, , , , , , , , ,

The people who show up for 6a workouts on weekdays aren’t special, but they are motivated.

Where I sweat, there is a core of about a dozen men and women — give or take — who make it at least four days out of five. Saturday is an optional throw in, but I understand that people with young families need to actually spend time being a dad on weekends. At my age it’s easy to forget the whirl of birthday parties, play dates, minor sports, and general hanging out that comes with that territory.

Monday to Friday has to occasionally suffer the intrusion of early meetings, GO train schedules, work travel, illness and family commitments, late business dinners, and more. No one in our group is being paid to train; everyone has to figure out a way to be there.

It’s commitment, but it’s only a commitment to yourself. No one is going to call if you don’t show up. If you sleep in and don’t train, the only one who loses is you.

Every morning at 5:55a, we sit on the turf, pull on our shoes, stretch out a bit and get ready for Richard to bark commands. In that five minutes, the shorthand of sport parenting kicks in.

“Did he dress last night?”

“Did the trade go through?”

“Where’s your daughter’s tournament?|

“What did the scout say?”

“How’s he making out?”

Many of us in the over-50 bracket have kids still competing in fairly high levels of sport. The men and women in the 35-45 bracket have kids that want to get to have a shot to play college sports.

And so over weeks of grunting and nodding, we learn where everyone’s kids are at, and where they grind it out, and what the goals are.

Richard, the guy who owns the joint and trains us, has also trained many of the kids and knows about the ones he hasn’t trained. It doesn’t take a lot of conversations with him to understand which kids he respects and which ones he sees as poseurs.

Because for him, just like with the adults dragging their asses in a 6a on weekdays, it’s about commitment.

He can talk for a long time about kids he saw with tons and tons of raw talent who got lots of attention and opportunity and ultimately went nowhere because they weren’t willing to do the work.

He gets most excited talking about kids who were underdogs and overlooked and by sheer will, hard work and the force of their own commitment, made it to the next level, whether it was AAA, or junior A, or NCAA or CIS or the pros.

Commitment comes in all shapes and sizes but it boils down to your willingness to endure discomfort to improve yourself. The discomfort might be an editor telling you your writing is lazy and cliché. It might be a supervisor tearing apart a business case you drafted, or a legal brief you intended to submit to court.

Or, it might be when you’re a 50-something guy trying to get fit and your technique is bad and your knees hurt and you occasionally wonder what you’re doing this for a 6a and why you’re eating salads instead of hamburgers and water instead of beer.

The first commitment has to be for yourself.

Start. Endure. Suffer. Push. Improve. Repeat until awesome.

I’m expect to be repeating for a long, long time.

– – –

Our peewee’s play the first actual game of the 2015-16 season tomorrow. Game one is always an adventure but it’s about the kids, not the adults and it has to be fun.

We have had just one actual practice so I expect a bit of a loosey-goosey game, but the other teams are in the same predicament.

A hundred years ago when Howie Meeker was what Don Cherry is today, I interviewed him. In addition to learning that whenever Meeker said “gee whiz” on TV in real life he would swear, I also learned a valuable coaching tip for dealing with kids.

Meeker said his rule was that the practices belonged to the coaches and the games belonged to the kids. That’s another one of those things I never forgot, the point being that it’s a game and it’s supposed to be fun.

Tomorrow will belong to the kids.

– – –

Pad is on a bus to Boston right now. The Dal hockey team is heading to New England for a pair of exhibition games with U-Mass Amherst and Sacred Heart. Text reports suggest the 6a cattle call to load the bus was a very sleepy affair.

Chris is expected to make an appearance at home this weekend. Perhaps because he misses us deeply and enjoys our company, or perhaps because he turns 19 shortly and there will be cake, presents, steak, and someone will do his laundry.

Hard to say which it is. It could go either way.

Laura got home from Nova Scotia at 2a this morning. No, I didn’t go to the airport to get her. I was going to but her flight was pushed back twice and since I had been up since 515a (see the whole commitment thing above) it was probably not a good idea for me to be on the road.

Enjoy your weekend. It’s time to think about turning the furnace on. When did that happen?