Arsene Ben

Arsene Ben

Turning 18 can be a traumatic time for a young adult. These days, instead of representing endless possibilities, an 18th birthday can leave one staring into a huge, empty void. High level organized sports stop at age 18 for all but the tiny tip of the pyramid. With the end of high school comes the end of band, choir and musicals for most kids as well.

I never really noticed this until I watched Ben graduate from high school this summer. A nice banquet, some awards, a final concert or two, then it was over. I don’t think he’s touched his trumpet since and has only picked up his guitar a handful of times. Instead, it’s on to grown up things like working and figuring out his future.

Ben’s soccer career also made a big shift, although that took until October. His club team qualified for Nationals as Saskatchewan champions, so Ben spent Thanksgiving in Newfoundland squaring off against powerhouses from BC and Ontario. But then, it was over. The next level is University soccer, but Ben’s not interested. So his competitive ‘career’ is over, although he is loving playing on a recreational adult team once a week.

So I was thrilled when Ben was asked to help coach his former high school team. He worked with the rookie goalkeepers and gave pointers to the back line. It seems like he took a turn at some of the drills too.

Thanks to a solid midfield and blazingly fast forwards, his team won the City Championship last night and Ben was all dressed up on the sidelines. I think he was as happy with this medal as the one he won as a player in Grade 9.

The head coach insisted on suits for the coaches for the final game, joking that he wanted to look like Pep Guardiola. In my mind Ben looks a little like a young Arsene Wenger. Likely just a proud father vision there.

I hope Ben keeps coaching. That’s something that can last well past 18, or even 36. Who knows, maybe he can get me tickets to an Arsenal game one day.

Whycocomah? Because it is there!

Our last night on Cape Breton was at the lovely Whycocomah Provincial Park. Huge grassy sites with great views of the village across the water.

One unique "feature", however is the placement of the washrooms. They’re quite a way from our site, and way down the hill too. The quad and glute workout is free!

In the pic, our tent is up and to the right of the picnic table waaay up the hill.

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Skyline Trail: Foggy then spectacular

We revisited the Skyline Trail in Cape Breton Highlands Park, although we weren’t sure what to expect. It was one of the highlights of our 2005 trip but this morning was very foggy.

The trail started like a trip through the Forbidden Forest, and by the time we made it to the headlands we couldn’t see a thing. We spent about 30 minutes taking pictures of the nothingness.

Then, just as we were heading back down the trail, the skies cleared. We hurried back to a glorious view of French Mountain, the headlands, and the ocean. We could see clear across to Cheticamp. Well worth the wait!

It was also cool to run into Monica Rivers and her family on the trail, who are also from Regina. Small worl indeed…

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Cape Breton Highlands

The early morning fog doesn’t detract from the views; I think it enhances them.

This is one of Canada’s most beautiful places.

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Foggy Day at the Beach

When you’re retracing your steps from five years ago, you just have to go for it, no matter what the weather. Today that meant a trip to Marguerite Beach on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore. It’s a beautiful white sand beach that just screams out for playing in the surf.

We did just that – fog or no fog – and had a great time. The water was absolutely freezing, but that’s what the Atlantic is all about!

It was a great day that we topped off the same way as our first trip – fish and chips and a lobster roll at the little red shack at the side of the road at Musquodoboit Harbour. Yay!

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