Friday, February 10, 2017

Caps/Dreams for Kids 2/10/17

Today was Zachary's 5th time participating in Dreams for Kids DC's Caps hockey clinic. Read about our previous experiences here: 2016201520142013.

Zachary is now almost 9 and in third grade. His cerebral palsy causes his brain to have trouble communicating with his muscles. Every year, he gets stronger and more coordinated but he still can't stand on skates, so this clinic is the only time he gets to go on the ice.

Zachary was very excited to discover the Anaheim Ducks practicing on the other rink when we arrived at Kettler today. Though we watch the Caps practice quite frequently, he has never seen another NHL team.

After watching the Ducks practice over a quick lunch, we headed down to get the sleds and hit the ice. Special thanks to Zachary's volunteer Anum and all of the other volunteers who helped everyone get their gear and onto the ice safely.

Zachary still enjoys being pushed around the ice, but his focus has changed to wanting to play hockey. As soon as we got onto the ice, he began looking for the foam pucks and sticks to play with.

The first person with a stick that Zachary saw happened to be Caps defenseman Karl Alzner. Karl nicely gave Zachary his stick to use; once Zachary got his hands on it, he wasn't letting go!

Both Karl and defenseman Brooks Orpik were so great with the kids - you can tell they are fathers themselves.

Zachary had a great time shooting the foam pucks with the other kids and volunteers and played happily for an hour until it was time for the group picture.

We really look forward to this event every year and can't thank both Dreams for Kids DC and the Capitals MSE Foundation for organizing.

To see all the photos and videos I took today, please check out my Google photo album. Please don't republish any photos without attribution.

Here are a couple of stories about today's event. I'll link to more photos and videos as they become available

Thanks for reading!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Caps/Dreams for Kids 2/19/16

Zachary and I got to participate in Dreams for Kids DC's Extreme Recess with the Caps for the fourth straight year. Read about our previous experiences here: 2015, 2014, 2013.

Zachary, who is almost 8 and in 2nd grade, has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. This means that his brain has trouble communicating with his muscles. He has to practice a physical skill many, many times before he learns it. For example, he was almost 2 before he learned to sit up and nearly 4 when he started walking. He has gotten pretty good at walking but still has weakness throughout his legs and ankles, so he can't wear ice skates yet. Luckily for him, this event provides sleds for kids who can't skate. This is unique since sleds aren't permitted during public skates so this is the only time during the year that Zachary actually gets to go on the ice. We are huge hockey fans, and spend a lot of time at Kettler and Verizon Center, so it's a big deal to him when it's *his* turn.

Zachary couldn't wait to get in his sled and go. As in previous years, he wanted to be pushed around for the entire hour and hated when he was stopped.

One of the videographers attached a GoPro to the foot of the sled. Zachary was fascinated by that. I am hoping to get the raw footage because it was pretty cool.

He enjoyed interacting with Caps defenseman Taylor Chorney and Caps forward Tom Wilson, but his favorite "hockey celebrity" is definitely Slapshot.

He was excited when they brought out the sticks and foam pucks and he could "play" hockey like he does at home with his brother.

It is hard to describe how great it feels as a parent to see your child participating in an activity like this. I'd really like to thank all of the volunteers who take time out of their schedules to participate in events like this.

Thank you to Dreams for Kids DC for putting on activities like this throughout the year. And thanks to the Capitals and their MSE Foundation who do tremendous things for our community.

A photo posted by MSE Foundation (@msefoundation) on

To see all the photos I took today, please check out my Google photo album. Please don't republish any photos without permission and attribution.

There were a lot of photographers and media outlets present today, so I will link to their coverage here as well.

Thanks for reading!