Taking my son to a Rangers game

Saturday, November 12, 2011 | | 0 comments

Last night at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium, the Kitchener Rangers faced the Sudbury Wolves in OHL hockey action. As always on a Friday night, every seat was filled and the building was buzzing.

Though no one would have noticed, a man with an 11-day moustache and a brutal head cold led his six- year-old son up the stairs, to the very last row of seats in the building. It was the first time the father had ever taken his son to watch a hockey game.

We were sitting next to a very young couple, their baby and a portable car seat beside them on the floor. A father and his son, who looked like veterans of Friday night hockey games, sat on the other side of us. I hoped they would all tolerate some coughing and a bit of seat kicking from the two jokers in the neighbouring seats.

My son became thirsty immediately, so we left our seats in search of water and the popcorn “with lots of butter” he had asked for all week long. Returning to our seats, I was surprised to realize that the baby beside us was a very lifelike doll! The young couple was either practicing to be parents or perhaps were the strangest people in the building that night.

After a nice Remembrance Day ceremony and the singing of the national anthem, the game began. In the first minute of play, my son turned to me and said, “Daddy, this is boring.” He either expected players to shoot out of cannons while a laser show lit up the air or he was testing me and I highly suspected the latter. I chose to ignore the comment and my son settled in and seemed to enjoy the action on the ice.

The Rangers scored the game’s first goal on a power play and my son covered his ears when the crowd roared. The noise had obviously overwhelmed the “baby” who awoke from its sleep and its mother was now feeding it a bottle, all of which I pretended not to notice.

I had asked my son to see if he could make the water bottle last the entire game, but midway through the first period I saw it was nearly gone and I couldn’t help but think the popcorn was at least partially to blame.

He asked me during the second period if he could get a souvenir and I told him that the program I purchased on the way in was his souvenir, but he was clearly unimpressed. I realized then that the program hadn’t been a great idea and told him we could see what else was available between periods.

At the souvenir store a Kitchener Rangers flag caught his eye and we returned to our seats so he could wave it in every direction, nearly hitting people and lifelike dolls on all sides of us. The flag had to be confiscated, but flag waving was replaced by a hearty cheer of “Let’s go Rangers!” from my son that, surprisingly, didn’t catch on in our section.

The Rangers won 4-3 and we left happy. My son couldn’t stop talking about the game or the experience on the drive home and it made me smile.

Years from now, we can refer to the program and say we saw players like Matia Marcantuoni before they played in the NHL and I’ll remind him that Ryan Murphy, perhaps the most talented player on the team, had been out with an injury that night.

I doubt my son will remember any of the details of his first Rangers game, but he’ll remember that we went together. I’ll remember that I had a horrible cold that under any other circumstance would have caused me to cancel my plans. But as long as I was breathing, I wasn’t going to cancel that game. It just meant too much to miss.

To both of us.

Movember update: Day 8

Tuesday, November 8, 2011 | | 0 comments

Eight days into into Movember and I thought I should provide a quick update on my experience so far.

My moustache is growing in nicely, although to assume there is anything nice about it might be a stretch. I’ve attempted to go with a conservative looking stache, but have already been told that I look a bit like Freddie Mercury, a look I was not necessarily going for.

My kids are having a great time watching the moustache grow and telling their friends why I’m doing it. My son has taken to calling me “Moustache Man” and delights in telling people that because it’s the month of November, but I’m growing a moustache, that it’s actually MO-vember, followed by hilarious laughter. I wonder if six year olds everywhere are getting this much enjoyment out of Movember?

Walking into work on Monday was very interesting. Coworkers went out of their way to see how the moustache looked on me, most of them laughing immediately. Despite what I thought was plenty of advance warning, one still recoiled in horror when she saw me and I worry that I may have actually offended her with my appearance.

I passed another coworker in the hall and the only words spoken were, “Oh no.” I suspect this will not be the only time I’ll be hearing these words.

I had lunch with two coworkers and as we were getting ready to head back to our desks, they both said how distracting the moustache had been for the past hour. I suppose that’s a really good thing?

I’ve often heard people say that Movember is such a great cause. Of course they’re right, but I can’t help but wonder also if that’s not a way to avoid saying what they really think – that perhaps a moustache isn’t my best look?

I read in the original instructions that I’m responsible not only for growing a moustache, but also for grooming it. Aside from shaving it into shape, I haven’t done any grooming and don’t really know what I might need to do in the future. If tools of any sort are required, I certainly don’t have them and might find myself at a severe grooming disadvantage.

The best news is that I’ve had solid support from family and friends who have made very generous donations. I’m thankful that I have so many people in my life that care enough to support me as we raise money for cancer research.

If you’d like to support me by making a donation, here’s the link. And remember, it’s for a very good cause.

Thank you.

3 ways life is like a sales funnel

Monday, November 7, 2011 | | 0 comments

Sales organizations are fond of using something called a “sales funnel” to track all of the open opportunities of their sales teams. The idea is that you need a lot of potential opportunities at the wide end (or top) of the funnel because most of these will fall out (decide not to buy something), for one reason or another, before they get to the bottom. Only by filling the funnel with enough high quality prospects, the thinking goes, will there be a steady stream of buying customers at the bottom of the funnel.

It struck me today that maybe we can borrow this concept when we think of our own lives. Here are three ways a sales funnel is like a life funnel:

1. Quantity counts

Sales Funnel: Sales is often called “a numbers game,” meaning that with enough prospects in your funnel, you’re likely to end up hitting your sales targets.

Life Funnel: When you look at your own life, do you have enough experiences and activities that excite you or do you need to prospect until your funnel has enough to keep you happy?

2. Prospecting never ends...even when we’re busy

Sales Funnel: The successful salesperson is constantly prospecting for new business, especially when they’re about to lose prospects that fall out of the funnel and become buying customers. When business is good (and busiest!), the successful salesperson makes time for prospecting.

Life Funnel: Even if you’re content in your life at the moment, might you want to take on some new experiences that could turn into things that you really enjoy? Does the feeling of being “too busy” prevent you from looking for new opportunities? What happens when/if your current activities lose their appeal?

3. Quality counts too

Sales Funnel: The successful salesperson is honest about the possibility of each opportunity turning into a sale or falling out of the funnel. The smartest work those that have real potential and get the others to say “no” so they can remove them from the funnel.

Life Funnel: How many activities or experiences in your life funnel do you truly enjoy and how many are just taking up space because you haven’t had the courage to admit they don’t really fit in your life? Do you commit most of your time to the things that have the biggest impact on your happiness? Are you ready to remove things from your funnel that aren’t important and never will be?

When I think about my life funnel, I want to make sure I’m keeping it filled with the things that matter to me: my family, my health, my career, rewarding experiences and adventures, my 500 words. I need to make sure I’m prospecting to add more positive experiences, and at the same time I need to get rid of some things that are just taking up space in my funnel.

How about you?


Wednesday, November 2, 2011 | | 0 comments

A couple of days ago, I decided to participate in Movember, meaning I’m going to grow a moustache for the month of November, trying to raise as much sponsorship money as I can, all in the name of prostate cancer research.

Though I made my decision just a few days ago, I’ve known this was coming for an entire year. I started my current job midway through last November and noticed immediately that either my workplace really embraced Movember or I had somehow accepted a job in 1973. As I had missed half the growing season, no one invited me to take part, but I knew I would get the email this year, and I did.

I must admit that it wasn’t an easy decision. I’ve grown beards on vacations, that sometimes became goatees, and some of those lasted a few weeks after I had returned to work, but never have I grown a moustache. Of course there are men that look great with moustaches, but I highly suspect I’m not one of them and that my moustache may well make me look like a buffoon.

So, I took the question home with me and decided I’d ask the opinions of my two biggest fans - my kids. My son told me flat out that I should not do it. He told me that I look a lot better clean shaven, and then added that I look a lot better when I don’t wear my glasses. Before Honesty Hour had a chance to really take off, I thanked him for his opinion and quickly left the room.

My daughter was far more kind and seemed to like the idea. I asked her if I should grow something really wild and she said I shouldn’t, that it would make me look too mean. She said I’d look nice with a simple moustache and I felt like she put more thought into her answer than my son who was probably wondering why he hadn’t said something about my haircut.

My daughter then asked me why I would be growing a moustache and I told her that it was to raise money for cancer research.

“Oh, if it’s for cancer research, then you’ve got to do it, daddy!”

I realized at that moment that my daughter was completely right. Whether I look like Tom Selleck or Borat at the end of the month, it doesn’t matter a bit. This is a great cause and I’ve got to do it.

Our family, like nearly all families, has been touched by cancer and this is my very small way of trying to make a difference.

If you’d like to sponsor me, please click on this link.

Thank you.