s always a little quiet, a little low-key, a little sedate. Coming back, it can be more festive depending on the results. If you win, the bus can be a veritable party. If you lose, it’s a little quieter. There are beverages, there is pizza.

We’re heading for the ferry now and the sun is getting ready to set. The night is drawing to a close and, with it, the weekend, but we are still a long way from home.

Overall, we had a really nice weekend. On Friday, we got to spend time with friends we hadn’t seen in way too long while eating some pretty decent snacks.

Yesterday, we woke up and when thought about what we should do, we both declared that NOTHING would be the perfect day. A quick trip to the library, Whole Foods and London Drugs for a couple of quick errands and we pointed the car straight for home.

Today, this trip.

How was your weekend? What were the highlights?

Lacrosse is fun

There’s a lot that’s fun about this lacrosse season. The schedule, the guys, the winning.

Photo by Garrett James

In all the years I’ve worked in this sport, I feel comfortable saying that this team is something special. I’m not saying it in the sense that I think they’re going to go undefeated or they’re going to run the table. They’re going to fall down, they’re going to have setbacks. But here’s what I know about this team: they look at and to each other with and for respect, loyalty, brotherhood, and support and they will continue to do so through whatever comes. And that kind of stand up group of guys makes this whole whirlwind of a season a heck of a lot of fun, too.

Knowing this assembly of people – from the players to the support staff to the coaches to the families – has enriched my life and being a part of it is definitely making this a summer to remember. I’m soaking up every moment of it.

NHL Draft in Vancouver

It takes a while to come down after a game. I’m always wired when we get back from the arena – even more so after a win – and it usually takes me a good few hours to shake that off. Even when my body is ready for bed, but mind is still racing. It was after 1am when I finally turned the light off. I’m pretty sure I fell asleep right away.

By 7am we were up again getting dressed and ready for today’s NHL draft downtown at Rogers Arena. We got our morning chores done and slowly made our way out of the house. We grabbed coffee and hopped in the Skytrain. When we arrived the doors were already open and festivities were underway in the plaza.

We meandered through the tents and displays then around both concourses before getting to our seats just before the 10am start.

All the trophies were in the house and on display. This is about only half of them in the picture below. Who knew? Apparently the Stanley Cup was downstairs on the lower level, but we never investigated to confirm that.

The draft floor was exactly what we were expecting, exactly what we’d seen on tv, but the energy was palpable. Tension and excitement were in the air.

We sat down about twenty minutes before the festivities got underway. They gave a ten minute notice for all NHL delegates to be on the floor and then there was a ten minute gap between that time and when the draft began.

This was just around the time that the two big trades were breaking. We knew both PK Subban and Patrick Marleau we’re on the move, but as we sat in our seats, we scoured our phones for bits of news and tweets about where they were going and for what.

We cried when we read Patrick Marleau’s note to Auston Mathews and Mitch Marner.

I love how he says, “Never forget get how good you guys are.” I’m hopeful that he means both in hockey and in life.

See this Instagram post for more break-up sadness.

As teams assembled, we started to recognize people we knew, though, of course, general fans don’t always know the behind-the-scenes folks as well as they know the players and coaching staff.

A few of our sightings today:

  • Kyle Dubas
  • Mike Babcock
  • Alain Vigneault

We could also see how different organizations interacted both internally and with others. Some tables were abuzz with talk and action, others were shrouded in formality. It’s a cultural thing, I’m sure.

It was fun to be in the crowd surrounded by people sporting their team’s colours and for once it wasn’t met with aggression. It reminded me of the fun of fringe World Junior countries play. Everybody was having a good time, supporting their favourite club(s) and cheering for some young kids who were living their lifelong dreams.

Of our two teams, the Leafs picked first and most often. Columbus only had two picks going into day two of the draft and as the clock turned over to them for their first pick, #81, they traded it for two picks later in the fourth round.

Despite the lack of action, we still enjoyed being there. It may sound surprising, but the three minutes allotted to each team don’t feel like that long when you’re watching the last guy whose name was called interacting with his family and loved ones, then making his way down to meet this professional destiny. We’d cheer and look around the arena whenever a pick was made and when we weren’t watching the celebrations, we’d keep an eye on the floor and who was talking to who, who seemed deep into an intense phone call, etc. The tv broadcasts don’t do justice to just how much is actually going on in front of you.

Our picks came and went and we cheered for hundreds of players whose names we hadn’t know before today. We listened to dozens (that may be an exaggeration) of trades that did nothing more than shuffle high round picks around, sometimes between this year and next.

All and all, it was a fun event and I’m really glad we went. I’d definitely go again if the opportunity ever arose. Montreal next June, anyone?

Draft day

While Kevin and I have many differences, we also have a few things in common, too. One of them is a soft spot for joyous events. In particular, draft days.

We’ve been through several together for work purposes in lacrosse, we’ve listened to or watched a few from other sports and tomorrow we’ll attend our first NHL draft in person.

We had to miss the first day (which was only the first round, but also the biggest deal) because we had a lacrosse game tonight. (Lakers won 14-6 – hurrah!) But we’ll be there bright and early tomorrow for rounds two through seven.

What is it about drafts? It’s the opportunity to watch lives change right in front of your eyes. Its witnessing hard work turn into great opportunity. It’s big emotions, high stakes, possibly even some trade action and we can’t wait!

I posted the above picture on Twitter today announcing that we were ready for the draft, but Kevin made a special trip to the Canucks store today and now I’m REALLY ready for the draft tomorrow.

Not sure about draft day emotions? Watch RJ Barrett’s response to being drafted by the Knicks at the end of this video.

So much joy

My friend Allison posted this last night and it perfectly articulated my experience of championships.

This has been a week. A joyful, celebratory, beautiful week. I have loved the excitement and warmth of all of it. It makes me really happy to see the joy on people’s faces and the achievement of a lifetime goal. And lucky us, we got to see it two nights in a row. I’m going to hang onto this good vibe as long as I can.

In more personal news, I won the 50/50 tonight, so more joy AND money.

Was that a game or what?

We got back from work late today and then went on a little walk around the neighbourhood and to pick up groceries. I have to say, this 9pm EST start for Raptors games is highly civilized. Other sports should follow suit.

By the time we’d foraged all our needs, we went back home just in time for the game to start.

I’ll be honest: I have not watched a lick of basketball in years. Probably not since the last time in ages. Sure, we went to a Spurs game in San Antonio (former home of Kawhi Leonard) back in December, but before that, it had probably been at least a decade since the last time Amy and I saw the Blazers together in Portland.

But we made a point of watching tonight. It was a big game full of an even bigger possibility. Sadly, it came down to one point and the Raptors lost. (Sorry if you PVRed it and haven’t had a chance to watch yet.) It was damn exciting, though. And well worth the time.

I’m reluctant to adopt a team because they are “Canada’s” according to some weird nationalistic dictate. In this case, I made a conscious decision to go against my tendency to deny that. There is a lot of good coming out of the country-wide celebration of this team. Viewing parties – “Jurassic Parks” are popping up everywhere and people are joining with their families, friends, neighbours and communities to participate in the revelry. To bring home a championship would be a really meaningful end the to story. Vancouver had the Olympics, Toronto gets this experience.

Of course, the series could be far from over. There are still two possible games to go – only one if the Raptors can pull off a win in California. We’ll be watching!

Who are you cheering for? Why?

The moments before somebody goes on

I get pretty emotional seeing people do things they’re really good at or passionate about. I get doubly emotional if it’s both.

I also cry when I see people supporting other people. Although I’ve been known get choked up during a regular round of applause it’s usually the more intimate moments that hit me hardest.

We watched a documentary on Ronda Rousey tonight and there were a few moments in there that were really touching. The clip of her walking out for the first time, her face beaming, the crowd going crazy. Waterworks. The scenes between her and Natalia backstage made my heart explode with the displays of friendship.

Another thing that hits me really hard is when someone does something that is really challenging for them or that they thought they couldn’t do. An example: a recent episode of Amazing Race when Nicole jumped on that swing line through gorge despite being so fearful that she was actually crying. When she yelled, “I did it!” while riding out the momentum, I was a mess. I’ve even teared up while reliving it now.

So, yeah, I have feelings about people doing work that is important to them and I get really excited about the jump off point. I’ve always said that if I worked in wrestling, I’d want to be the last person who deals with a superstar before they walk through the curtain. Now that I’m back working in lacrosse, my favourite place to be is in the tunnel or on the bench as the players head out onto the floor.

There are two things going on there for me. In one, it’s the tension that comes with heading out to perform and not knowing what’s coming at them. In the other, it’s the overarching support, the bond of the players through whatever is about to come their way. It may sound dumb, but when I hear them saying their own thing, whatever it is, I feel a rush of excitement and camaraderie and intimacy that rarely makes it in front of the cameras.

Fortunately in my role, I get to be really up close and personal with that and it’s been a really fun part of it. As we were talking about it on our way home today, Kevin said, “you really get to see another side of the individuals and the team, don’t you?” He is absolutely right. You can project a lot onto what you can see on the bench or on the floor (ice/field/whatever) but you really have no idea what’s really going on behind the scenes. I feel pretty privileged to be able to witness that.


We watched a lot of TV today (and we don’t even watch Game of Thrones!) Part of it was planned and part of it just kind of happened. It isn’t something we do too often, so it was kind of fun.

The WWE pay per view Money In The Bank was today so that was our big plan for the afternoon. It was fun and it was exciting and I’m not just saying that because my big prediction came true. There were actually fewer disappointing results than normal so that’s a win in my book.

Midway through, I noticed on Twitter that the Raptors game was going into OT so we took a pause and flipped over there for ten minutes of OT (that take more like thirty, of course.) It was edge of your seat basketball and 

We went back and watched MITB and its surprise, not terrible (for once) ending.

Once that was over and done with, we switched over to the final few episodes of Veep. Now, Veep has been one of my favourite shows ever since we started watching it a few years ago. I ADORE Julia Louis-Dreyfus, for one, but the writing is so sharp and so witty and also so tragically brutal.

Veep Season 7, episode 7 photo: Colleen Hayes/HBO

The ending? It was good and complicated and messy and I cried my eyes out for Gary. Honestly. That was an ending that kind of changed the way I felt about all 65 episodes.

And once we got through that, we moved on to Dead To Me. Kevin had heard some good things about it and, though we’ve only watched a few episodes, the stories check out.

Even though we don’t watch Game of Thrones (or so I thought), but I actually have a funny story about it.

Just last week, Kevin called to me in the kitchen saying, “did you hear what happened on Game of Thrones?” To which I replied, “Yeah,yeah. Arya killed the winter king or whatever and…” He screamed back, “don’t tell me spoilers! I was talking about the coffee cup!” Apparently *I* don’t watch it, but he does (although I’m not sure when.) How could I have known he wasn’t talking about what *actually* happened?!?! Come on, man.

And now our brains are fried, but we’re going to watch just one more episode…

What are you watching these days? What are you loving?

Hockey-less nights

They’re back. And I’m sad about it. As exciting as these Conference Finals will be, tonight is a reminder that hockey-less nights are coming, and fast. We’ll get things back on track tomorrow and have a hockey streak going for a little while, but it’s slowly dwindling.

Enjoy it while it lasts, friends. October is a long way away.

Who’ve you got advancing to the Stanley Cup finals? Which has been your favourite series so far?