Used to be, statements like that would fester inside me – eventually coming to the surface like a 100-proof boil on my ass.
But not anymore.
One year ago, yesterday – out of sheer boredom and frustration – I started this blog. Deep in a recession that had my own business gasping for breath, I was bored and depressed and frustrated. After 8 years of work arriving at my doorstep, I had nothing. My clients were suffering – many in a position where they could no longer afford the exorbitant cost of traditional print advertising. Working from home meant my wardrobe and waistline had gone to shit, and my network of colleagues had gone the way of the glossy, full-page spread. I had no business cards and no web presence. I was screwed.
Truth is, I was also bitter and heartbroken at finding myself back in Havenot, after negotiating what I believed to be a tidy escape. Moving my family and my career, back home to Toronto was simple, but for one little detail: hockey. And hockey, in our house = happiness.
Having been uprooted as a pre-teenager, I was painfully aware of the dangers when not done correctly. Finding the little bastard – as he is now lovingly known – a happy spot on a competitive hockey team was my #1 priority. Everything else would fall into place.
As it turns out, after a few hiccups, Jack tried out for, and was offered a goalie position on the Toronto Marlies. We flew up for their annual Christmas tournament and together with my brother, we sat and watched his future team battle the competition. The Marlies coach was kind, and showered my kid with Marlies paraphernalia – hats, bags, self-esteem etc. With everything perfect in his little world, I could now start making positive steps with my own.
And then came the call.
I have heard stories about crazy hockey parents – strangling coaches is one extreme – and I have personally witnessed a hockey dad high-fiveing his child when a teammate erred. What I wasn't expecting upon arrival home, was a call from the Marlie's coach. He had bad news, out of his control – Jack was no longer a Marlie. What happened while we were happily making plans, set off a ripple of circumstances that haunts me to this day.
Come over here and sit by me, while I get this out of my system.
Our excitement about moving to Toronto was crushed when the other goalie's father – who happens to be the President and CEO of Enwave Energy Corporation – threatened to pull his kid off of the team mid-season, if the coach brought on another good goalie. Sharing was not an option for his 13-year old child. This father had an incredibly bad toupée, and a form of power that went above and beyond the game, or the coach: Money. This man not only threatened to remove his son from the team – he was taking with him the money that bought the child the position in the first place.
Needless to say, my reaction was reflex at its finest; Tell the dad to fuck off and go. Sadly, it doesn't work like that in the Greater Toronto Hockey League. I told the coach I didn't want my kid playing for a team that would tolerate that kind of asshole behaviour anyway. I told him I thought he (the coach) was a better man. Then I hung up and slipped into a depression that lasted until one year ago yesterday.
A great deal has happened since I pounded out that very first blog.
I learned why I kept journal after journal as a child – I love to write.
I learned that you are never too old, or too stupid to try new things. Like Twittering. Facebook. Roller coasters. Forgiveness. Horseback riding. Or Bubble tea.
I learned that most people are kind and generous and supportive. Without faithful readers, I would have been cut from the first round of Marketing's Most Creative competition. Instead, I won.
I learned that James Ingram is an amazing photographer, but you've got to love your self first.
I learned that Sock it to Ya! on Spring Garden is the first store in Canada to carry the Spanx bathing suit line, and that in a Spanx one-piece, fat has nowhere to go but up.
I learned that I was protein light and red wine heavy. And I needed help from U Weight.
I learned that letting it all out and speaking from the heart (and the bowels) made me feel better.
And I learned that I am not alone, even though it still feels like it some days.
Finally, I learned that money can buy seat on a hockey bench, and a kick-ass, fat-sucking bathing suit – but money cannot buy happiness. The Toronto Bantam AAA Marlies lost in the semi-finals this week. Screw forgiveness. That news made my bitter, Germanic, shadenfraude self, feel like a million bucks.
Most important – so stay the fuck with me – I learned that helping others feels good, and makes what I do seem somehow... worthwhile. Thank you for supporting the many small businesses I support on this blog.
Happy Anniversary Halifax Broad. Where the hell do we go from here?
Sock it to Ya! is at 5495 Spring Garden Road or 429-SOCK.