Tuesday, February 2, 2016

John Scott, The Chicago Wolves, and All-Stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a sponsored post. The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. I still only recommend products or services I use and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


The indisputable hockey story of the week has been John Scott. The 6'8" enforcer of the NHL went from being bullied and shamed by an NHL representative (who wanted him to bow out of the All-Star game) to scoring two goals and being named  MVP. He was applauded, celebrated, and carried around the ice by teammates who perhaps forgot he weighs nearly 300 pounds.

The lesson to my kids?

Always play with heart. Play hard even when nobody is watching. Even if everyone on the ice is faster, more agile, or more talented. Even if you think the whole world is against you.

Play with heart and good things happen.

While not everyone may have been watching, good things happened Monday for a couple of Chicago Wolves' elder statesmen. AHL All-Stars and Wolves players Pat Cannone and Andre Benoit brought home sweet victory for the Central Division in a 4-0 rout with Cannone securing MVP honors.

Let the word go forth:

Chicago ice hockey is on fire.


They played hard and got to go to a Wolves game.
The Chicago Wolves understand the growing interest in hockey in Chicago and are strong supporters of youth development. Last year, when my son Jack was new to the sport, he was pretty much a one-trick pony.  He would bank the puck against the boards and rely on speed to get up the ice.  Jack had no stick handling abilities whatsoever. Yet the Chicago Wolves believe in just these kinds of kids and their potential to improve.  They regularly offer up the big stage for young teams to play during intermission. It is just another reason to head to a game:




With hockey becoming the "it" sport in Chicago, The Chicago Wolves Fan 4 Pack, presented by Orville Redenbacher's, is a great way to bring the whole family out for live action without having to mortgage the farm.  Starting at only $89, packs include:

Four (4) tickets
Four (4) hot dogs
Four (4) medium sodas
An order of popcorn!
Awesome hockey where attendees can obtain autographs from players after every game
Tickets available HERE

When it comes down to it, it is always more fun to cheer on the underdogs. The workers. Those who strive to be better and with enough heart, will get there.

Cheering on The Chicago Wolves, beyond just the spectacle and excitement, is part of that.

If you don't want the bundle. I've also got you covered for $5 off individual ticket purchases. Simply use the coupon code WALSH in the promo code box when ordering through Ticketmaster and get $5 off on each ticket. 

Check out a game and let me know what you think!



Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a sponsored post. The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. I still only recommend products or services I use and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, January 29, 2016

More Cowbell

The following appears in the February edition of Chicago Parent, copies are almost completely gone at my local hockey rink, so be sure to find one today!

Despite being forbidden by my husband (and several school by-laws) from toting a cowbell to our
sons’ assorted competitive events, I definitely have a little bit of Christopher Walken lurking just beneath the surface.

 “I got a fever, and the only prescription is cowbell.”

In the ultra-competitive world of youth sports, the use of cowbell remains controversial. I understand that sounding off after a fifth unanswered goal may be overkill, but the urge to rattle that thin sheet of metal is strong, like the Force. Why even have a cowbell if you can’t ring it? Yoda would totally have my back.

Joe believes that unless you are a dairy farmer, no sane person should be issued a cowbell. The Force is not as strong within that one.

A local father I know was escorted out of a tiny gym after his treasured cowbell irked the wrong referee. Sure, he might have been a little trigger-happy (double dribble call against the other team = COWBELL!), but the lifetime ban from attending Catholic League Basketball still seems a bit excessive.

I begged Joe to let me bring a cowbell to a chess tournament once. I thought it would be super funny – a first time for everything! He said he would turn me into the National Chess Federation himself.

Suffering from cowbell-envy, I have instead taken to yelling the words:

COWBELL COWBELL COWBELL!

After that, you can usually hear me screaming:

DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES?

or

AGAIN!

or

YOU’RE KILLING ME, SMALLS!

Joe stopped sitting next to me in the bleachers years ago. He also says I watch too many movies.

I see a certain symbolism in the cowbell that I think others miss. Originally intended as a way to locate lost cows, sport spectators never waffle on whose parent brought the cowbell. Come game day, kids are often nervous and anxious. They worry they might let their team down. They think their parents will be disappointed in them. Cowbell is a strong statement of support from a parent who will never waver in their devotion. The message is clear:

Home is nearby. And it loves you.

There aren’t many people willing to sacrifice their carefully crafted image and personal poise for another. Cowbell bearers face open disdain, mocking, and ostracization. I personally have never done the wave at a professional sporting event. I won’t paint my face for the Chicago Bears. I do have standards.

But for 6th grade basketball?

Dude. I’m making signs and crafting Danny-specific chants.

Cowbell is unconditional love. It is proud, undeniable, and obnoxious. Most importantly, it is felt deeply and without question, even when the object of that love pretends he has no idea who you are as he sprints to the locker room.

Still, I believe the world needs more cowbell.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Chicago Wolves Fan 4 Pack Presented by Orville Redenbacher

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a sponsored post. The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. I still only recommend products or services I use and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


I am a full-fledged hockey mom. It took me years to figure out the blue line and what constitutes "off-sides," but I am there.

And I am totally broke. Because ice hockey is freaking expensive.

But now I live with all these damn hockey fans who won't stop clamoring for live hockey. What do they want from me next...blood?

Which brings me to The Chicago Wolves. In the past, I have been honored to participate in a focus group for the Wolves where I beat the drum of "Yeah, the tickets are affordable, but dude...a hot dog and a coke is going to run you another $100."

And those nice Chicago Wolves people listened. Mostly because I'm loud.

The Chicago Wolves Fan 4 Pack, presented by Orville Redenbacher's is a great way to bring the whole family out for live hockey without having to sell your body to science. Starting at only $89, packs include:

Four (4) tickets
Four (4) hot dogs
Four (4) medium sodas
An order of popcorn!
Awesome hockey where attendees can obtain autographs from players after every game
Tickets available HERE

Having been to several games, the spectacle and excitement of live hockey is like nothing you've ever seen. With 21 seasons without a losing record, the Wolves are also a proud sponsor of youth hockey:

Check out the nifty patch - I was about to use duck tape until one of the mom's suggested an iron. In the past, Jack's team wasn't exactly known for their tournament victories, but under this year's Wolves' sponsorship? Totally won the Irish South Bend Cup! 

Best yet?

If you don't want the bundle. I've also got you covered for $5 off individual ticket purchases. Simply use the coupon code WALSH in the promo code box when ordering through Ticketmaster and get $5 off on each ticket.


For all my local Chicago hockey-obsessed friends, my family and I have always had an amazing time at the games. Enjoy and let me know what you think!




Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a sponsored post. The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. I still only recommend products or services I use and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Sweat Shops & Slurpees

My goal this summer was to not be an enabler.

7-Eleven began its stranglehold on my purse years ago. With gaggles of boys showing up to entice my kids into a seedy life of endless Slurpees and Moon Pies, the daily clamoring for a dollar was relentless. After desperately digging around in my purse for a quarter one afternoon only to come up empty, I knew things needed to change.

If the kids wanted to subsist on flavored ice, then they would have to pay for it themselves. Ironically enough, all three of my boys are currently between the ages of 7 and 11. Jesus was secretly whispering to me to get these people jobs. Who was I to disagree?

After carefully reviewing existing child labor laws, I was bummed to discover sweat shops are apparently frowned upon nowadays. So much for my ideas of little hands scrubbing toilets and crafting ammunition. Damn child advocates totally ruin everything.

Danny suggested forming a lawn care business, citing his impeccable service of our own yard. Glancing despondently out the window towards the unevenly cut grass and countless dandelions, I opted to redirect his efforts. I suggested tutoring chess.

Within moments of posting his services on a local mom’s page, my mailbox was inundated with folks wanting to get on Danny’s schedule. His first gig was a pair of young twins. Twenty minutes before Danny’s first day of work, he made a huge spectacle of departing. Noting his disheveled hair, wrinkled shirt, and peculiar goop stuck to his cheek, I stopped my firstborn in his tracks.

“You are NOT walking out the door like that,” I scolded.

“What?”

“You look like you just rolled out of bed.”

“I DID just roll out of bed.”

“You are not professional at all,” I chided while spitting on a towel to wipe the crud from his face. Danny groaned as I ordered him back upstairs to change.

“I cannot believe I have to endure all this just for a stinkin’ Slurpee!”

Despite an impressive performance of righteous indignation, the crisp ten-dollar bill and smile that arrived home an hour late belied his complaints. When the doorbell rang and the Slurpee crew appeared to collect their reliable mate, the outcome was unusual. This time, Danny turned them down flat and tucked his ten bucks into his short pockets.

I had actually won one. A critical life lesson about hard work and the value of a dollar was secured. Seldom had I known such sweet victory.

So to celebrate? I went out and bought myself a Slurpee.

Extra large.

I’d earned it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Ladies Night Out & White Sox Baseball

The White Sox are totally hooking me up with some awesome tickets in exchange for this post about this Saturday's Ladies Night.  But seriously, I would have written it for free.  Just don't tell them that.  GO SOX!

My husband once thought it would be fun to take his full-term pregnant wife to a White Sox baseball game.  It was 90 degrees outside.  The game went into extra innings.  Worried White Sox staffers checked on me repeatedly, convinced I was about to deliver right there on the upper deck.

I had a ball.

Subsequent to that day, Joe and I began shuttling our kids to White Sox baseball while still in their newborn carriers.  We were those parents you see mixing formula bottles and changing diapers between innings.  Indoctrination, we knew, needed to start young.  While writing this, my son Jack just ran in to tell me the first two Sox batters got triples and the third batter got a double, Sox up 2.

I'd say mission accomplished.

Some of my favorite days have been spent at The Cell with my boys.

I think my husband was burping Joey here which is why they aren't in the picture.

Some of my other favorite days have been spent at The Cell without my boys.

One visit involved my sister and a mutual friend.  A few innings (and beers) into the game, you would have found three harried housewives frantically waving around their homemade sign:

OUR HUSBANDS THINK WE ARE AT A PTA MEETING.

Totally made it on the scoreboard.

While the White Sox aren't having the most stellar of seasons, going to a game is an event.  There are always extra perks and add-ons that maximize the fun.  This Saturday?

Ladies Night.

With super-cheap tickets available, you will feel like you have won the Grand Prize Game. Bonuses include:

  • The first 500 buyers will receive a complimentary White Sox wine glass tumbler
Perfect for Mommy Juice

  • Pregame entertainment at Gate 4 from The Hot Sauce Committee, a 90’s boy band cover band

  • The first 20,000 fans to enter the ballpark receive a Scott Podsednik World Series Moment bobblehead, presented by Wintrust Financial
My boys are addicted to bobbleheads.  Think: FREE CHRISTMAS GIFT

Parking lots open at 3:10 p.m., and gates open at 4:10 p.m.

The White Sox organization has never let my family or my friends down in providing a great time, great food, and great fun.

They are also the only baseball team in Chicago who has won a World Series in the last 100 years.

Sorry.  Couldn't help it.



 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Naked Ambition

The following appears in the June edition of Chicago Parent.

There have been countless times where I wished I had not grown up in the 1970s and 1980s. My biggest complaint? I never won anything. There were no trophies for 8th place. I did not get ribbons for participation. While my older brother’s award shelf was crowded with basketball and track trophies, mine was a lonely little island holding a medal from the 5th grade Bible Bowl and a “Perfect Attendance” certificate printed on Ditto paper.

If I was not such a competitive person, this would have been a non-issue. Yet I craved victory so much that I once ditched my volleyball-deficient best friend in gym class to play for a team with a better shot at Junior High PE supremacy.

Recently, a miracle happened. I actually won something. The Parenting Media Association bestowed a national Gold Award on this column (see write-up in Beverly Review HERE). Fancy PhDs and college professors christened me awesome. I patiently awaited the inevitable glory and paparazzi this would most certainly bring.

Sure enough, the phone rang. It was someone representing Steve Harvey. I was stoked. My kids and I love Family Feud. The producers were probably casting nationally recognized columnists for an upcoming taping.

The conversation went along the lines of:

Producer: So we’re doing lingerie make-overs for moms and we think you’d be great!

Me: You want me to wear a thong on The Feud?

Producer: No, this isn’t for The Feud. This is for the Steve Harvey Show. And everything will be extremely tasteful!

Me: So tasteful garter belts? Got it. Are you aware I’ve had three c-sections and gallbladder surgery? I possess the muscle tone of a sloth.

Producer: NOT A PROBLEM. We will make you look stunning!

My mind whirled. Was this the normal progression to international acclaim and fortune? Perhaps donning some rhinestone slippers and a sheer teddy was the backdoor entrance into a three-book publishing deal with Simon & Schuster? The Steve Harvey guy did say they wanted moms to feel beautiful. I was a mom and I definitely wanted to feel beautiful! It all made sense.

Right as I was about to agree to the show, I remembered a few key points:

  • I have pretty much slept in my husband’s boxers and a tank top for 12 years. Lingerie itches.
  • My kids go to Catholic school. I would never be able to look Sister Jean in the eye again.
  • My husband works in a Chicago firehouse. This sort of thing would get mileage for YEARS.
  • Two words: SCREEN SHOT. Me in a bustier would live forever. They would probably show it at my 50th wedding anniversary.
For once, I completely set aside ambition and the desire to win by any means necessary. After turning down the opportunity, the producer was very gracious and understanding. I mumbled something about saving face with the PTA crowd.

I am not positive as to when exactly it happened, but I have definitely lost my old bravado and willingness to try anything. Missing out on this experience did not feel as much like a loss as I dreaded it would. I guess in many ways, I have already won everything important.

It took 41 years, but my trophy shelf is full.