Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Chapter 26: Look Out Below!

It was the weekend before Columbus Day, 2008.  My business partner, Scott got married.  I was the best man.  If I ever become a stand up comedian it will be because of the euphoria I experienced telling shitty jokes I found on YouTube.  

Scott hopped a plane to Vietnam for his honeymoon.  I went back to the office to deal with the collapse of Bear Stearns.   When I committed to sending Max of to prep school I had no idea that the global economy, as well as my own net-worth, were teetering on the edge of a cliff.  Things, as you are well aware, got ugly fast.

So, Scott was gone for two weeks...I was back in the office for two days.  I didn't tell Scott, but I had plans to travel back to New Hampshire for the Tilton School's parent's weekend and to watch play with the Monarch's AAA U18 midget team in a Columbus Day weekend tournament.  I figured I could easily do my business remotely.  What I didn't count on was the world nearly coming to an end.

Kyle and I hopped our Jetblue flight around noon on Wednesday.  The stock market was down a couple of hundred points.  I was watching CNBC on the flight.  As fascinating as this was, I've seen volatile markets before.  I nodded off before take off and woke up an hour later somewhere over Arizona.  The market had closed down nearly a thousand points.  I was in shock.  I called my assistant from the plane and told her to take messages and I'd call my clients back when I landed in Boston.  I spent the ride from Boston up to my friend, Doug's house in Meredith, NH on my phone returning calls.  

The next morning we saw somewhat of a "relief rally".  The market rebounded just because of how much it had dropped the day before.  I worked from Doug's house on my computer all day on Thursday.  The news was getting worse and I could tell from how the overnight markets were trading that Friday was going to be ugly.

I decided to find the nearest UBS office, which happened to be in Concord, nearly an hour south of Meredith and twenty minutes south of Tilton.  Friday was the day of the Parent's weekend where we were to meet with Max's teachers.  I couldn't go.  Kyle went ahead.   I headed to UBS.  

I normally start my day at 6:30 am.  That's what time the stock market opens on the west coast.  I got into the office this day at that time...only it was three hours before the NYSE opened.  I spent the next 10 hours talking non-stop to clients, one after the other.

My advisory group practiced a diversified asset allocation approach to managing risk.  In this free falling market, nothing, other than cash was safe.  Normally if one asset class is falling, something else is rallying.  There was such a high level of fear that nothing was safe.  We were in the midst of a global economic meltdown.  Babies, bathwater...everything was being thrown out.  My message to my clients was to not panic.  Some listened.  Others didn't.  I had clients who bailed at the worst possible time, locking in their losses and have never recovered.  Most people held steady and came away just fine.  Others snapped up bargains and made a killing.  My job was to manage fear and temper greed.  Fear ruled this day.  I missed my son's parent/teacher's conferences.  

The rest of the weekend was spent enjoying watching Max play with the NH Monarchs.  This was the first time I'd seen him since he left a couple of months earlier.  He looked great.  He'd grown.  

Tilton, like other prep schools requires that students participate in activities each semester, or season if we are speaking athletics.  Some of the hockey players played either football or soccer in the fall.  Most of them participated in a strength and conditioning program.  So my kid got to lift weights every day and it was paying off.  

I forget how they did in the tournament, but the Monarchs played well.  I really missed watching Max play.   Here's a brief clip of a 
goal he set up.  He's 21 in white.  

By the way, I started a new discussion on the message board around that time for people interested in California kids playing prep school hockey in New England.  I wrote in detail about the experience.  This was in my pre-blogging days.  If anyone actually finds this stuff interesting you can check it out here.  Actually, I just checked it out and here is the post I made after this trip:

Just back from my first trip of the season to New England. When I say season, prep tryouts don't start until Nov 11th and the season kicks off with a Thanksgiving Tournament. 

However, they get 4- 1 hr 15 min sheets of ice a week= 6 hours for "captains practices"...


my son has been playing with the NH Monarchs 18u Tier 1 91 birthyear team for the fall season. They play out of the same rink as the EJHL Monarchs and the AHL Monarchs practice rink. They play a split season. Just finished a tournament that I had a chance to watch this weekend. They played Eastern Mass Senators and Buffalo Saints(St. Francis Prep school's Fall midget team). They have their state playoff the first weekend in Nov., then regionals the next week. After that off to the prep season. The regional champions get back together after the season to go to nationals. Most players are in prep school with a few from the local public schools.

Very competitive. Fun to watch. The midget season is basically played as a warm up for the prep and high school leagues. Lots of exposure to New England colleges. 

Some interesting differences between socal and new england hockey. Much more puck movement, quicker to headman the puck to open linemate, less dangle, more physical and the refs call nothing. Lot's of slashing, hooking elbows as well as very aggressive use of the body. 

Can hardly wait for the school season to begin. Keeping our fingers crossed for tryouts. 

This discussion has received over 57,000 views since I started it.  I think that is the second most of any discussion on the site.   I will be going back through some of the posts to jog my memory and see if there is anything worth sharing here.

So the journey had begun.  A dream I had when I was a kid had gone unfulfilled.  My son was living the dream.  His dream?  My dream?  That's up for discussion but regardless this was the beginning of the next phase.  Unless there would be something unexpected we knew the plan for the next two years.   

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this, but Max would be repeating his junior year, the year he'd just completed in San Diego.  Some schools suggest new students repeat the grade they just completed in high school.  Others require it and yet others don't allow it.  Tilton suggested it and we felt it was a good idea.  There is another way that some kids opt to attend prep school. They graduate from their high school and do a PG(post graduate) year. 

Our hockey director for the Gulls youth organization was not a fan of prep school hockey.  His critique was based on the length of the season(late Nov-early March/too short) and the limited number of games.  Prep schools are limited to a maximum of 35 games for the season.  

The Youth season starts at Labor Day and goes through February when state, regional and national playoffs begin.  With playoffs the season can last into April.   Many youth teams play anywhere between 50 and 80 games.   They get two or three practices per week. 

The argument for prep schools include the fact that, even though there aren't as many games, teams typically have their own rink on campus and they practice every day.   Add to this the opportunity to play in the midget hockey split season and the number of games turns out to be between 55 and 60.

I would make one more trip back to New Hampshire in November before the midget travel season concluded and Tilton's hockey tryouts would begin.  

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