The Hockey Tournament

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Hockey has become a normal part of life in the Wilson household. We are at practices or games four times a week and I have become incredibly fast at putting equipment on Muppets and tying skates. This past weekend the middle Muppets team hosted a tournament for children under 9. Teams from Saudi, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai came to Doha to compete. This is the second tournament that we have been apart of since joining hockey our first one was with the oldest Muppet in Dubai and since our teams got completely slaughtered in the last one I didn’t really have high expectations for the middle guys team.

We arrived at the rink and we were given our “special passes” to enter the dressing room area. The middle guy was pretty pumped that he was the only one out of his brothers that had one of these passes. The other two Muppets had to sit in the stands while the players got dressed. The teams first game went well and even though we lost 4-0 the kids played hard and had fun. Their next game was in a few hours and I took the kids home for a rest and a snack. I think all of us parents pumped their kids full of sugar because the second game they were on fire and won the game. It was so great to see the middle Muppet smiling from ear to ear as he skated off the ice with his team.

The next morning we had a game bright and early, the game was awesome and at one point our team was winning 5-0. The team they were playing managed to come back and tie the game and in the end we didn’t know if we would be playing for Gold or Bronze. We waiting patiently while the other teams played and by noon we found out the middle Muppets team would be playing in the gold medal game! The locker room was vibrating with excitement before the final game. The middle Muppet smiled at me as I tied up his skates “You know what Mum?” he whispered “Even if we loose this game we still get second place, and we get a medal… all of us get one!” his little eyes sparkled with excitement and he grabbed his stick and made his way on to the ice with his team.

The last game was a nail biter, we scored the first goal and shortly after they scored. For the longest time it was a tied game with so many shots on both teams goals I was feeling the stress for both goalies. Near the end of the game the other team scored 3 goals and we lost 4-1 but man did those kids play hard. The whole rink cheered as medals were handed out to both teams and team pictures were taken. There were no disappointed faces on any of the players, they wore their medals with pride and all chatted happily about the game as they got undressed. When cheers for the coaches were given and goodbyes were said we found the other two Muppets and went for celebratory ice cream.

The four of us sat in the food court a family whos son played on the other team came and sat at the table beside us. The little boy and the middle Muppet acknowledged each other with a slight nod. The middle Muppet smiled at him “Good game” he said “I think the best part is the ice cream afterwards” The other boy laughed and agreed “You guys were really good” he said as he shook the middle guys hand. We sat and chatted with the family for a few more minutes and wished them safe travels. As we made our way to the car the middle guy gave me a big hug and said “Thanks for giving up your weekend to bring me to the hockey tournament, I know that it is a lot of work for you and I am so happy that I got to play” I squeezed him back my heart swelling with pride, it had been a crazy busy weekend and we had to start the week with not much of a break but it was worth it to see him enjoy himself and appreciate being there.

This will not be the last hockey tournament for the middle guy but I am so glad that his first experience was such a good one, even if the best part was the ice cream!

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Three Muppets Skiing 

  
Three new snow suits were purchased, new gloves and ski goggles sat on the kitchen table and three excited muppets waited for our first day of skiing in Bulgaria. 

We have skied two previous years out here and unfortunately our first day skiing has always been the worst. Every year there has been frustrated muppets and husbands, tears and in one case almost divorce. I gently reminded the muppets and myself that we were going to have to practice the first day and remember the skiing skills that we acquired last year. I explained to them that they may not be on the big hill right away and that they would have to listen to their instructor. The three of them remembered their frustration at the beginning of last year and agreed that it was going to take a few days to get back to where they were at the end of last year. 

I decided that this year I would take a lesson with a friend as well. This would keep my husband and I apart for my initial remembering how to ski morning and I was also hoping he could give me a few pointers. Once we got the children in to their lesson my friend and I found our instructor and he asked us to do a run down the small hill to see where we were at skiing wise. The two of us made our way slowly and deliberately down the small but steep slope. At the bottom we met our instructor, he asked both of us how we felt with that run. We both shrugged our shoulders and said we thought it was ok. He smiled and shook his head and then said in his thick Bulgarian accent “You are both not so good skiers, you are doing so many things wrong”. We both laughed and followed him to the nursery slope, he explained that with our skills at that moment taking us to the top of the hill we would only be worried about one thing… getting to the bottom of the hill alive! I told them that was exactly how I felt about skiing at all times!!! During our two hour lesson he showed us a bunch of thing we were doing wrong and how to ski the proper way and at the end we both felt a little bit more confidant in our skiing. 

The afternoon and the following days consisted of the muppets getting more and more confident in their abilities. Everyday they were a little faster, and able to go down a different run. By the time our friends from the UK arrived they were happy to ski from the top of the hill. My abilities on the other hand had not gotten quiet as strong as my children’s. My fear of totally hurting myself held me back and I was always last down to the bottom of the run (like super duper last). I am very thankful they have a father who loves to ski as much as they do and I started to ski on my own and enjoy hot chocolate and my book a little more than the slopes. 

On our last day of skiing the muppets reluctantly put on their snow suits and climbed in to the ski van. All five of us were exhausted and if we hadn’t pre-purchased lift passes I think we would have decided to stay in bed for the morning. When we got up to the hill the muppets did their regular warm up before the instructor came. Once they were going they were happy to be out on the hill. The muppets had their two hour lesson, mummy had her two runs and two hot chocolates and Daddy was able to ski for two hours with friends, the morning was a success and when we stopped for lunch the vote was to do more skiing in the afternoon. As we loaded everyone on the ski lift the muppets talked about going up to the “big hill” they were eager to do a big run with their dad. I on the other hand had some reservations about that run. The previous day it was busy and icy and at the end my legs felt like they were going to fall off. My husband suggested that I follow him and the kids in the big snake line. “Ya mummy, you can just follow us down in the big snake, don’t worry we will take care of you. The middle muppet encouraged me. So I agreed to take the big run with them. 

Right from the start I was behind but just kept going at my own pace. As I passed the middle muppet he said “You are doing great mum just keep going”. I approached the last hill in the run and watch the oldest and middle guy make their way down. The youngest was standing beside me and his father told him to follow me down since he was going to go anther way. Then he changed his wording and told the youngest he should lead me down the hill. The youngest smiled at me and said “Come on Mummy, I will take you down with me.” I followed him slowly down the hill, “Come on this side Mummy, it is easier” he shouted. I followed his lead and we skied together to the bottom of the run. “Good job mummy, you are doing very well” he said with a smile. We met their dad at the chair lift and I decided that I was finished for the day and the four boys went off together and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon skiing. 

Our last day of skiing was as good as our first this year, there were no tantrums, no tears and no divorce papers. The muppets have grown as skiers and are officially incredibly better skiers than their mother and probably will be from this point on. I think that in the future, ski time will be spa time for this princess but we will see. With the encouragement from the three muppets I may give skiing another chance next year! 

Playoff Time

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Everyone knows that the oldest Muppet is hockey crazy, the kid eats, sleeps and breaths the sport. He reads books, watches old hockey games and videos and practices non stop in the house. Our neighbors indulge him with he comes out with crazy hockey facts and if he could have a road hockey game everyday of the week he would. We are on a break in between winter and spring hockey out here and the oldest guy is itching to get back on the ice.

When my in-laws were here for Christmas they brought the oldest two hockey books as a present. He was thrilled since finding something like that in Qatar is next to impossible. Every day he reads this book, memorizes stats and information about players and attempts to quiz me on things that I know, which unfortunately is not a lot.

The other day he came home and finished his homework quickly and started to practice his stick handling in the living room. He told me that he had a great idea but he needed a permanent marker. I grabbed him one from the junk drawer and found him in the dinning area with one of the big water jugs that we don’t use. I continued making dinner and after about a half hour I asked him what he was doing. He sat on the floor with his book in front of him writing on the jug… “I am making the Stanley Cup Mum” he replied “I have to make sure that I have all of the teams that have won the Cup on here” I smiled and nodded and left him to work on his project, because when that boy gets something in his head that is it…  he is going to do it!

Yesterday morning we spoke to my parents on Skype, the oldest and his Papa talked about his hockey training that he was going to go to that morning and his Papa told him that our local team had won a spot in the Stanley Cup play offs. The oldest was thrilled and after he finished talking to Papa he insisted on watching all the hockey highlights. Later that day as we were on our way to pick up the youngest from a birthday party the oldest Muppet asked me if I wanted to hear the names of the teams that had secured a playoff spot. He rambled them off to me and talked about how it was going to be an exciting playoff season listing off facts about each team and talking about players skills.

This morning he came to me with a top for his Stanley Cup and asked me to glue it on the top. When I was finished with my gluing job he stood back and surveyed his work. “Now we are ready for the playoffs Mum” he said smiling.I gave him a high five and tried to think about where I was going to store the giant Stanley Cup!

It looks like the oldest Muppet will bring a little extra hockey madness in our household over the next few months I am sure that he will get his brothers involved this year as well. I think I will be fine until they all start growing play off beards or refuse to wear new underwear once that kind of thing starts to happen this princess will be finding a new place to live during playoff season!

Game One

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The oldest muppet’s first words out of his mouth this morning to me were “Mum don’t forget we are starting games this morning in hockey, we have to be there early so I know which team I am on.” I had not forgotten about this, not only had I set myself a reminder but the oldest muppet hadn’t stopped talking about it all week! He insisted that we get on all the gear at home today so that we could just walk in and get his skates on. After a ten minute car ride where he asked every two minutes what time it was, we arrived at the mall and got the remainder of his gear on.

The oldest got on the ice with his team mates and they separated the group in to teams. Once this was done the coach told each player which line they were on and how the game was going roll. The oldest guy was on the third line and stood buy the door anxiously waiting his turn on the ice. As the first line came off the ice he told them what a good job they had done, and went back to his spot. It was finally his turn, I watched him take his place for the face off and then off he went. His face was full of concentration as he made sure the puck was out of his zone and that he was open if someone wanted to pass to him.

As the game went on and lines changed the coach came up to him, “What is going on out there?” the coach asked “When did you learn to skate like that, your amazing, you don’t skate like that in practice!” The oldest muppet just shrugged “I was just playing” he answered seriously, the coach just laughed and shook his head. The oldest made his way out on the ice again, this time he got the puck on a breakaway! He skated quickly down the ice and shot and scored!! I watched him raise his stick in the air (like the pros do) and then he skated back to his bench to high five (or glove) his teammates. The smile on his face was awesome and even though he completely bailed after he finished the high fives he got up beaming from ear to ear.

The rest of the game went quickly and soon it was time to shake hands with the other team. The team gathered at the end of the ice and piled on top of one another in celebration, they had won the game. As I undid the oldest muppet’s skates his coach came by and told him what a great job he did and how he completely threw off the lines he had created by surprising him with his skating skills. The oldest smiled and told me that he had so much fun and couldn’t wait to tell his dad all about the game.

We walked to the truck with another family and the the oldest and his team mate chatted about the game. The mother (who was from Romania) joked that since we were Canadian that my boys must have come out of the womb with skates on. I laughed and told her that the obsessive hockey gene hadn’t kicked in yet with the other two muppets but was sure it was only a matter of time. I watch every week as the oldest muppet gains more confidence on the ice and with the game. It is awesome to watch him grow in this way, this was game one of many more to come and I am sure he will be talking about it all week 🙂

Hockey Gene

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I grew up around hockey I don’t think that there are many Canadian’s that didn’t. My Dad would take me to the hockey games in our home town, we would watch games with friends on television and kids would play it in the streets all boys in my class growing up played hockey. I did not play hockey unless I was forced to by my cousins or a gym teacher, I was a figure skater, I danced, I attempted T-ball when I was 5 and failed miserably. I am not a sporty person but I have three little muppets who like their father love all sports, so when they want to kick the ball around or need some one to take shots on them I have to pretend I know what I am doing.

The oldest muppets hockey gene kicked in about 6 months ago, I swear there was no warning or even any encouragement he was just suddenly obsessed with hockey. We told him that if he learned to skate that in the fall we would register him for hockey here in Qatar. The boy practiced skating on his roller blades, he played street hockey with the neighborhood kids and when it got too hot to play outside they moved in to my living room. He showed me he was serious about joining hockey this season so while we were in Canada this summer we picked up what he needed for equipment and registered him for the Winter Hockey Season here in Doha. 

Both his father and I were nervous about his first hockey assessment, most boys his age would have been playing since they were five in Canada. The oldest muppets skating had gotten stronger but he had never skated in the equipment before and I didn’t want his ego to be shattered if their were boys his age skating laps around him. Before we set off to the rink my husband gave me  and the oldest a quick lesson in how to put on the hockey equipment, there was going to be times when he wasn’t going to be there so it was something that I needed to have some idea about.
We arrived at the mall and my husband took the two older muppets to get skates on and figure out where we needed to be. When the youngest and I came back from our errands the oldest was already on the ice. He was a little wobbly for the first few minutes but then he started to find his footing. They ran a few drills and I watched as he struggled with a few but for the most part he was keeping up. After an hour of skating they finished and the oldest muppet got off the ice to get changed. I ran over to the Hardee’s and got him a burger and met my husband and the three muppets at the door. I gave the oldest guy a hug and praised him for a job well done. He said that it wasn’t as hard as he thought it was going to be and that he had so much fun.
Once we got home I let the oldest guy have some time to chill out while I got the other two muppets ready for bed. When he was done his shower he came out of the bathroom and gave me a big hug. “I loved tonight so much mom, I want to do hockey all the time… for the whole year, for my whole life” I giggled and told him that I registered him until May and that as long as he is having fun he could play all he likes. He smile a huge smile and crawled in to bed, I tucked him in and kissed his forehead and he cuddled down in to the blankets with his hockey bear.
This will be my first season as a “Hockey Mom” and I know that it will not be my last, I can already see the hockey gene starting to grow in the middle and youngest muppet. We are going to be a hockey family soon enough.