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Cheering for the Underdogs

13/04/2015 08:49

Hockey is instilled in us within our home & within my wee corner of the world eh.  How about you?  What’s your favourite sport to either play or watch?  Is it something else that speaks to your heart other than sports or is it a both and?  I am a “both and” kind of gal.  There are a myriad of favourites for me & the list grows each year. 

I love being a mom to our 3 sons.  Our home does not parallel an episode of “Leave it to Beaver”… we do real here.  We do big love, big noise, big cheers for one another & others in the world, big tears, big laughter…big time.  How cool is it as well to have not only permission but a sense of family duty to watch a good sized chunk of hockey.  Our 2 younger sons especially are big time into watching NHL hockey.  Night after night, Brian & Alex search out the hockey game on tv & we watch at least a period of each one together.  It is tough for them when it is bedtime & they have that cliff hanger sense as they do not know until the morning what the score was.  “Mom, come watch hockey with us” the boys say each & every evening.  Sentimental me realizes that one day I will miss these moments, these wee voices, and the noise & the big everything within the little moments that our sons bring to our lives & our home.  It takes no time at all to twist my arm so to speak to drop whatever it is that I am doing & instead sit down with Alex & Brian for the watching of hockey.  We are all pretty excitable during the games & we don’t subdue our cheers when a great save is made by the goalie or a score has been made by the team that we are cheering for.  Once the boys & I are all snuggled in for part of the game we have our routine of announcing firmly which team we are routing for.  9 times out of 10 Alex & I choose the same team to cheer on & Brian has a perfect record of cheering for the opposing team.  That rascal Brian though has a way of at least 90% of the time picking the team that ends up winning.  He did the same thing during Super Bowl as well while the rest of our family cheered for the opposing team.  Maybe my new strategy should be to wait to see which team Brian is cheering for & then join him.  The thing is though that goes totally against my nature in more ways than I can count.  I know that my definition of winning really has nothing at all to do with the score or who “wins” the game.  There is more to it for me.  It is about the passion & drive & heart that speaks to my heart about winning. 

On April 7th, the Islanders faced the Flyers.  We began watching this game a little bit into the second period & the Flyers were up 2 points.  I don’t look at the score before choosing which team I am cheering for each time.  Brian & Alex do look at the score though & I am not sure if this helps them to decide who they are cheering for or not.  Last night I was cheering for the Islanders & Brian & Alex were cheering on the Flyers.  Alex did admit that the score tipped him towards cheering on the Flyers this time around.  I think he may have even decided to cheer for the same team as Brian as Brian has an uncanny way of choosing the score winners so often.  The excitement in my opinion really happened in the last 5 minutes of the third period so it was too bad that Alex & Brian missed out seeing that.  It was thrilling to see the Islanders catch up & tie the game within the last 5 minutes of the game.  It was a nail biter to see the Islanders pull their goalie.  Was this an Underdog move?  I think so & I loved it.  I loved that they were playing all out in the hopes of tying up the game & going into overtime.  How cool that moment was when the Islanders did tie the game.  Then what a bummer it was when in less than a minute until the game’s end the Flyers zoomed in & scored the determining goal to end the possibility of the Islanders pulling a proverbial rabbit out of the hat.  The thing is though that it was a pretty terrific third period & I thought either team could have won score wise.  I loved that the possibility was there in that last 5 minutes.

Let’s leave the world of hockey & sports in general & share a different type of underdog experience.  In some way or another for as long as I can remember I have tended towards cheering for the underdog.  Here is a literal dog that may have at first appeared to be an underdog.  I love golden retrievers.  The first thought that I had once my husband & I moved into our first home was that we could have a golden retriever join our family.  I could not wait.  Both of my experiences with having golden retrievers join our family have been ones where the dogs have in one way or another chosen us.  My husband is very logical & rational so the choosing of a puppy was a methodical one to him.  He knew that I would be running on the usual abundant supply of emotions & that I would love every puppy that we went to see.  He tried to be the voice of reason.  I think he was also making sure that we only came home with 1 puppy too as a light aside.  Thankfully my husband is also a dog person so it took no convincing at all when I talked to him about my big time wish of being owned by a golden retriever.  We went out to the middle of the countryside to meet a litter of goldie puppies.  Not surprising I could not choose because I just thought they were all incredible.  My husband suggested that we go home & sleep on our decision about which puppy to bring home.  We did this & the next morning the decision was made however when we called about the puppy all the puppies had been spoken for by then.  My heart sank until the lady on the telephone told us about another lady named Eileen who had golden retriever puppies & provided her name & telephone number kindly to us. This call also lead to the gift of friendship with Eileen who is one of the very kindest gals I know.  This was meant to be.  It was absolutely clear to me exactly which puppy was to become part of our family.  It was the puppy that was huddled in a corner of the welting box all by herself not really liking being with the other puppies & being profoundly shy.  Hey, little puppy, there is something amazing inside you that I see I thought to myself.  I know how it feels to be big time shy & I know what it is like to open up the flood gates & find something within yourself to overshadow that.  Long story short & that is that this puppy who was named of course after tea, “Twinings” became our first furry sweetheart.  We will always be grateful for the 10 amazing years of smiles that Twinings added to each & every day.  She continued to be very shy around other dogs.  People though I am convinced were her clan.  Some days it seemed like she was a person in some ways more so than a dog.  She is the only golden retriever that I know of that could not swim.  It was kind of funny to watch her bound into the water & then attempt to walk on it & not be able to figure out the whole swimming thing.  The thing that set Twinings apart though was her braininess.  She was an obedience dog through & through.  My husband & I had no idea what we were doing when it came to obedience training but Twinings had a love of obedience competitions & so we naively just kept going to the next level with her.  She even did shows at the Sportsman Show & Exhibition Place in Toronto & she loved the pats on her fur afterwards…you would have thought that she might wag her tail right off.  She did scent article demonstrations beautifully & so much more & it was her braininess as I mentioned because my husband & I were learning as we went.  Twinings went on to get in the dog world what we think of in people world as the doggy PHD in obedience by the time she was two years old.  She was a snuggler & so smart & so affectionate & we have a place in our hearts with so many treasured memories with her.  Those we love always leave us too soon & that is how we feel about our first furry girl.  Many may have looked at Twinings as a puppy & merely seen the underdog…an overly shy puppy & moved on to look at the others.  My husband & I had first choice in choosing 1 of 8 puppies that day & my heart told me immediately the furry girl for us.  She really was no underdog at all but instead a magnificent gal.

Okay, so what do hockey & dogs have to do with diabetes?  That is an easy question for me to answer.  Each one of us are a beautiful original so please know that I am only referencing my own attitudes & feelings as I share this next part with you.  There will be people with diabetes or other 365’s that don’t see it the same way & there is nothing wrong with this.  Again, this is just my perspective.  There are many times when I feel like the underdog health wise.  Maybe it due to the combination of chronic illnesses that I have or maybe it is all due to type 1 diabetes.  Type 1 tends to have the loudest voice so to speak out of the illnesses that I live with.  I think that is because type 1 demands from me attention every minute of the day & night to sustain life.  Some days I think of myself as an underdog because I sometimes am late for activities because of an unexpected low blood sugar.  Sometimes I think of myself as an underdog because with the diabetes/celiac combination, social gatherings are complicated.  I do my best to uncomplicate the parts that I can for instance by taking a food dish or more to social gatherings so that I am not that pain in the butt person who makes a fuss out of what poor me cannot have.  I really have no patience for that kind of attitude.  I am more of what I can have versus what I cannot have person.  I like to fly under the radar as far as being a pain in the butt complicated person to hang out with goes.  To do that though it means that I have to be more planful so I kind of feel like I start out as the underdog because people without diabetes & or celiac can just naturally up & spontaneously enjoy gatherings without having to figure everything through in advance.  That was me once upon a time.  The thing though that I realize is that although I may feel like an underdog in some areas of my life like health that in other areas of my life I feel I have an edge in other ways.  I feel like I get it in other areas of my life.  My senses in other areas are sharper & I notice things that some people don’t see or get.  My other senses are magnified it seems.  This leads me to such an endless well of real & perpetual gratitude.  On a lighter note & speaking of cheering for the underdog, it makes me smile ear to ear every single time our 3 sons cheer & whoop it up when I announce a rare & delightful sighting of a gorgeous 5.5 on my glucose meter (that’s about 99 for my American Dear Hearts).  Did I mention the big noise in our home?  Sure I did & it seems to be particularly loud when our sons cheer to hear of the 5.5 & how cool is that!  It kind of makes me even more motivated to see more 5.5’s!  Maybe just maybe I am amongst the most joy filled, most grateful underdogs in my little corner of the world. 

My heart’s hope for you is that if you ever feel like the underdog that you realize too that feeling like an underdog in any one given area of life does not equal the whole you.  Look for the edginess within you that is magnified in a beautiful way.  It is there.  Ask the person who loves you most in the world if you cannot see it for yourself.  And for goodness sake, join me in living life right out loud returning often to the well of joy & gratitude.

Smiles, Saundie :)

One final word about hockey for this week.  The roof may have lifted a wee bit from the noise in our home last Saturday night when our favourite team, Montreal was playing & the game not only went into overtime but also a shoot out & then Montreal went away with the win.  This is the one team in our home that we all agree on so there will be big noise every time the team plays during the playoffs this year.  Yay Ottawa too.  And I will say that I am cheering for 5 teams so lots of things will go to the backburner during playoffs around our place & there is no guilt in that.  Next Monday's story has not yet been discovered.  Have a big dog kind of week :)