Win first place in the trophy re-use category

A selection of trophiesWe live in very real danger of being impaled by a sports trophy. Hockey, baseball, softball and soccer trophies hang out in the house alongside important things like the TV remote and the Waterford pitcher we got as a wedding gift (surprisingly still in one piece). After nixing the idea of adding a trophy wing to the house, we instead moved to cull the herd of gold figurines and got rid of anything that wasn’t a first place finish or individual award. Yet still they lurk in small gangs–on bookshelves, dressers, from closets, the mudroom, the living room–staring expressionlessly, stuck in an unnatural frozen pose, feet moored to a base of plastic.

It kind of creeps me out.

As I have mentioned in the past, I am not the crafty domestic sort. But I am a believer in making something out of nothing and not being wasteful. So after consultation with the winners of these trophies, we are moving to dismantle the collection and put the trophies, or at least parts of them, to good use. Some time spent surfing Pinterest yielded a few doable ideas, and since you probably have a treasure trove of trophies and medals at your house, I’ll post the results of my efforts– successes and failures.

This week, I broke out the craft supplies and got to work on Project #1. We are going to make decorative wine stoppers from trophies. Project #1 involves wine, looks super easy, no sewing involved and I get to use the cordless drill. Seemed like high potential for success and I needed a confidence boost, so that’s why we picked this for the first project. Read the rest of this entry »

Leftover FSA funds? Buy an AED

We are pretty fortunate at our house. For starters, we have health care. Second, our employers give us the option of a Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA) for medical expenses. And third, emergency room visits and trips to the orthopedist were way down this year. A record low — only 8 total — stitches, no broken bones, separated shoulders or sprained MCLs. Yep, it was a pretty good year.

So the good news is a healthy family. The bad news is we have a lot of money left in our FSA this year. And with the restrictions on how that money can be spent, it means we either stock up on heating pads, sunblock and contact solution or we lose that money. Well, even a mom on a mission to wipe out melanoma can only go through so much sunblock. And losing our hard-earned money isn’t an attractive option either. So we came up with another solution.

PhilipsAEDIt wasn’t my idea. The account rep at our FSA provider suggested to my husband that we shop one of those FSA-approved websites, and mentioned that “you could even buy an AED.” Hmmm. What would we do with an AED?

Each year in the United States, 350,000 Americans die suddenly and unexpectedly due to cardiac arrhythmias. Almost 4,000 of them are people under age 35, according to the Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndromes website. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology shows that bystander use of an AED before EMS arrival increases the odds of survival by 80%. I’ll take those odds.

And from the American Red Cross website:

The American Red Cross supports the position that improved training and access to AEDs could save 50,000 lives each year. The Red Cross believes that all Americans should be within four minutes of an AED and someone trained to use it.

So we bought an AED. While part of me thinks it would be cool, it seemed kind of selfish to add it to the Mom Bag and drive around with it in my car. And that’s why we donated it to our high schools, where it’s accessible to over 6,000 people.

We have a secondary school campus that ranges over 305 acres. Three high schools, each with baseball, softball, soccer, football, track, tennis and lacrosse facilities, are spread out over those 305 acres. You aren’t within four minutes of a bathroom in some locations, let alone an AED. Our schools don’t have the money to install an AED every 500 yards. I bet yours don’t, either.

When I contacted the school to see if they were interested in an AED donation, they were thrilled. And when we took it over, we met Barb, who had lost her son due to a sudden heart arrythmia.

Here’s part of the thank you letter we got from Barb.
“I can’t express enough how kind and generous it is of you to donate an AED for the . . . district.  Since our son Mike passed away in March of 1998 from a sudden death heart arrythmia, our family has been involved with the SADS (Sudden Arrythmia Death Support) organization; learning and reaching out to other families who have experienced such a loss . . . . From our family as well as my entire school family, we thank you from the bottoms of our hearts.”
See? Much better than driving around with it in my car.
There are three weeks left in the year. Have you checked the balance in your FSA? An AED might be out of your price range but maybe a business will match your donation. And a decent first aid kit starts at around $30. Do you really need all that sunblock?

Putting YOU at the center

Regular readers will note that they haven’t had much Trophy Mom to read lately.  Sadly, the blog has dropped toward the bottom of the batting order, somewhere between making graduation party decorations and cleaning out the linen closet.

But I’m hoping that will change by the time I complete Day 100 of You @ the Center, a coaching program with Rachel Davis, Ph.D.  The opportunity to take this course came to me through Enlist Moms. I applied, mostly out of desperation, with no real hope of 1) being selected or 2) being able to fit it in to my ridiculous schedule. To my surprise, I was selected, and even though the timing was not so great, I decided that I couldn’t let an opportunity like this pass by. I enrolled, and have just completed week one. Read the rest of this entry »

7 Essential items to pre-pack for sports travel

IMG_1606If your kids play travel sports, that means you are, duh, traveling a lot.  Possibly every weekend during the season, and a slew of other times in between. How many times have you unpacked the suitcase late at night in some godforsaken hotel after driving several hours only to find that you (or your precious future draft pick) have forgotten some fairly essential grooming or hygiene product?

Plenty, I bet.

Read the rest of this entry »

The good, the bad and the stupid: A weekend of youth hockey

team photoA few weekends ago, I willingly monitored 29 Squirt hockey games. It involved about 40 hours of watching other people’s kids play hockey and eating rink food while inhaling Zamboni fumes, but it was mostly fun. In many ways it was a snapshot of everything that is right, and everything that is wrong, in youth sports.

What was right: Read the rest of this entry »

Ed Arnold’s “make it fun, make it fair” approach for youth hockey

Here’s a treat for my readers– a guest post by Ed Arnold, former editor of The Peterborough Examiner, and my personal hockey coach/author hero. One of my more popular posts was the Recommended Reading List for the Thinking Sports Parent, and the first book I mention is Ed’s title, Whose Puck Is It, Anyway?  He’s finishing up a book on his time spent with the Peterborough Petes, an OHL hockey team, that should be out in later this year. Ed and I got hooked up through the magic of the interwebs and he agreed to write a post for the Trophy Mom. I hope you share it with your coaching friends.

By Ed Arnold

Whose Puck Is It, Anyway?Children’s hockey is a strange relationship. We think and talk like we just want to make sure the game is fun for the kids, but then act in different ways.

We all would like to make it fun for the children but then put so many obstacles in their way.

Tyke or hockey for four, five and six year olds is one of the stranger concepts. We want the kids to learn to skate, stickhandle, pass and have fun, but then we put them in games where only the better ones get to skate, stickhandle, pass and have fun.

Read the rest of this entry »

Singing the praises of TeamSnap

teamsnapYou think managing a youth team is hard? Try managing an adult team. As the manager of my women’s hockey team for the last dozen years or so, I have tried various management systems, including the old fashioned paper and email system, eTeamz, hometeamsonline, Sport NGIN, Google groups and Yahoo! Groups. This year, I turned the manager reins over to Krisha, and we moved to a new online team management software and things couldn’t be better. So now, let me sing the praises of TeamSnap.

First, I have to disclose that TeamSnap gave us an account upgrade to the Premium level for free (an $85 value) in exchange for my review. We had already set up our free basic account and were loving the heck out of it, then upgraded and love it even more. Read the rest of this entry »