Idol Today, I have a very special guest post. This weekend, Jacob played in his first hockey tournament, 8 weeks after trying goalie pads on for the very first time. I’m so proud of him I could explode.

It was exhausting, exhilarating, and extraordinarily stinky (read on for why – I’m not just talking about sweat here friends).


Ry sent me the following in an email that I read the next morning. I cried. I had to share it. I think this will resonate with you too.


I’m sharing it here with his permission. He’s a much better writer than me. I’m always telling him he needs to write a blog, write a book, just write. Then I realized – it’s not my job to write well – it’s my job to just write.


I tell stories.


Here’s Ryan’s story (with very little copy editing from me) about the lessons our kids are here to teach us.



My uncommon IDOL.  

This weekend was a change of pace for the family, and this disruption in addition to causing extreme exhaustion also caused some disruptive reflection.

I'm not a person who really idolizes people—I don’t believe being or emulating someone else will in any way be advantageous to my state-of-mind, or make me a better person, but today it became quite obvious.

I do, I should and I hope I will...


Be more like my SON.  


Jacob just played 16 (SIXTEEN!) games over two days, helped two teams realize championship outcomes, playing a position he just started not much more than 8 weeks ago, and he did it like a boss.

He never complained, 8 plus hours of hockey and not once did he say I'm tired, I'm hungry, this hurts, I can't, I won't, I don't want to. He celebrates every victory his teams achieved, and he doesn't dwell on the disappointments.


My son is HUMBLE, he received more than his fair share of compliments over the weekend and he accepts each and every one of them with a simple down-gazed smile from what I presume is his own discomfort with being singled out in an unsolicited manner.


My son knows how to LISTEN, I mean really listen and to observe the lesson. He was given advice by the guest teams’ Coach, and immediately tries the advice, or repeats the lesson told.


My son understands VALUE, at the conclusion of the 2nd place Silver Mites victory, the team he was guest goal-tending for presented him with a puck (the sole recipient), he smiled politely and again— brief eye gaze and then down to his skates.

When we got home I explained that his plastic and marble trophies are just reminders of instances of a job well done, but the puck—that's the trophy that means something. It’s the one he was given for being there for others, and giving it his all— he immediately got it and promptly relayed this tidbit to his sister.


My son is TENACIOUS, giving it his all this weekend meant pissing his pants during one of his back-to-back-to-back games because he didn't want to get off the ice and allow his team to be scored on, that is some hard-core shit.

(This deserves repeating:)

He peed his pants because he didn’t want to leave the net and let his team down.

My son is pleased with SIMPLICITY. I told Jacob I would give him a dollar for every save over the weekend and I now realize he placated my external stimulus attempt. He did everything anyone asked of him, was elated to get his tokens of appreciated and when we got home I gave him 30 bucks (I'm certain there were more saves but it was all I had).

My wife found that 30 dollars on the floor an hour later—he never put it in his bank, he just put it aside and forgot about it, in favor of some Xbox play time I promised him when we got home, on a game that he bought for himself. A game, by the way, I told him I’d split 50/50, but he still brought me the full price when I told him to pony up his share.

My son is the most HONEST person I know; in fact, I think he may be biologically incapable of lying.


My son is DETERMINED to excel in everything he does, including academics which he proves every test, every quiz, and every book on hockey he consumes.


My son is a BELIEVER. He believes people are kind, that the dark is scary, that Santa is real, that God made a lot of shit, that elf-on-the-shelf really leaves him and Talia notes, and that he can be awesome at anything he wants to do. He lives with one of the most cynical, jaded, angry, and foul-mouthed people I'm sure he knows, and he doesn't lose his FAITH.

He doesn't express the anger, he doesn’t discourage himself to failure, he doesn't quit, he sees our differences (him and I), and he chooses his.


My son is SELFLESS.  Since I'm pondering my son's qualities that I admire, it reminded me of a story Jacq told me when they visited me at work in Chicago this past year.

They were walking around the Magnificent Mile (you know that commercial hell-hole for the haves to buy shit they don't need) and Jacob passed a homeless guy and expressed his concern for this guy needing some money and asked Jacq if he could give him some. After gaining approval, he didn't give him his loose change but rather, he gave him $5 - all he had in his pocket, but also a disproportionate share of his savings, and he did it without complaint, and without asking for reimbursement at the next available opportunity.


My son is LOVING, with every ounce of his being, the seasons, his sport, his family, his pets, not with the cynical tit-for-tat, quid pro quo kind of adult way – but the innocent cry for his two dogs that passed away months and months ago out of the blue kind of way. The way that really hurts, that seems like it means everything, not the kind that we attach artificial value and theatrics to, in order to gain some attention or achieve some temporary artificial gains.


My rambling doesn't adequately express my admiration, my respect, my pride, my joy, and the love that I have for my son.

He is my IDOL, and I hope that over time, I can be more like him, and he will continue to be less like me.

PS - 10 things to say to your kid after sports and which way to the arena?