Wednesday, September 22, 2010

You Will Pay for Your Treachery, Sir

We heard that phrase on television last week, and now it's firmly in place as a standard.

This is how much Eli 9.1 loves hockey: after finding out what days he practices this fall (Tuesday and Saturday), he said, "So, if Christmas is on a Saturday, does that mean I have to miss practice, or can we still have it?"

He had two practices last week that each lasted 2 1/2 hours (extra long while they evaluated kids and assigned them to teams based on their skill levels). He skated as a player for the first half of the practice, then came off the ice and I changed him into his goalie gear for the last half. When he skated off at the end, he said, "If only that could have lasted another 30 minutes."
If you're wondering how long it took to change him from player gear into full goalie gear, it was 17 minutes (we timed it). I felt like I was in a NASCAR pit crew. It would've taken me 30 minutes, at least, at the beginning of the summer. Goalies have so much equipment that has to fit perfectly, and the learning curve for doing it properly is steep. Now, though, we're fairly precise, and he knows exactly what he needs to do to help me.
I watched him last night at practice and was completely floored by how much he's improving each week. Kids were doing a drill where they skated around cone with the puck, then took a shot, and he was stoning all of them. He's become very adept about not letting people shoot through him--nothing gets through the five hole, and nothing gets between his arms and his body. That sounds easy, but it's not so easy when you're nine.

Eli had one of his best friends (Craig) spend the night last Friday, and on Saturday morning, we all went to breakfast. The waitress (who we see every week and who spoils Eli rotten) found out that Craig was from Wisconsin, and asked when he had moved. "Four years ago," Craig said. "I lived down a dead-end and didn't have any friends."

Every year, when Eli goes back to school, he gets sick. He'll be healthy all summer, even though he's around kids at the day camps he goes to, but as soon as he gets back to school, he's catching something all the time. A few weeks ago, he said to me, "Dad, what do you call the next few months?"

"Um, Fall?" I said.

"Try again," he said.

"Football season?" I asked.

"Nope," he said, grinning. "It's the Season Of Sickness!"

"Hey, Dad," Eli 9.1 said, "Who first said that the moon was made out of cheese?"

"I believe that theory was put forth by cheese manufacturers," I said. Gloria laughed.

"One small bite for man, one giant bite for mankind," she said.

"I don't believe ANY of this," Eli said.

"The cheese manufacturers figured that if you thought about cheese every time you looked at the moon, then you'd eat more cheese," I said. "Actually, when the astronauts first landed, they try to make nachos with a solar oven."

"Rigggght," Eli said.

Eli is at an age where he is often profound without understanding why.

We were sitting at Krispy Kreme on Sunday, having breakfast, just hanging out. "Eh," he said, "you come, you go, you live your life." Then he paused for a moment and said, "I have no idea what that means."

"That's okay, little man," I said. "I do."

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