A Small Holiday Sacrifice

Well it is that time of year again, trees are decorated, houses are covered in lights, and children everywhere are struggling to contain their excitement.  Of course I am talking about the holiday season and the eventual visit from everyone’s favorite man in red.  This is probably one of my favorite times of the year and this year will be no different.  Friends that I haven’t seen in a long time will be around, drinks will be had (responsibly of course), there will be plenty of visitors and visiting, and of course there will be gifts!!


Over the years one thing that I have noticed and have been guilty of myself is going overboard on the Christmas shopping and over the years I have noticed something.  I have a lot of toys that may have been used for a couple of days (maybe weeks) and then never used again.  Both us parents and Santa give our kids so much stuff that in a lot of cases it isn’t even used, and all the while there are families out there that don’t have the ability to do this.  The saddest part of all is that there are some children out there that may not have anything under the tree.  I have thought about this a lot recently and as I have been preparing to get my shopping done (those who know me know full well I haven’t started yet) an idea came to me.  This year I am not going to buy as many presents as I have done before, both for myself and for my kids, yes the kids are going to get plenty of toys, clothes, etc, but I am not going to go overboard with it.  This year I am just going to buy them the key things that they want and a few odds and ends and that will be it.


Am I the worst dad in the world for doing this?  I prefer to think I am not, I like to think that I am giving the kids what they want and no matter what they are going to have the same excitement opening their presents this year and if there are a few less they won’t even notice.  What I am going to do this year is what I encourage everyone to do, go and buy an unwrapped gift or two and donate it.  Toy Mountain is a great cause and they are going to make sure that as many children as possible are going to wake up on Christmas morning and see a gift under the tree for them.  I have heard so much about this cause lately and some friends of mine have been heavily involved with it and I think that my little sacrifice in my own house is well worth it if it can put a smile on another child’s face.  As my children get older and we continue this tradition I think they won’t mind a little sacrifice as well.


So this holiday season when you are out in the madness that is your local Toys r Us or Walmart trying to get your shopping done.  Why not take one of those toys that  you are going to bring home only to see it packed away in your basement sometime in January and give it to the fine people at Toy Mountain.  Something tells me the feeling that you will get doing that will feel just as good.


Happy Holidays!!


All the best


The NHL Lockout and Divorce

So as most of you all know we are in a state of crisis when it comes to the NHL and the NHLPA.  These two sides can’t seem to agree and of course we the fans of hockey are not getting to see our favorite teams and players play the game we all love so dearly.  Now normally I have dedicated this blog to stories of being a parent and my experiences in life, so to write something about the NHL Lock Out is not something most people would expect to see but they actually are related and I will get to that now.


Sometimes when couples go through a divorce or separation things will turn quite nasty, especially when lawyers, mediators, and other people get involved.  Throughout this process pride, stubbornness, and sometimes anger end up leading the way and certain things are forgotten.  When divorce happens there are so many emotions that can get in the way of progress that some of the most important people involved get forgotten in the shuffle.  Of course I am referring to the children, most of the time in negotiations they can be used as pawns, they can be completely forgotten, or they can simply be treated as assets.  Is this right?  Is it fair?  Both answers are a very big NO, but for some reason it happens.


So today as I followed the ups and downs of the NHL and NHLPA negotiations and went from an excited “This could be it!!  Hockey could be coming back!!” to a completely devastated “Nope, no progress!!  The season is probably lost!!” a thought came to me.  We the fans of the NHL are the children and the NHL and the NHLPA are the fighting parents!!


Think about it, both parties are guilty of using us as pawns by playing the PR game.  They leak information to get us excited and want to take their side.  They use social media and tell us how they care about us and how they want to get a deal done only to go into a negotiating session and come out with no progress.  Sounds like one parent trying to sway a child to want to side with them over the other parent doesn’t it!!


They treat us like an asset, they assume that the 3.3 Billion Dollars of Hockey Related Revenue is going to stay at the number and only grow.  It seems like they expect us to simply come back and sellout arenas, they can continue to take our money and we are just going to automatically come back like nothing happened.  They claim to care about us but in reality we are simply the revenue that they are so desperately fighting for.  Again, two parents fighting over money and assets that simply think that all this battling will have no impact on their kids at all.


Many of us will agree to this point, both parties are guilty of completely forgetting about who got them to where they are right now.  Who’s income has help build this league and game into the great sport that it is now.  They have left us the fans out of the picture completely, they don’t want to hear what we have to say, and even if they did listen to us they wouldn’t take what we have to say into account in their negotiations.  Again the forgotten children of divorce have to simply wait and see what happens and have absolutely nothing to say about the matter they just have to accept the results.


There is one sport that I have noticed over the years that actually listens to the fans.  The UFC president Dana White does a fantastic job of listening and responding to the fans.  If there is a bad event and the fans complain about it via social media he is right there with them listening to them and apologizing for it.  If the fans want to see a fight happen between two elite fighters and voice their desire to see this fight Dana White will listen and do whatever he can to make that fight happen.  If only Gary Bettman or Donald Fehr would be so gracious to listen to their fans they would know that we want them to lock themselves in a room and not come out until a deal is done.  We don’t want grandstanding and PR, we want our game back, so why not take a tip from the UFC and listen to your fans for once and get a deal done.


Stop being the neglectful and angry parents that are so obsessed with getting their way that they are willing to put their own children at risk.  As many children that have gone through similar experiences with their parents and have grown up will tell you that we won’t forget this.  We are more than pawns and assets, and without us you will have nothing in the long run!!


Part of me would really like to see someone start a campaign to market to season ticket holders for every single team in the league.  Convince them to sign a petition stating that we want the season to start by this date or we will not renew our season tickets for one year.  If you could get 60% of the ticket holders to do that and then send the petition to both the League and the Players Association do you think they would listen to the forgotten children then??


All the best!