Happy New Year! How Did 2017 Go? You Tell Me…

Happy New Year!  We, at The Urban Daddy sincerely hope that this year is the best year ever and that it is filled with fun, family, health, happiness, wealth, prosperity and PEACE!

While in the process of clearing off an old computer, I came across my family plan for 2017.  I’m going to post it below and after reading it, you tell me if you think that the year was a success, OR, if I need to rename it “Happy New Year 2018” and try again.

Did you set family goals for the year?  Or does that get done in September before school?

Do you then use January 1st as a re-boot?


Here is what I presented to my 3 children on January 1st, 2017.

Welcome to 2017!

Kids, you have left us no choice but to institute this new policy in our household. Your mother and I are tired of picking up after all of you, and asking you to do the same things over and over again.  We don’t like buying you new things because you treat everything you have very poorly.  You all have the ability to change this, but you have never had the reason to… Until now!

Each of you have complained that we don’t like doing things that you want to do, and that is also going to change this year because as a family, we will be doing more together inside and outside the house.

You have 2 options. Read them below and let’s see which one we like and want to start following.

Option 1.

Starting at 12:01.01 am on January 1st, 2017, your parents will no longer be making your lunches, driving you to programs, buying you toys, or taking you to and from school.  We will not be allowing you to watch TV, use electronics or listen to your music devices until these following conditions are all met each and every day.


  • Make your beds in the morning
  • Brush your teeth in the morning and at night
  • Clean up after yourselves after each and every meal – not just putting things on the counter or in the sink, but in the dishwasher, or washed, dried and away.
  • Not leave any food out
  • Put away all of your clean clothes
  • Placed dirty clothes in your hamper the right side out
  • Only be allowed to eat at the kitchen table
  • Leave the kitchen table and your eating area spotless once you have finished
  • Hang your towels on the back of the door in your bathroom once you have used it
  • Hang your jackets in the closet when you get home, not on the railing, not on the floor in the closet, but hung properly
  • Complete ALL of your homework assigned to you which is due the next day
  • Be responsible from taking your lunch box from your school bag, empty it – put dirty dishes in the dishwasher, or wash, dry and put them away. Any uneaten food must be put in the appropriate place
  • Not hit one another
  • Not yell at one another
  • Not swear at all. Ever
  • Be respectful to your parents.


If you fail to do any 3 of these in a week, you will forfeit anything that you consider “fun” and will be given extra school work to compensate for your lack of interest in being a contributing member of this family.


Option 2.

Help out more around the house. It’s your house too, not just ours.  Don’t fight as much with each other and respect each other’s belongings.  Be kind to others, be kind to yourselves, and make sure if you don’t know / are not sure / confused / uneasy or uncomfortable with anything that is said, done to you, near you or around you, or to others, to ask us or tell us.

Lie to us and it’s over. Tell us the truth and we can deal with consequences.

We want others to see how wonderful each of you are.

Hugs are a must

We’re not perfect either but we are your parents. We have the key / password / ability to allow you to have fun, or be miserable.  We think you might want fair and fun over option 1 and feeling like a prisoner.

Happy New Year!



How was our year?  Better than 2016.  🙂


So THIS is How Children Get Interested in Things…

I’ve been trying for what seems like forever to get my children interested in sports, but to no avail.  Even when my middle son, Stewie, went from not being able to stand on ice skates just 2 years ago, to playing houseleague hockey this year, I cannot convince him to watch hockey on TV.


Plus, I LOVE watching baseball on TV, win-or-lose, Blue Jays or any other team, yet my kids would sit for a minute – declare it boring – then move on.

I did manage to get them to like / love the Toronto Rock Lacrosse team – as a season ticket holder since their inception – I always thought it was because of the in-game activities like the lights, music playing throughout the game and food, more than the fact that the Rock were the team that won the most in a City starved for sports success.

I remember when the Boston Bruins were good, just a couple of seasons ago, and my oldest son Linus declared his love for Tukka Rask and other Bruins over the hometown Maple Leafs.  I was disappointed but it was then that I realized kids what to support a winning team.  How else can you explain all those fans of the Montreal Canadiens?!?

Now that my oldest is 10, I’m noticing he is paying attention to everything baseball, and why not!  The Toronto Blue Jays staved off elimination last night with a 7-1 win over the Kansas City Royals and for the past month instead of playing hockey in the basement, we play baseball.

Winning gets the kids attention!  It is winning that get children interested in sports and other events… Other events like politics.

With the Canadian Federal election a couple of days in the past, I can tell you that my children sure as hell know more about the next Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau than I do.  They know he was “Just Not Ready” and that he walks a lot (up a down escalator in one campaign ad, and in a field in another).  They also know that he dropped out of a lot of courses in University and that he is going to spend Canada into massive debt.

They’re not impressed but they are listening to the TV and radio and they are reading articles about the PM and they are watching Trudeau and the Liberals (both Federally and Provincially here in Ontario) like hawks.

It’s also the age.

My 10-year-old and now 9-year-old know every player on the Blue Jays.  They know the scores, they know the batting averages and as a result of post-season baseball for the first time in their lives, they know about stealing signs, the pop-up slide and catchers framing pitches.

I’m excited.

They’re excited.

This is how kids get interested!  It’s part parental encouragement (which sometimes acts as a detriment) part success and part coming of age.

In the meantime, I cannot get my kids to watch the Toronto Maple Leafs – the main discussion here surrounds the proposed name change to Toronto Maple Leaves and my child’s constant joke about the 1-3-2 Leafs and how they, like the “real” leafs “fall” this time of year… Every year.


Go Jays Go!


Resiliance! A Great Trait For a Child To Have, and Also a Concern…

My oldest child has become VERY resilient!  This is a good trait to develop, but also has a pretty huge downside.  Can I explain how we’ve come to figure this out…

  • Kids can be mean.
  • Kids can also interpret the words and actions of others in a completely different way then it is intended.
  • Kids also don’t always fit in to their surroundings, we all know that, especially at school because who can predict what the best school is for a child before having an opportunity to learn about how your child learns and what they need.
  • How kids handle themselves – the only thing they can (presumably) control – can make the difference between them having a great time at school, or them being miserable every day.

After that, you either wind up with a resilient child who can take it and move forward, or it breaks your child and they either fade away or strike back.

Take, for example, this scenario:  My oldest son really wanted a pair or wrist bands.  Badly.  So when we found a pair at Dick’s Sporting Goods in NY, he was over the moon and he wore them to school every day… Every day until someone commented on the fact he wears them every day – and that comment might have been just a comment, or a judgement – but my son has not worn them every single day since.  In fact, he went a while without wearing them, but has slowly started to wear them where appropriate again.

He knows he has to be his individual and generally he does what he wants, but he felt they were poking fun at him, and he dealt with it by not wearing them at school.

Resilient?  Nope.

But it made him very aware of what others felt about him and he has always been quite very aware of his own self, so he adjusted his actions and his behaviour to fall in line with his peers as best as he could in order to stay under the radar.

Quite un-sporty, he even started playing sports with the sporty kids so that he could fit in better and while below the experience and skill of his classmates, they mostly tolerated his presence but he played anyways because he knew the only way he could improve was to play and get better.

From that came the courage to try out for the soccer team.  We were thrilled.  He didn’t make the team, but he tried and we were very supportive and encouraging, as were his friends.  Then they added him as a call-up and eventhough he played less that the other kids and the kids bugged him about that (“you really didn’t make the team”) – he went out, tried, and had fun.  By the last game of the season, ignoring all the comments from the other kids, he improved a lot and was on the top line with his best friend and the team’s best player.  They played a lot, and he got to show his skills.

I helped to coach by coming to the games and encouraging the kids, supporting the team and cheering them on.  I heard the comments and I felt bad for him, but he didn’t care.  It was less important than his opportunity to play in a team environment, learn the game and be one of the boys.

My oldest boy also swims… Well.   He has been in a pre-competitive program where he became the dark horse according to the program’s director.  He spent the first 4-6 weeks cruising along the side wall where he could, but by the end of the program, he was the top swimmer, and his breast stroke and back stroke were referred to as “a thing of beauty” and that he was “graceful” and “surprisingly strong”.

His first crack at competitive swimming saw him win his first 2 races by a substantial margin, and a second place finish in his third race because he stopped to see where the end of the pool was.  He cheers on his teammates, and in competitions, he cheers on everyone in the water.  He’s that kind of kid.

Just the other day was his year-end swim competition and again came 2 first place finishes, and then with a race right after his previous race, and double the distance, he swallowed some water and came in 3rd.


He’ll be joining a swim team next year!  He wants to go to the Olympics.  He gives partial credit to @HarveysCanada (more in a future post).

He had an opportunity to swim for his school and he was really excited about it, until a kids in his class told him that “swimming was stupid, you get a better workout playing hockey”.  It crushed him… For a day or two, but instead of arguing and debating the issue, he recognized it was factually incorrect and he chose to leave it alone and move on.

He went to the school swim meet as one of only 2 boys there and he swam against kids much bigger and stronger than him, and he came in 3rd in the races he competed in.  He was thrilled, he were proud of him and the swim teacher saw this bright, sporty kid, step up and support his school.  Even the older girls at the meet cheered him on and supported him because he was an unknown to them and here he was at one point moving from last in a race to 2nd.  #Guts.

Now, he has found a love for baseball.

I love baseball.  LOVE it!  I never played but I should have!  I’m a pitcher to the core and I wanted to play but according to my parents, I never asked to play, so I did not.  Obviously, those days are behind me but I can live through my son, right?  🙂

My son tried out for the school softball team and didn’t make the starting squad – there were kids from both grades who has played in leagues in previous years which he did not, but he was added as a call-up.  He cannot go to any of those games because they conflict with his hardball baseball season which he just stated and his swimming program.

I was concerned that being left off the school team might hurt his confidence more than it would fire him up, but I was wrong.  He has started this season – his first – on fire and he is tearing things up.  His first game he went 2 for 3 and stole a base.  His second game 2 for 4 with 2 stolen bases and his third game he got to pitch and in the 2 innings he pitched, he struck out 4 and got the save as his team won the game.  He followed that up by going 1 for 3 and by throwing out a running at home from right field.

His baseball coach loves him!  With a little more practice, his coach figures he might be the team’s best pitcher.  He already throws hard and is very accurate.  In his eagerness to put the ball in play, he struck out twice last game watching the ball sail out of the strike zone but called a strike by the umpire.  By not watching baseball, he doesn’t know things like that can happen.  He’ll learn.

He doesn’t tell the kids on his school team, nor does he mention it to his gym teacher, but he humbly accepts that he’s good at baseball and he loves being part of the team.  He’s been a great teammate, and he’s been a cheerleader on the bench in between innings.  He has showed his empathetic-side when one of his teammates got hit by the ball and was hurt, by going over to check on him right away.

He has turned negative situation after negative situation into positive ones and I tip my hat to him.

But with the good comes the bad, and the biggest concern with a resilient kids, is the internalizing.

The appearance that he’s okay with all of the negatives, and the accepting of being treated this way can have serious long-term ramifications as he learns to ignore poor treatment and convince himself that that it’s okay.  It absolutely bothers him, and he absolutely keeps it all in at that moment.

One day he’ll need to speak to a professional or I worry that he will snap.

I’m glad that most of this revolves around physical activity and I hope he will be able to channel this frustration into energy to perform better at whatever sport he is playing, but until that happens I worry that these disappointments will impact his ability to enjoy sports and he’ll be too worried worrying about what others will say if he does not succeed to play well and enjoy the game.


Toronto Blue Jays Fail to Impress. Still More Promising Than Leafs, Raptors and Toronto FC. Nowhere Near the Toronto Rock!

It’s been one of those years… Again.  The Jays look destined to fail in a weak American League East with great bats but terrible pitching.  As the team leads the major leagues in walks given it makes one wonder aloud how long the Jays pitching coach Pete “Walker” has left.

Or manager John Gibbons…

Or the GM.

Or if there are any moves that can be made to salvage the season at the 40 game-mark.

It makes me wonder if any of the pitchers from Triple-A Buffalo will come in and steal a spot for themselves through the throwing of strikes, the consistency outing after outing, or the putting out of middle-inning fires, or if the GM is going to be looking for guys like BJ Ryan or Gustavo Chacin to come in and settle things down.

Hey, what is Dave Steib doing?  Or Jimmy Key?  What about Jim Clancy or Juan Guzman?

Are there no pitchers in the minors that the Jays can resurrect and use for a couple of starts or through this season who can keep their ERA under 6?

I have no idea, but I love the Jays, and hope for a winning streak to push the team back to the top of the sports news and remove the Leafs from our discussion as they have hit rock bottom with no way out…

Or… Toronto can turn their attention to the best Toronto sports team – The Toronto Rock lacrosse club which was outdrawing the Jays not too long ago and who finished 1st in the National Lacrosse League and are in the Eastern Division Finals at the Air Canada Centre this Saturday, May 23rd at 7pm.

The Toronto Rock win in a league with tough competition, and in a very tough, demanding sport, and draw between 10,000-13,000 fans per game…

The most exciting game in Toronto played by the most exciting team, and hey, they win!  They went 14-4 on the season, and their leading scorer, Brett Hickey scored 50 goals.  Josh Sanderson accumulated 83 assists.  These are numbers we, as Toronto sports fans are not used to.  There are no nights off or shifts off for these guys.  The run, hit, defend and score.

Come support the Rock.  Toronto should be thankful for Rock owner Jamie Darwick!

And loosen up your arm because you might just be the next call-up for the Jays!


Why You Need to Support the Toronto Rock Lacrosse Club!

I cannot stress enough the importance of supporting the Toronto Rock lacrosse club. 

In case you live under a rock (pun intended) The Toronto Rock is the lacrosse team which plays in the National Lacrosse League (NLL).  The franchise was originally founded as an NLL expansion team for Hamilton which begin play in the 1998 season, known as the Ontario Raiders.  The Raiders finished that season 6-6, barely missing the playoffs and at the end of the season they were sold to a group of investors led by Assistant GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Bill Watters, and Tie Domi and the team moved to Toronto to become the Rock.  They played out of the historic Maple Leafs Gardens beginning in the 1999 season.

It was that first season in Toronto where I took in a game with my colleagues from Equifax and we were hooked, purchasing season’s tickets which I still have to this day! 

It’s hard not to love this sport.  It’s fast like hockey, back and forth like basketball but it is also rough and tough and there is no taking a shift off.  I regularly bring along someone new to lacrosse to join me and I have not had one person leave after a game and think it was boring.  The game is great the atmosphere is incredible, there are activities, music playing the entire game and loads of beer consumed – meaning loud, rowdy fans in a family environment – so it’s safe to bring your kids, and there are a ton of kids at each game. 

All that mentioned above, plus when you have teams like the ones the Rock put out from 1999-2005, which were a dynasty as the team appeared in six league finals and won five championships in those seven years. From 1999 – 2003, the Rock appeared in an NLL-record five straight championship games and have a 14-5 record in playoff games all time. Geez, they won the NLL Championship just last season for a record-tying 6th time.

So with much optimism I look forward each year to a competitive team with expectations of playoffs and hopes of a championship – both which are rare in Toronto’s other professional sports teams not named the Toronto Blue Jays (see 1992 and 1993).

But this year’s team suffered some early setbacks with injuries to Blaine Manning and Colin Doyle and with the retirement of world-class goalie Bob Watson.  They had a goalie named Matt Roik who looked great sometimes and disinterested at other times.  In a particular difficult 2 game stretch, the talent-challenged Rock were pressing hard against their opposition during most of the game and getting robbed by the other teams goalies and when they were rewarded with a goal, the other team would march down the floor and the first shot would go in.  That is a tough way to play and the team, the coaching staff and the fans were frustrated.

So I missed the Rock’s last home game this year – it was Passover and the Rock’s next 3 games were on the road and the I believe they went 3-1 in that stretch which was great heading into the playoffs, and I was shocked when I came to the game this past Saturday night to find that Roik was not in the Rock’s net, nor on the bench, but instead there was a new goalie on the team, #66 Rose. 

Rose looked confident, engaged and agile.  With his timely saves, the Rock came back from a 4-0 1st quarter deficit to defeat the Buffalo Bandits 7-6 to advance to the semi-finals against the Rochester Night Hawks this Saturday night, May 12th at 7pm at the Air Canada Centre.

Sources close to the team have advised me that there was a confrontation between Roik at some key members of the Rock coaching staff which led to his release – not trading – and that Roik was as frustrated in the team as they were in him.

So where did Nick Rose come from? 

Turns out #66 helped the Orangeville Northmen to Canadian junior championships in 2008 and 2009, was drafted by the Rock, but spent his first three pro seasons as a backup with the now defunct Boston Blazers.  His first professional start was as a member of the Rock when he led the team to a 13-7 win in Rochester.

Nick Rose was drafted by the Toronto Rock in the third round, 28th overall, of the 2008 NLL entry draft and attended the training camp held before the 2009 season, released after the fifth practice.  Boston invited him to try out and he made the team until the Chicago team folded and in the dispersal draft Boston got a more experienced goalie, leaving Rose third in line. When Boston folded last year, Calgary snagged Rose.

The underperforming Roik prompted the Rock to make a call to Calgary on the Sunday before the March 20th trade deadline where they swapped their 2014 first-round entry draft pick for Rose and then the Rock released Roik.

Rose made the most of his first NLL start and got the win.  He’s got the size, he is 6-0 and 285 and it looks like he has the poise to be a good goalie.

How far can this team go?  A championship would be great.  In a year when the Leafs failed, the Raptors are rebuilding and the MLS Toronto FC just set a record for the most losses to begin a season with a 0-8 record, Torontonians need the Toronto Rock to show fans how a successful, hard-working team operates.  Let’s just hope MLSE, or the Rogers / Bell conglomerate don’t get their hands on this team and take them down into the valley of despair.

In the meantime, the semi-finals are this Saturday at 7pm at the Air Canada Centre.  Get your tickets, I have mine, and come support the Toronto Rock!

You can also follow the team on twitter @torontorocklax.  You should follow Shannon Kelly, the host of the team @shankell, and heck follow me too @urbandaddyblog.

Go Rock go!