Trying Stuff: Volunteering

With the exception of when I overheat during a workout, I’m always cold. ALWAYS. So it’s ironic that I find myself in various ice cold arenas 12+ hours a week. The trick to staying warm when you’re in a cold environment is being prepared and dressing in layers.

The prepared part means you’re talking to a girl who has a Costco sized box of Little Hotties Toe Warmers sitting beside her desk. The layers part means I’m constantly dressing and undressing depending on what I’m doing.

In the change room helping Hockey Playing Son get into his gear? T-shirt and a sweater.

Sitting in the stands watching his game? T-shirt, sweater, parka, boots.

On the ice helping out at speed skating? Baselayer, t-shirt, hoodie.

In the stands watching Speed Skating Son after I get off the ice? Baselayer, t-shirt, hoodie, winter parka, boots, and Little Hotties.

This is not an exaggeration. My speed skating mom posse sees me in my sleeping bag parka shivering away–three hours in a rink and a girl gets cold.

So you can imagine I was thrilled when Columbia Sportswear wanted me to take part in their Trying Stuff campaign because (a) I need warm gear and (b) I’m always trying new stuff.

The first package they sent me contained a Columbia Omni-Heat Heavyweight Baselayer (which is what I now wear on ice when I help the first class at speed skating) and a pair of OutDry Kiry Neve Gloves (which I haven’t worn yet).

And the theory behind this is that I wear the gear while I “Try Stuff.”

Only I can’t get my mind off the fact that last weekend Speed Skating Son’s Club Mini-Meet was cancelled because there weren’t enough volunteers. It was pretty disappointing for the kids. The older kids always have a great time racing against their teammates and for the newest skaters it’s the perfect opportunity to compete in their first meet in a friendly environment.

The first thought that went through my mind when I got the email the meet was cancelled was, “Crap! I should have signed up to do more. It’s my fault.”

This would be the exact reason I’m always over-extended, but that’s a whole other story.

Listen, I get it. There are a million reasons not to volunteer. You’re busy, schedules conflict, there are younger siblings who need to be take care of. I’ll be the first to tell you I didn’t volunteer the whole first year Speed Skating Son was in speed skating (why yes, I do feel guilty about it, thankyouverymuch).

This year, I started helping out on the ice at speed skating. I had no idea what to expect when I volunteered to do it. I knew it would take a re-balancing of my schedule, a husband who would support it, and on occasion when my husband had to work, for my two boys to be patient and wait for me while I was on the ice.  What I knew for sure is that the younger kids in speed skating need more people on the ice to help keep them organized and if I could do it, I would.

It’s taken me a few weeks to feel comfortable out on the ice. I’m good at volunteering in the classroom but out on the ice is out of my comfort zone…this is something we’ve established in the three years I’ve been writing here, n’est–ce pas?.

But I love it. I love being on the ice with these kids. No matter how crappy I feel before I go on the ice, within minutes I’m in a good mood. These kids… THESE KIDS…they make me grin. Their stories, their jokes, their confidence, their smiles…it’s amazing.

So in the theme of “trying stuff” if you’re a parent and you can volunteer in a way that will help your child in a sport–not just speed skating, any sport–try it. Whether it’s a big position or small, you will both walk away smiling.


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About Sharon

Sharon DeVellis is a mother, wife and writer who can uncork a wine bottle in less than 10 seconds but buys twist-offs for emergencies. She’s currently in therapy to stop talking about herself in third person.
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6 Responses to Trying Stuff: Volunteering

  1. Pingback: Trying Stuff: You Decide | Speed Skating Mom

  2. sueg says:

    I don’t have kids, but when I lived in Oakville, I phoned up the girls little league and asked if they needed volunteer coaches. They asked what team my daughter was on and I said I don’t have any children, but I like to play softball. Boy were they astounded! I coached for two years until my health turned wonky, then I umpired for two years and moved away. I like it a lot. I liked how the girls improved over the summer, I enjoyed pointing the 4 year old’s at the pitcher, asking everyone to check their shoelaces when they were in the field (nine heads drop down!). The parents seemed to enjoy themselves and I only almost walked off the field once when one of them was pretty sure he was a better umpire than me….”You want to call it…here go ahead and I will go home!” I now volunteer at our local thrift store, St. John Ambulance Therapy Dogs and ostensibly on the list for Women in Crisis (they never call me). I also lay out a National Dog Breed newsletter. I believe in volunteerism and giving back to my community in small and larger ways. But unlike you folks, I don’t have children and husbands so I can afford to do what I do. But I do know that whatever you can do, be it bake for a bake sale or ride a bus on a school trip or help ESL kids learn to read english…it’s all appreciated and important to whoever needs you.

  3. Paula H. says:

    Parents/volunteers make the world of sport go round. These are the people who help fundraising and run the meets that kids attend. The coolest part is you get to learn more about the sport your kids love ( and in turn, you, love). Learning to officiate is one thing that really helps understand the sport. Last summer Olympics there was news that a kayaker or canoeist was dealt demerits by his mom at one of the gates! People thought it was kind of funny, but this is who shows up to learn these jobs. We are there all the time, why not be involved?
    Love your blog.. It reminds me to say ‘yes’.

  4. Laura B. says:

    I just signed up for/was commandeered into preparing the monthly newsletter for my daughter’s gymnastics club. The gym has in-floor heating so a baselayer is unnecessary. I could probably use some gloves though because it is officially WINTER in Alberta.

    You need those reusable hand warmer things! There’s a supersaturated salt solution in a silicone pouch with a metal disc inside… you snap the disc and it gets super warm and toasty, and when it cools off and hardens you just boil it for a few minutes to reset it. Very cool. Or should I say hot. Ha…

  5. So sad to hear about the cancellation for lack of volunteers. The kids must have been so disappointed. It can be difficult to see how you can fit volunteering in, but it’s so rewarding when you do!

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