Why… hello there! I almost forgot about you… almost. It’s been over 3 years since my last post! So much has happened, I don’t even know where to begin. Some pretty big events include: moving to Bellevue for an Internship, graduating University, moving out of Toronto to Seattle (in the U.S. of A) for work, and starting my first full-time just job to name a few.

It’s pretty interesting that I ended up in the USA because my family entertained the thought of moving down here back when I was in middle, but I *strongly* opposed that move mainly because of two reasons: no hockey, and American history (learning about Canadian history was good enough for me). Now, only a few short years later, I find myself living and working in the land of the free. Who would’ve thunk it? Not me, no siree.

One of the two reasons why I didn’t want to move here was mitigated because I finished school, so no American history for me! But how have I been able to cope with the lack of hockey?? Short answer: I haven’t, I’ve been slowly going insane =( I NEED MY HOCKEY!! Oy, but since there’s really nothing I can do about it and I didn’t want to sit around pining all day, I figured I would try to learn about America’s most popular sport… Football! Haha, Jacob playing football!? That’s crazy, right!? But not! I joined a flag football league with some of my colleagues and I’m starting to become a Seattle Seahawks fan (who have come off to an amazing start this season — 6-1!).

As I learn more about the sport, different positions and strategies, I’ve realized that Football mirrors the traditional core American values of different types of people binding and working together to achieve a common goal. All the individual members have distinct skills which contribute to the greater good of the collective unit. Each position in Football is unique and there’s a broad spectrum of athletic skills and body types. In this respect, it’s unlike any other sport I’ve played. For example, you wouldn’t want a lineman playing as a wide receiver. You also can’t succeed with a whole team of big strong lineman, nor can you succeed with an entire team of quick wide receivers. You really do have  to make use of the differences in size and skill to help the team succeed. All these different athletes who specialize in their respective positions are needed in order to be the best possible team. I think that’s why Americans love this sport so much. It reflects their diversity and how a group of seemingly different people can come together, work together, and in the end, reach a common goal.

That’s all I have for now… hopefully, my next post won’t be in 3 years.

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Need a break from exams?

August 6, 2009

I’m currently writing and studying for finals, so things have been quite hectic lately. I’m not really one for all-nighters, so I guess my schedule is a bit better than some of my classmates’.

After writing exams, I usually take a break to “recuperate”… don’t question whether that’s a good thing or not =P. And what better way to clear your mind than to hit the sand and play some beach volleyball!? (I say “sand” because it’s not really a beach… so I guess it can’t really be called “beach volleyball” either) There are these courts on campus beside FED hall which I’ve never been to. I like discovering these places on campus in my third year =P… just like that outdoor rink last winter. The courts are surprisingly really nice, soft sand with a strong firm net. The worst thing is playing with a flimsy net that droops down in the middle. Anyway, enough about the courts… myself and around a dozen of my classmates headed over after our ECE 325 (Microprocessor Systems and Interfacing) exam and played for about an hour. Though I hadn’t played volleyball in a long time, it was fun to get some fresh air and hit the ball around =). But now it’s time to hit the books again and study for the next exam… MTE 320.

Thirteen years later

April 24, 2009

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Patrick Roy – 1996 Carey Price – 2009

Carey Price’s reaction to Canadiens fans’ jeers was reminiscent of Patrick Roy’s gesture before demanding to be traded thirteen years ago.

Like ol’ times

March 25, 2009

I wrote about Sundin’s return to Toronto, and how he rekindled fond memories for myself and fellow Leafs’ fans. Well, last night it was Cujo’s turn. In what was a really surprising turn of events, Cujo also gave Leafs’ fans a stroll down memory lane.

Curtis Joseph (who happens to be my childhood role model and the reason why I started to play hockey) had to fill in for Leafs’ net minder Martin Gerber after he was ejected from the game. Gerber made contact with a referee and shot a puck in his direction after a questionable goal. (From another goaltender’s perspective, I think that the goal should not have counted. Since when can you pitch fork a goalie and the puck into the net? Surely, that’s not right.) In any case, he was gone for the rest of the game (0:57 in the 3rd period). The game was tied, so Joseph had to essentially “close” the game. He received 9 shots in less than 6 minutes of hockey and played a spectacular OT/SO. In the end, he stoned the entertaining Ovechkin to earn the 2 points for the Leafs. He was also the first star of the game.

What was so special about last night was really the atmosphere at the ACC. It must’ve been quite something. As the game progressed, with every spectacular save, the cheers for “Cu-Jo” just kept getting louder and louder. I had never seen or heard such excitement in Leafs’ nation since his last run with the Leafs’. It was like watching the Cujo from 1999 era. You would’ve have never guessed it was a 41 year-old backup. It was a game to remember and Joseph definitely deserved it. I have never seen a hockey player so humble and with so much class. Good memories.

Being a goalie myself, I really feel for Carey Price. The good news is that he seems to be regaining his confidence and is starting to win. Not too long ago, just after the All-Star break, he went through a stretch where he couldn’t even buy a win. I can only imagine all the pressure he received playing for the most successful franchise in the NHL. It must’ve been tremendously hard on the young goalie who played so well last year.

I was considering some of the young goalies who had great expectations: Marc-André Fleury, Rick DiPietro and Carey Price. Each had their own success before entering the NHL and had huge expectations. People expected them to save their losing teams and bring them out of their misery. What have I learned from their experiences? It’s that young goalies need time to develop, especially ones with so much talent and a bright future. I still remember everyone was criticizing Fleury and he was even sent to the minors before he could shine in last year’s playoffs. I told all my friends, “Just wait”.

I think that these goalies obviously have the skill; that is proven by their past success. They are so technically sound, they have goaltending down to a science (or an art). It’s not a question of whether or not they are good enough. However, one has to realize that goaltending has a lot to do with the mind. I would think that to make the jump to the NHL requires a different mindset, one that takes time to develop… Teams need to learn not to push the young players and need to give them time. I’m glad that Price was able to (dare I say it?) break through his slump, and it looks like he’s coming out from the other side of the tunnel. Just in time for the playoffs.

Today was CBC’s self-proclaimed “Hockey Day in Canada”. It was also Mats Sundin’s fist return to Toronto since joining the Vancouver Canucks. After spending 13 years as a Maple Leaf, this would be the first night Mats would step on the ice as a visitor and opponent. It was an emotional night to say the least. After watching Sundin lead the Leafs for so many years, I couldn’t help but respect the former captain and I believe the rest of Leafs nation felt the same way. During a commercial break, Leafs fans honoured Sundin with a standing ovation… and I could almost see a tear in his eye. this was quite unusual for Sundin who is known for his calm and collected demeanor.

But, hockey is hockey… a game still had to be played. And what a game it was; a close match, with many chances at both ends of the ice. In the end, a shootout was needed to decide the final outcome. Sundin was chosen as the third shooter for Vancouver and had the chance to win the game. And that’s what he did. What a finish! I’m just glad Sundin was given the respect he deserved.

“A class act for a class act” – Thanks Mats!

Winter is over?

February 16, 2009

In recent days, the weather here has been surprisingly warm! Not only has it been warm, but we’ve also received a lot of rain. This has caused most of the snow to melt and we can even see the grass on our property. It has definitely been a really weird winter. All this warm weather decided to arrive just after I brought my skates back for outdoor hockey… so I guess, no hockey?

Although it’s been warmer, I got this nasty cold that’s been circling around (sore throat, stuffy nose). I’m glad it’s the long weekend though, I can rest and drink lots of soup. Fortunately, I think I’m feeling a lot better today. Just need to keep drinking fluids!

We are the champions!

February 1, 2009

Tournament champs, that’s right! Yesterday, I played in an indoor Ultimate tournament. We finished with a record of 5-1, taking first place overall! Sure, we didn’t win a medal or anything for that matter, only bragging rights…

Quick summary:

We started off with a shaky first game – losing a close match. After that, we got in our stride and nothing could stop us, we went on to win the next 5 consecutive games. Everyone played and battled hard, every game just built on top of the one before.

The “finals” was an all-or-nothing match. We were scheduled to play the only undefeated team in the tournament. It turned out that if we won, we would take the whole tournament because of the head-to-head tie-breaker… and we did. It was a great experience… tiring, but well worth it.

Outdoor Hockey

January 24, 2009

Just two days ago, I made one of the most exciting discoveries of the season… I found out that we (the University of Waterloo) have an outdoor rink on campus! It’s beside REV, and in the summer it’s used as a basketball court. I do remember passing by several times and thinking to myself that it would make an awesome hockey rink. It already has boards on the two ends and is even shaped like a rink! I think they must’ve flooded it in the past as well. Anyway, I was super excited! It’s like having a rink in my backyard! Actually, when I was younger, I made two backyard rinks in two different houses. Each night, I would spend hours watering the rink, shoveling it and making sure that it was nice and smooth. Of course, I saved some time to skate around and shoot some pucks =D. I was crazy about hockey, and not to mention, had way too much time on my hands!

So, a couple of co-workers and I got together after work to play some shinny. It was quite warm that day, it went above 0°C, apparently this was the first time since December 29th. Because of this, the ice wasn’t the greatest, but hey, at least I got to play. The ice was rough and really soft, it totally ruined my skates. I even skated through this patch of pavement (Note to self: Get skates sharpened). But, in the end, we had fun and I hope to play again.

There’s something different about playing outdoors… Maybe it’s the crunch of the rough ice under your blades emanating from every stride and every turn, or the ability to see your breath as you take a moment to regain it. Whatever it is, the feeling is indescribable.