Raising you has been the greatest gift

From the time you were wee I always hoped you would one day attend university.

I have tried to let you choose your own path, but I do think a Bachelor’s degree sets one up well for life. It’s an education that allows you to reflect on the past and learn from it, to think critically and train your brain and to look to the future with thoughtful conversations and class discussions.

I have taught you to challenge authority – not for the sake of being antagonistic but because leaders make mistakes and blindly following, well, we know where that leads.

You do that. Challenging your parents mostly! But that’s OK.

I’m so excited for your future, but boy will I miss you in the house every day.

When you were a baby, your aunt gave me a quote that I kept in your bedroom: “Quiet down cobwebs and dust go to sleep; I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.”

I tried to live by that. Giving you all the time you needed when you were young, knowing one day this day would come and you would leave home. So when you asked me to play – Rescue Heroes, or Snakes and Ladders or catch – more often than not I stopped what I was doing and played. It was as good for me as it was for you.

I loved reading to you. The same books over and over until I memorized some of them and can still recite them even now.

As you grew, you became the one teaching me on many occasions.

I reflect back on the many hours of mini sticks we played, of kicking the soccer ball up and down the hall, then outside, bending it like Beckham, even if it broke the glass in the garage door.

Sports have always been your passion, particularly soccer, and have given you so many great opportunities, from OFSAA medals to new friendships to taking on leadership roles. All of your commitment to sport – drills, constant repetition for muscle memory, pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion – has paid off and you are now on the varsity soccer team. Congratulations.

Just a little advice, if you will humour me. And humour is where I want to begin.

Your kindergarten teacher once noted you would pick up on her sarcastic remarks and laugh. Always maintain that sense of humour and never take yourself too seriously.

Spend some time each day in silence. Living in residence will be noisy. Your phone will be constantly chiming. Life will be busy and full. Silence is where creativity begins.

Be thankful. Not everyone will have the opportunities you have. There will always be others with less than you and with more. So be generous as well.

Go outside and enjoy nature. It is good for the soul and will ground you.

Call home or text. Parents sometimes can provide guidance and will always be glad to hear your voice or see your message.

Smile often, even if you feel rotten. It provides a small boost to get you through the day with a promise the next one will be better.

Be kind and try to leave everyone you meet a little brighter. See the similarity in humans, rather than the differences.

There is some dental floss in your care package. Don’t forget to use it. Good habits serve us throughout life.

I want you to know you will always be my little boy and raising you has been the greatest gift of my life.

Thank you for making this life what I dreamed it could be.

And now you dream young man. Dream big and dream often.

And as I’ve always said – Football is life. Interpret the saying and life your way. And any style of football you play.

Love Mom XOXO

Football is Life
WOSSA head ball.j

Irate father calls his child names for getting a white shirt dirty

A recent study in Quebec showed up to 30 per cent of children are neglected.

While some may question the findings of the study, it’s notable in several ways.

Many children are afraid to be left alone. While you can distract them for a little while by playing a movie, soon they want mommy or daddy.

Children who don’t feel secure, turn into adults with issues.

Our society needs to realize that children deserve our unconditional love and support. They need to feel safe and secure. They need to have their needs met.

When they aren’t loved unconditionally, the world becomes a scary place for them and that can lead to all kinds of problems for the child that linger well into adulthood and may never go away.

The reason I mention this study is because being neglectful can be just as traumatic to a child as yelling at them or abusing them emotionally or physically.

While at a soccer tournament recently, I was in a car parked beside a man and his son. The son had on a white uniform and he spilled something on it.

The father’s reaction was absolutely appalling. He called his son a putz several times. “Why do you have to be such a putz?” He let the F-bomb fly over and over as he tried to clean the uniform.  He asked the boy what was wrong with him. The child looked down to the ground and placed his head against the back of the front car seat as he sat in the back.

I rolled down my window to let the father know that his cursing and name calling could be heard.

The mother then walked over and was herself astounded by her husband’s reaction.

It’s a white uniform, she told him, and it was adults who gave him the food. What do you expect?

At that point, I offered my Clorox wipes to see if they could get the uniform clean. I told them that my son’s uniform was also white and getting stains out was a constant.

The father settled down and the mother was embarrassed and asked me if I had heard “the domestic.”

The child looked at me with a smile and said thank you.

We cannot treat our children this way. Children are going to spill things. They are going to cry. They will throw temper tantrums but we are adults. We can deal with this. We need to tell our children that we love them and treasure them.

It’s the first step to solving some of the problems that plague our world.


Canada wins and “unsporting” punishment all on big day for soccer

The Canadian men’s team easily defeated the Cubans 3-0 at BMO field Friday night.

It was a cold evening as the wind came in off the lake and fans huddled with blankets. Still lots of cold beer being served though.

A handful of Cuban players defected to the U.S. before the game so the Fidel side only had 11 men, who had to play the whole game, hurt or not.

Cuban goalie Odelin Molina showed his athleticism as he hurled himself across the net, tipping a barrage of balls away.

His play managed to fire up the Cubans who came into the second half much stronger.

Canada finally cashed in on a couple of its many chances, to score two in the second half.

On Tuesday, Canada plays in Honduras, where a draw will advance the team to the next round of World Cup qualifying.

Meanwhile, FIFA has handed Canadian women’s captain Christine Sinclair a four-game suspension for her Olympic comments in which she criticized the officiating. She was right though, as it was embarrassing.

The soccer governing body said Sinclair displayed “unsporting” behaviour. I still don’t think that’s a word. I know unsportsmanlike is not the best word but should we be making up words?

What about saying she was unprofessional?


CSL player said he was approached in London about match fixing

A CBC-TV investigative piece earlier this week looked further into a story that a Canadian Soccer League match was fixed and shone a light on the ugly world of high-stakes gambling.

It was proven in a German court in 2011 that Toronto Croatia threw its CSL game to the Trois-Rivières Attak in 2009. The CBC was digging further to see if there is any more match fixing going on and what the fallout was from the court case.

I covered the CSL for many years as London City, founded 40 years ago by the Gauss family, who recently sold the team, played in the league.

I contacted Ryan Gauss, whose grandfather Max began the team. Ryan’s father Harry ran it for many, many years and Harry was an institution in London soccer. Ryan took over the team after Harry died.

“I can say 100% (there was no game fixing) on my team,” Ryan Gauss said.

He said he was alarmed to hear about the Croatia-Trois Rivieres game. “It’s terrible. It’s a sad day for Canadian soccer. There’s a sense of greed.”

What Gauss is hearing now is that there was a player on an opposing team playing London City who claimed he was approached in London and offered a bribe to throw the game. The player said he didn’t take it.

This is what he is reported to have told Canadian Soccer News.

“I went to London, as I was saying, and I got approached by a gentleman to either score a hat trick or to make my team lose and I refused it.”

Sounds off to me because losing a game is one thing but being paid to score a hat trick? Not easily done at all.

Gauss said it was an unnamed player on an unnamed team making this allegation and he’s suspicious about the claims.

“How do you know if it’s even real?”

Gauss said his team had its share of losses. And of the games they won, he said, “I believe whole-heartedly we won because we deserved to.”

If there were lopsided scores over the years, Gauss said team rosters are always in a state of flux.

The Toronto Olympians at one point won 13 games in a row and then five of their players went to play in Greece, Gauss recalled. They lost several games after that.

I also remember the Olympians losing to the amateur London team, AEK. The teams were playing in the Canada Cup and there was prize money for the winners so it’s unlikely anyone would try to lose.

It is true that rosters are always changing in the CSL, considered a semi-professional league.

The CSL says on its website it is waiting for guidance from FIFA at this point.

Will be interesting to see where this goes.