Archive for May, 2010

How the swine flu changed my life…

Posted on May 14, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Chance or Fate?

There appears to be a fence that runs between these two words.  Some people believe that events occur strictly by Chance.  Those on the other side of the barbed wire believe that Fate has dealt the cards they play with.  As for me?  I’ve always believed that things happen for a reason – although it might be awhile before I understand.  I don’t necessarily feel that events or outcomes are “predetermined”, just that there’s a reason behind them.  

People come in and out of our lives.  Some people are only there for a short time and some stay around longer. Some people we wish we had never met at all.  Sometimes it’s awkward seeing someone you haven’t seen in awhile and with others it’s like you never spent time apart.  It might be that all we needed at that moment was someone to lean on or laugh with…

So what does this have to do with the swine flu?  Let’s go back to last October – October 27 to be exact.  I was taking the boys to get the H1N1 vaccine.  When Jackson got home from school, we loaded up in the truck and headed to the local flu shot clinic.  I didn’t know what to expect and evidently wasn’t thinking clearly – I didn’t bring Zachary’s stroller (you can decide for yourself if this was by Chance or Fate).  We got in line and waited. Jackson chose to sit against the wall towards the front of the line and read while Zachary and I held our spot.

A volunteer came by with forms to fill out.  I got three of them, begged someone for a pen, and was ready to go.  Small problem – I sat Zachary on the floor so I could fill in the appropriate boxes and before I could get three letters down he was gone.  I tried to corral him but to no avail.  There was no way I was going to be able to do this.  I’m mentally kicking myself in the rear for not bringing his stroller.

After several tries and no luck, some stranger asked me if I wanted her to hold my child.  I didn’t bat an eye and handed her my nine month old son.  Thinking back, I’m now wondering if my mothering skills were lacking… Regardless, all the forms got filled out and my dear child did not wander off.  With completed forms in hand and the pen given back to the owner, I’m able to hold my squirming little boy again.

I struck up a conversation with the lady immediately in front of me and the kind stranger who held my boy.  My hopes were to find a program similar to the “Mother’s Day Out” back home.  All I wanted was a few hours once or twice a week that I could call mine. Yeah, Calgary doesn’t have anything like that.  So I asked “The One Who Held My Baby” (I learned she was a student in the nursing program at the University) if there was an Early Childhood Education Dept.  I thought maybe I could stick up some flyers and see if I could find someone to watch Zachary every now and then.

As we made our way through the zig zags (I felt like I was at Six Flags – but no thrilling coaster at the end of this line), I was able to learn quite a bit about “The One Who Held My Baby”.  One bit of information was her name – I could now call her Sarah. We listened to our “training talk” about what to expect from the shot and then got in another line.  Just before the boys and I are sent to our station, Sarah hands me a piece of paper with her email address on it.  “If you ever need someone to watch your kids, I’d be happy to do it.”  Not quite sure what to think of the nice stranger now – did I really let her hold my baby?

After a few weeks  I did email her and asked her to come to dinner so she could meet Brandon and we could “interview” her. I rationalized that this is what I would have done if I had put up a flyer at the school.  This was the point I made to my mom several times until she asked if I was trying to convince her or myself.  Sarah made it to dinner – Brandon didn’t because he was busy surviving his post-apocalyptic scenario that had taken over the city.  We got along well and both boys seemed to like her. Over the course of the evening I learned that she had lots of experience with kids.  I was happy to say I finally found a sitter.

We took her with us in February to Kimberley.  She was going to watch Zachary while the rest of us skied.  We all know how that trip ended.  Anyway, Sarah was so great and helped out after we got back.  She’d not only check on me but would take Zachary downstairs for some food, laughter, and songs.  She’s been great with Jackson as well and tries to spend time with him whenever she’s over.  Now that he’s into rugby, they have something else in common.

So was it Chance or Fate that had me in the flu line on that day at that particular time? I can’t say – nor do I care.  I needed someone in my life at that moment and she was there.  My closest friends are scattered across the globe… Texas, Ohio, Sweden, and now Canada.  Standing in that flu line I never thought that “The One Who Held My Baby” would become family.

To “The One Who Held My Baby”, I’d like to say Happy Birthday.  I’m so glad that we both decided to get vaccinated.

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Chaos still reigns in the rugby universe

Posted on May 10, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

We had two more rugby games on Mother’s Day (which we won).  The whole process is still chaotic, but there are slivers of order appearing here and there.  Chaos in the form of lack of communication is still king.  I tried to find out what time the game was.  The  schedule on the Alberta Junior Rugby site posted that the game was 9-10:30.  So we (along with a few others) showed up at 9. Evidently nobody really pays attention to the schedule.  They try to play at the same time every week.  Coaches showed up about 9:45 and we finally played at 10:30.  It wasn’t too bad waiting – but it was chilly.  There wasn’t enough players to split the team in two so they had to rotate quite a bit.  The coach on the sidelines did a great job of making sure everyone got equal playing time.

Everyone did get a lesson that body checking was not cool in this game.  One of the guys we were playing slammed into our girl player and she went flying. They got a penalty and she got her revenge… the next play she scored.  There was a lot of scrumming going on – but at this age they don’t do anything except get in position.  The team is shaping up nicely.

Jackson did well.  The coaches kept saying that he was one of the forwards. I’m not quite sure what all this entails – my Personal Rugby Encyclopedia had to go spend Mother’s Day with her mom.  I’ll have her explain when she gets back.  I do know that he was the one that threw the ball in from the sidelines during the line out (which they don’t really do at this age).  He’s also a prop in the scrum, but I’m not sure if that has anything to do with being a forward.

The other team had a couple of big kids that were quite hard to take down.  At practice this week we will work on tackling the four “big kids” on our team. Jackson was thrilled to discover that he is considered one of the four.  He can’t wait to get tackled over and over again (I know you can’t see the sarcasm dripping off these words and pooling on the floor – but trust me, it’s there).

Once again Jackson made some tackles, ran with the ball, and got tackled. He almost made a try (score).  He was just over the try line, but couldn’t get the ball on the ground.  I was so excited to get to watch him play.  It was another week for huge smiles after the game.  I still can’t believe that my son is out there in the middle of all the action and getting tackled.  He made the comment that tag rugby (what he played in school at the beginning of the year) was fun, but tackle rugby is A LOT of fun.  He’s having a blast out there.  I’m so proud of him.

My hope is that Order will overthrow Chaos and take control over the rest of the season.  I know that learning and understanding the game will help, as will better communication.  If nothing else – gotta love the view from the fields.

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All is nonsense in the rugby universe…

Posted on May 2, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Jackson finally got to play rugby!  There had been a mix-up with his registration and his name didn’t get put on the team list. They started practicing on April 15th.  He was added the following week but couldn’t practice because of the school play.  The last practice was cancelled because of  snowfall. Not knowing what to expect, we loaded up in the truck and headed off to the game this morning.

With the help of several people we found his team and he was able to join in the warm-up.  Jackson’s rugby experience is two weeks of tag rugby at the beginning of the school year.  Contact rugby is a whole other beast.  The first step was to learn how to tackle someone – and how to fall when someone tackles you!  They worked on passing drills and ran a lot.  His team was so large they split into two groups and we followed his half of the team to the other field for the game.

What did I know about rugby before this?  I always considered it “football without the pads”.  Jackson was so against playing football that I wasn’t sure how he would handle rugby.  I honestly thought he would end up tolerating the next 3 months and jump for joy when the season ended.  I found myself comparing rugby to football today – which is something you shouldn’t do. They are different in every way.  One way is that football makes sense.

Growing up with a football coach for a father I was indoctrinated in the ways of football at an early age. The goal of the game is to get the ball down the field.  How do you do that? Well for starters you pass the ball down the field.  This isn’t the case in rugby. You are only allowed to pass the ball sideways or backwards – which seems counterproductive to me.  I’m also accustomed to the play ending when the player is tackled.  Once again, not the case in rugby.  I’m not really sure when the play ends.

Getting back to Jackson’s game… he did very well.  He got in the mix and tackled people and ran with the ball.  He made some great passes (backwards) and worked to support his team.  Periodically in the game they would scrum.  Thanks to Sarah, my personal rugby encyclopedia, I knew the basics of scrumming – but I still don’t know why you scrum or what determines when.

Scrummingwhen three members of each team, arms locked, line up facing each other.  The player in the middle for each team is the hooker and they try to “hook” the ball with their feet and push it behind them to their teammates.  The players on either side of the hooker are props.  I guess they are there to keep the hooker “propped up” (pure speculation).  Essentially a big game of push and shove occurs until the ball is popped out.

So Jackson was one of the props.  According to Sarah, this is very exciting so I was happy for him.

There’s also what’s called the line-out but it isn’t done at his level.  I really don’t know much about it except you have jumpers and lifters and people are thrown up in the air to catch the ball.  I’ll have to get more information about this later…maybe Sarah can draw stick figures for me.

Scoring – so when someone scores it’s called a try.  Logically it should be a touchdown because once in the in-goal area, the player has to literally touch the ball to the ground before it counts.  I’m not sure how they are scoring Jackson’s age group. Typically the try is worth five points with the extra kick worth two.  In the U12 groups there were no extra point kicks so I’ll have to find out what’s going on.

Jackson team lost the first game.  The score was 4-3 or 20-15 (depending on which scoring system was used).  The kids are getting ready to head out when they are called back.  The field is reserved for another 30 minutes, so why not play again?  Just a short game… yeah, right.  They got to play another full game.

The second game gets underway.  Jackson is still scrumming and tackling and running with the ball.  At halftime he ran over to me and said, “Mom, I made a try!”  My first reaction was “Tried what?”  I quickly realized my faux pas and congratulated him on scoring.  His team got into the groove of passing (backwards) and this game flowed much better.  They won the second game (I have no idea what the score was).

I was completely surprised by Jackson’s thoughts of his time spent in the world of rugby.  His knees didn’t know what hit them. I know they were sore and had grass burns, but he left the fields with a huge smile on his face.  Sarah told me he would either love rugby or hate it.  I think it’s safe to say he loves it.  The rugby bug has bitten and he can’t wait to play again.  So much for “tolerating the season”.  I’m so proud of him for the way he played.  He didn’t hold anything back – he got in there and played the game.

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about Zachary.  He had a blast out at the field.  His only problem was that he really wanted to play in the game.  By the time the second game got started Zachary was working on his own tackling skills.  He took Brandon down time and time again.

All in all it was a wonderful day.  Jackson got to meet his coaches and play some rugby.  I still don’t understand the game, but hopefully I can get a grasp of it soon.  For now it’s complete chaos.  I know that eventually they will have “positions” to play and then maybe – just maybe – they can run “plays” and it will be a little bit more organized.  The game might even start making sense to me… but I’m not gonna hold my breath.

As a side note – I didn’t take my camera today because I wasn’t sure if Jackson would play.  I’ll definitely snap some pictures this week at practice and at the next game.

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