Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Turning Over a New Leaf

Mike put on his Leaf’s t-shirt this morning in anticipation of the NHL play-off game against the Boston Bruins tonight. The Bruins are ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs, two games to one, but Mike is hopeful his team is going to tie it up.  Mike is a faithful fan and an optimistic one as well. Yesterday when he woke up, he told me he thought the Canucks would make a come-back and win the game and go on to win the series. The Vancouver Canucks were of course down three games to none against the San Jose Sharks and many of their fans were calling them a bunch of bums already, but not Mike. He hasn’t said a negative word and when the game started, he was wide eyed, cheering on the inside. Unfortunately, Mike’s prediction was incorrect and the Canucks lost the game in overtime (Mike was close though. He had a vision earlier in the day that the game would go into overtime and Daniel Sedin would score. The game did go into overtime, but Daniel Sedin ended up in the penalty box and the Sharks scored). Mike cheered for them to the very end and was pleased they played well.

I have proudly written about Mike’s incredibly positive attitude many times, but Mike is human and he fell into a little slump last week. It’s unusual for Mike to be down, but it’s understandable for sure. Once in a while I think he just needs to grieve what’s gone, while 99 percent of the time, he is happy, content and thankful for what he has.
I noticed it on Wednesday and by Saturday Mike was still not himself. Nathan went to Kelowna for the weekend to play in an Ultimate Frisbee tournament, so Leah stayed with us. She came on Friday and having her over definitely helped, but Erin, Madison and I continued to work together to cheer him up.

Mike and I had plans to meet Mike’s good friends, Dan and Ron at the local casino to watch the Kentucky Derby horse race on Saturday afternoon. It’s tradition for Mike and his long-time friends to watch the famous race together.  They always got together a few times a year to go to the races, or a hockey game, or out for a burger and a beer. They love to talk about events at Riverview Hospital where they all worked at one time, or the games of ball hockey or slow pitch when they played on the same teams. Nothing causes their bond to become stronger than recalling fond memories, including past races won, remembering the names of the horses with smiles on their faces…Charlie’s Pride, Lucky Lady, Warm Annette…and now Ron’s pick, number 16, Orb who won the big race this year. I was really hoping Mike’s horse would win to help cheer him up. Mike’s horse started well, but landed somewhere in the middle of the pack. My two dollar, ‘win place show’ bet on number 4, Golden Soul made me fifty bucks richer and like the couple of other times I’ve placed a bet and won, I stopped while I was ahead .
Erin and Madison took Leah out so Mike and I could meet Ron and Dan. Mike was happy to see his good buddies, but I knew he wasn’t necessarily in the mood for the horse race. Mike always liked to study the racing program, he liked to do a little research on the horses running in the race and converse with the guys about the jockeys and the condition of the track etc., but Mike can’t do that anymore and it was disappointing.

Mike and I left right after the race. We walked over to the park across the street and spend some time there being disappointed. Alone together on a beautiful day in the shade, in a quiet place, to breathe, to grieve for a few minutes and then, onward!  We had asked Erin and Madison to bring Leah and meet us at the little pottery place on Dewdney Trunk Road so Leah and I could work on a project for Mother’s Day. Erin and Madison took Mike for a walk while Leah and I got creative.
I was glad for Mike because I knew Erin and Madison would take Mike back to the park, entertain him with witty banter and give him a head and neck massage (Erin’s famous head rub). When Leah and I were finished our project we went to meet them, the three amigos met us with three large grins and a picture. The two girls managed to get Mike in the photo booth at the mall…I don’t know how they did it and I can’t believe they did it, but they did it and they were proud of their accomplishment and had a priceless souvenir.

By the end of the day, Mike’s smile was back and he seemed himself. Wide eyed and cheering on the inside, he watched his team; the Leafs beat the Bruins that night and all was right.   
I finish this blog post during the second intermission of the Leafs game. It’s tied, 3-3. I’m also cheering on the inside for Mike’s team…”Come on boys win another for my guy Mike. He is one of your biggest fans!”

Today’s reading in My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers says: Perseverance means more than endurance – more than simply holding on until the end. A saint’s (Christian’s) life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, but our Lord continues to stretch and strain, and every once in a while the saint says, “I can’t take any more.” Yet God pays no attention, He goes on stretching until His purpose is in sight and then He lets the arrow fly. Entrust yourself to God’s hands

Erin calls this picture "The Three Amigos"
The Three Amigos, Ron, Dan and Mike - Kentucky Derby 2011

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