Friends but no longer teammates. Awkward or not?

Soccer Friends

It’s been a long grueling tryout process but it’s finally over. The list has been posted and congratulations, your player made the team. But her best buddy didn’t. Bummer, that’s so sad. And wow! Really awkward. So how do you handle it? Here are some things to do, and not to do.

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Books to boost your athlete’s reading skills, plus a giveaway!

As the parent of really active kids, my problem wasn’t getting them moving, but getting them to stop moving. Those idyllic photos of a mom cuddled up with a child reading a book together was not my reality. Our interludes lasted about 30 seconds. It wasn’t that they disliked books or had trouble reading, just that they hadn’t figured out a way to play hockey and read at the same time.

Knowing the importance of reading in brain development and school success, I kept at it. One of the things that really encourages an interest in reading is finding a topic that holds your child’s attention. Not surprisingly, for my kids that tended to be sports books, biographies of sports stars, the sports section of the newspaper, draft day previews, programs from sporting events and Sports Illustrated.

Kris Yankee author photo medSister hockey mom and author Kris Yankee understands this. As a freelance writer and mom to a couple boys, Kris  knows what appeals to kids, especially hockey crazed boys. Her brand new book Cracking the Code: Spreading Rumors takes the lessons of hockey and applies it to the everyday life of middle schooler Toby Karlson. Here’s a summary of the story:

CrackingtheCode cover

When Toby Karlson, aka TK, is at the wrong place at the wrong time, he goes from cool kid to total outcast with just one hip check. Sixth-grade orientation was scary, but TK didn’t realize it would change his life. Now he has to hang out with the smartest and geekiest kid in school, while dodging the school bully and his posse. If TK were on the ice, he’d know exactly what to do. But this is life and not a hockey game. Can TK get his good-guy status back at fifth-grade camp? Read the rest of this entry »


6 good reasons to play a college sport, even if you didn’t get a scholarship

277602_1893054482226_1013949_oDespite the obvious superior gene pool, oodles of natural talent, years of travel teams, weeks of camps, hours and hours of private instruction and a tremendous cash outlay, your kid didn’t get the athletic scholarship you were dreaming of. Well, don’t feel bad. Only about 2 percent of high school athletes actually get an athletic scholarship, and most of them only get a partial scholarship. It doesn’t mean the end of the road for your athlete. Even if there’s not a scholarship involved, there are still plenty of reasons to participate in college athletics.

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That’s no ref, that’s my son!

Every game you go to, in every sport, you hear it. Coaches, parents, and often times players, complaining about the refs. The ref cost us the game. The ref is a homer. The ref just outright sucks. Well, don’t worry, Stripes. I’ve got your back.

Why would I defend the most universally hated people on the sports planet (well, next to this guy)? Not because it’s really just a bunch of whining, which it is, and excuse making, which it is, but because it does a disservice to the coaches, the players, and the refs. That’s right. Here’s why you need to get off big Blue’s back.

VWrefJLA Read the rest of this entry »


10 tips for restaurant dining with teams or first, you confiscate the salt shakers

Team dinnerA time honored youth sports tradition is the whole team dinner outing. Take 15 or so sweaty, hyperactive kids and a bunch of parents who just want to go someplace warm (or cool) and sit down, cram them into a busy, understaffed restaurant and you’ll learn a lot about the make up of your team. Like which parent completely ignores their little sweetheart, who just squirted mustard into a teammate’s drink. Or which parent is rude to serving staff. And which parent you can split a pizza with because they totally hate mushrooms, too.

Team dining can be a lot of fun and a great bonding experience, but it can be disastrous if you don’t know what you’re doing. So, take some advice from The Trophy Mom, survivor of many team dinners, and former truck stop waitress (yes, folks, the sass is legit) before your entourage heads out to dine. Read the rest of this entry »


The Car Cone of Silence

I had a boss who once said that it is every employee’s inalienable right to bitch about their boss. It shouldn’t be held against either party, it doesn’t mean that you don’t buy in to the boss’s system, or you aren’t a team player, or anything like that. It just means that sometimes, your boss cheeses you off and you’ve got to vent. (This is the same boss that gave me a weekend off to attend the USA Hockey Level 4 Coaching Symposium so you know he’s a cool dude.)

The same thing applies to kids. Sometimes, a kid just has to vent– about a coach, about a teammate, about a bad call, a bad play or a bad bounce. And that’s okay. I think we get so caught up in the whole positive parenting, positive attitude thing that sometimes we forget to acknowledge that kids have frustrations, anger and disappointments, and they need a safe place to express those feelings. A place where it’s not directed at a coach, teammate, or official. A place where kids can blow off some steam and know that it won’t go any further, won’t hurt anyone’s feelings, and won’t undermine a coach or a teammate. We have found that place. We call it the Car Cone of Silence. Read the rest of this entry »


Sock it to me! Oh, what to do with all those hockey socks.

If you’ve had a hockey player in the house for any length of time, you are probably in danger of being buried by hockey socks. These innocuous tubes of knit polyester appear to be completely harmless, yet seem to have the reproductive capability of rabbits. Seriously. Hockey socks spontaneously generate in our locker room, appearing in colors unworn by any of our teams, in singles and in pairs, threatening to disrupt the natural ecosystem like so many Asian carp.

As the old saying goes, when life gives you hockey socks, make, uh, make other stuff. Reduce, reuse, recycle, right? With just a little imagination, you’ll find that hockey socks have a multitude of uses that have absolutely nothing to do with hockey or socks. I think it goes without saying that you should wash the socks first, but there, I said it anyway. Here are a few of our favorites: Read the rest of this entry »