Who Are You Cheering For?

Hi Everyone,

It’s Sue here. Finn is letting me do a guest blog. (Thanks Finn!)

I was at a cross country meet a few weeks ago. It was classic x-country weather here in Nova Scotia: the wind was blustery and the sky was kind of dark. The leaves were blowing all over the place. The runners – from local junior and senior high schools – were toughing it out on a difficult course.

As a former x-country runner, I cheered for the top runners, who were really impressive.

But, do you know who I cheered loudest for?

The runners that were at the tail end of the race. They were the ones who might have been pretty new to running, or perhaps participating to fill out their school team. Maybe they were having a bad day, and not having a great race. One girl I saw looked like she had a cramp, but was finishing it out.

While these runners weren’t the ‘stars’, I was in awe of their determination and grit.

It brought me back to my first race, back in grade 9. I ran the 800m at the district championships, coming last… by a lot.

Encouragement goes a long way.

I wanted to give up – during the race, (I was mortified,) and after – but there were people on my team who convinced me to hang in there. I figured I’d stick with it a little longer anyway.

I’m glad I did.

I ended up running x-country and track in high school, ran varsity here at Dalhousie University, competed in Canada Games, and lots of national championships. It was awesome. I made my best friends through running. (I’m number 3, below.)

Now, years later, it’s some of the start line moments that stick with me:

In high school, I remember lining up for a provincial cross country race, incredibly nervous. The top runners, Robyn (Robyn Meagher, who would go on to be an Olympian in track), Alexa, and Lucy turned to the rest of us and said, “Okay girls, let’s all have a great race. Good luck!”

At Dalhousie, Lucy and Annick, our top runners (and national team members), were always positive and friendly toward more novice (or slower) competitors. Our team always wished everyone in the race good luck and a great run. We supported each other. The faster runners would always cheer in the slower ones from various teams.

These kinds of sportsmanship mean a lot. You never know who you’re going to inspire, or influence in a positive way.

So, next time you’re at a game, or a race, or any kind of competition, cheer for the ones who aren’t the stars. Someday they might be.

Either way, it’s going to make you a better sport, a better friend, and someone that gets the most out of sports. And that’s the best of sports.

Thanks for reading!

Have fun out there:-)




Are You Sick of Your Phone?


How was your summer? Mine was awesome:-)

Sorry I haven’t posted anything in a while. I was playing lots of tennis, visiting relatives in Canada, and hanging out with my friends.

Speaking of friends… Charlie, showed me this interesting article on how teenagers and kids are getting off social media. Or at least taking a break.

I can believe it! I don’t love just scrolling through my phone, seeing what my friends are doing. I’d rather be doing stuff with them! All my close friends are on the same page.

Plus, in my house, we’ve always had rules with our phones:

We never bring a phone to the table when we’re eating, and never upstairs at night.

We all have a drawer to put our phones away (even my parents), so they don’t distract us and pull us out of family activities, like movie night. (Although, with the last couple of movies we’ve picked, I could have used some distraction! Yeah, they were bad.)

I never thought much about it until we were on vacation, and my cousins were constantly on their phones. It was kind of a bummer. We were waterskiing (or at least trying to – I did get up for three and a half seconds), and my cousin was in the cottage on her phone, posting crap on Instagram, and checking to see what all her friends were doing. She totally missed out. (She also missed out on my spectacular wipe out, but that’s besides the point!)

And they all had their phones at the dinner table. I thought my mom’s ears were going to start spewing steam, she looked so miffed. (It was kind of funny.) I could tell that my little sister, Fiona, was disappointed too.

Finally, on the second last day of our visit, Fiona proposed an experiment: Everyone put their phones away, except to check them here and there. Everyone agreed, probably because Fi’s the youngest cousin, she’s cute, and everyone wanted to humor her.

But, you know what happened? Everyone had the best day of the whole vacation. My cousins, who are really cool, and all my relatives had the best day! And supper that night was hilarious. No one wanted to leave the table. My stomach actually hurt from laughing at all the great stories.

(The next day was fun too, but then we were leaving to come home, so everyone was bummed. Hey, we can’t help it if we’re popular!!)

I hope you’re having an awesome September! Don’t forget to put your phone down and experience it:-)

Bye for now!




Tennis Etiquette… Please!!


Okay, so I don’t usually rant about stuff in my blog, but… here goes:

We were playing doubles today against these two guys from another club, and they were so brutal to play with!

I don’t mean they were bad players – they were actually pretty good.

But, they were total jerks on the court. They were getting mad at each other for missed shots, and called some balls out that were definitely in. They were pumping their fists and pointing at us after they got a couple of good points. One of the guys did a number on his racquet, when he bounced it off the court. (They’re not built to do that!)

My buddy, Tom, and I felt like walking off the court, but we kept our cool. We kept our focus, and told each other we weren’t going to let those guys rattle us.

We ended up winning, by a lot.

After, we were talking about it with a couple of our teammates (who were watching the match), and we all agreed: Being a jerk on the court doesn’t pay. (Everyone knows the two guys we played, and no one likes them. That’s kind of brutal.)

One of the big things that our coaches teach us (translation: ram into our heads) is good court etiquette and good sportsmanship. It sounds old-fashioned, but being a good sport on the court (didn’t mean to rhyme that) makes the game way more enjoyable. People want to play with you. And you play better.

I looked up tennis etiquette, and found a cool guide to from Tennis Australia. (You Aussies are the best!) Check it out here.

So, whether you’re playing tennis or another sport… be a good sport. Whether you win or lose, it will make the experience more positive and fun!

Bye for now!


M is for Moderation!!


I’ve gotta show you something that I found in the news. My mom showed us, and asked my sister and I what we thought:

It’s a ban on juice and chocolate milk in schools, in a province in eastern Canada (near where my mom’s from). Check out the article here.

I get it.

But I don’t like it.

Yeah, I understand the ‘limit sugar’ thing… But chocolate milk also has all kinds of awesome nutrients. I drink it after practice, mixed with some white milk.

And juice has got lots of good stuff in it too. We eat tons of fruit and veggies. I never drink much juice, and I usually add a little water. Sometimes I have a little in a smoothie.

Anyway, the thing that bugs me about this ban is that they’re not teaching kids to use moderation. Like, don’t have a huge glass of juice. Just have a little glass, or a half a glass.  That’s called portion control! Or, mix your chocolate milk with white milk.

They’re also not getting them moving enough. If you read the article, those students hardly have any phys ed! That’s crazy. And, they sit all day in class. Maybe they sit around when they get home too. That’s bad!

One of my friends used to come over and drink about a half a carton of chocolate milk, because her mom wouldn’t buy it at home. So it became, like, this taboo thing that she went crazy on when she got here. (Not naming any names… Chris!)

Then my mom and her mom got chatting one day, and Mom said how we talk about healthy amounts of different things, like chocolate milk.

So now, chocolate milk isn’t this big deal anymore.

So, maybe, instead of imposing all these limits on kids and teenagers, people should teach healthy choices more!

Let’s start with moving more in schools, and showing kids that you can have balance with exercise and healthy food!

Sue and I wrote about how easy it is to have balance – after my buddy Charlie had some weight issues – in our first The F.I.T. Files book. Check out Balance It Out on my website. It’s really good!

Bye for now!


Try It! You’ll Like It… Maybe


How’s it going? I’m pretty pumped. We’re planning our summer! For me, that means lots of tennis, and also going to visit my cousins in Canada! I’m going to try sailing with one of my cousins in Nova Scotia!

What are you doing this summer? Are you doing your favorite sport? Or trying some new activities?

If you want to try something new, make sure you can try it, without having to stay in it all summer if you don’t like it. I mean, give any new sport or activity a good chance. But talk to your parents (or whoever takes care of you) about trying it ‘risk free’. That means you can check out a new sport or activity, without having to stay in it for a long time, if you don’t like it.

If kids (or anyone) feel like they have to do an activity they don’t like, it will make them not even want to try in the first place! My buddy Charlie tried a bunch of activities, and he ended up really getting into dance. You never know what you’ll like til you try…

Okay, Finn out!

Look Up! (And Put Something Down:-)


Hope you had a Happy Easter or Happy Passover or whatever you celebrate! Oh yeah, Happy Spring too!

This past weekend, we spent a bunch of time outside, and hung out with family and friends. It was awesome!

You know what I didn’t spend a lot of time with? My phone.

There’s a lot of research on how blah you feel when you spend too much time on your phone, and social media. They say it makes kids and teens feel unhappy, isolated, anxious, and depressed. Also, it’s easy to feel like like we’re not doing as many cool things as other people.

Check out a good article I read, right here, called:

‘How Smartphones Are Making Kids Unhappy’.

I get it. It’s a drag when you feel left out. Or if your classmates are going on amazing vacations and you’re not. Or showing their new clothes or sneakers (or tennis racquet!) on Instagram or Snapchat. Anyway, you have to be able to have perspective.

You also need to be able to put your phone away. We have rules at my house that you can’t have a phone or screen at the table, and you can’t bring it upstairs at night.

I wouldn’t say this in front of my parents, but I’m glad we have those rules. Whenever Mom has slacked off and let me be on my phone for a long time, I actually feel crappy.

The stuff that makes me feel better: hanging out WITH my friends (not texting), taking my dog, Ralph, for a walk, or getting outside. (Of course, tennis is my fave.) The other day, Mom got all frustrated with me, and said, “Finn, look up!” I did. Turns out, my little sister was baking cupcakes with Mom, and I helped them out… Okay, I mainly taste tested! I think we got icing everywhere, but it was fun!

Making connections with people for real does make you feel pretty good.

So, try it out! If you’re on your phone a lot, try doing something else social and active. I’ll bet you’ll feel better!

Bye for now!


It’s Cold Out There!

Hey! Happy New Year! Hope you had an awesome holiday!

Here in Chapel Hill, it’s, uh, freezing. Luckily, since I’m half Canadian, I have lots of tips on staying warm, especially when you want to be outside and active.

Step 1: Stay inside and drink hot chocolate… Just kidding!

Okay, for real:

The big thing is dressing for the weather. When it gets really cold in North Carolina, we have to haul out our layers. My Canadian cousins have all this stuff down to a science!

The secret is layering. First, you need a nice inner layer to wick sweat away from your skin, like a regular long sleeved shirt. (Believe it or not, when you’re active in the cold, you can still break a sweat and get pretty hot.) Then a mid-layer for warmth, like fleece, and an outer layer, like a winter coat or water resistant jacket, to block wind, snow, and cold air.

Mitts, a hat, maybe a scarf, boots if it’s snowy, nice thick socks, and you’re good to go! See, when you layer your clothes, you can adjust a little if you’re too hot (unzip or take off a layer), and it helps keep out the cold.

The Norwegians say that there isn’t bad weather, only bad clothing. I kind of get it. I don’t mind layering on warm clothes to have fun outside. With my Labrador retriever, Ralph, I kind of have no choice. He needs exercise, and he loves walking, running, and fetching in this weather! Like Ralph, my cousins in Canada get super pumped when it snows.

So, if you can, be like my Canadian cousins (and Ralph), and try to embrace the winter! If you dress warmly enough, it’s actually pretty refreshing to get outside. Even better if you can skate or ski, or go sliding! Whenever we’re in Canada during the winter, I have a great time, because there are so many fun winter activities.

It makes this cold snap here not seem so bad! Stay warm out there!

Bye for now!


Furry Gifts


So, I just came back from a walk with my favorite walking buddy. Yeah, my Labrador retriever, Ralph. He’s an awesome dog, and everyone who meets him knows it. (Not to brag or anything!)

The thing is, we passed this little girl and her dad, and she patted Ralph, asked what his name was, and said how much she wants a dog for Christmas. The dad looked like he was thinking about it.

So I said to them, “Ralph is so nice, because we spend lots of time with him. He takes me for lots of walks.” The girl laughed. The dad was really nice, and said, “He looks like a great dog.”
So I told him, “My whole family has spent a lot of time training him and we keep him really active, and hang out with him.”

(I’ve seen a few people get dogs and then not really give them much attention.)

He nodded like he got it.

This time of year, sometimes people think it’ll be cute to get a pet for Christmas. And that can be cool. But you have to be ready for a big commitment. It’s like adopting a furry kid.

Having a cool dog like Ralph doesn’t just happen. But if you’re ready for a big commitment, you’re gonna get back the best gift ever! (Oh yeah, you’ll also get a few ‘gifts’ when you’re housetraining them, so be ready, haha.)

Here are my tips for getting a new dog:

  • What kind of dog will fit into your life? Are you active? How much space do you have? That kind of stuff. Some dogs are better with kids. Some are happy to be lapdogs… (not Ralph).
  • Make sure to talk about (okay, Mom’s looking over my shoulder and said ‘really talk about’) the commitment that will go along with a furry ‘gift’.
  • If you get a dog over the holiday, make sure you have time for him or her. Don’t be going out to lots of parties and leaving your new family member behind, or have too much craziness in your house.
  • My number 1 tip: Check out the ASPCA (in Canada, it’s the SPCA) and see if your perfect friend is there. You’ll give a dog the best gift ever: a great home.
  • If you’re not sure if you’re ready for a dog, you can help friends or neighbours take care of their dogs. Or volunteer (with your parents’ permission). There’s lots of dog love out there to go around!

Whether you have a new pet this holiday season, or one that’s been in the family for a while, here are some great tips from the ASPCA, on taking care of your dog (or cat).

Speaking of taking care of your dog, I promised Ralph a treat, and he’s drooling on my knee, so…

Bye for now!


Active Gifts Are Awesome!


Can you believe it’s almost December? Thanksgiving was awesome as usual. Some of my Canadian relatives always come and visit for American Thanksgiving, because it’s such a big holiday, and kind of the unofficial start to the Christmas season.

Speaking of Christmas (shopping), this is Cyber Monday, where people do lots of their Christmas shopping online, and there are lots of deals.

I love getting presents (who doesn’t) and I especially like gifts you can be active with.

Here are some cool gifts that teens and tweens love:

– Okay, obviously, for me, tennis stuff, because tennis is my favorite sport, and the coolest sport ever! (Yeah, I’m biased.) Socks, tennis balls, water bottles… Anything someone can use to do their favorite sport or activity. (My sister gets stuff for dance.)
– Or try out a new activity! Equipment, gift certificates for lessons, bowling, the sky’s the limit.
– Sleds, if you live in an area where there’s snow. When we go to my cousins’ place in winter, sleds or toboggans are the best! All you need is a good hill. Seriously, you’re never too old for sledding!
– Snowshoes, snowball makers (just be careful) or snow fort blocks… yep, same deal. You need to have snow.
– Interactive games, whether it’s board games where you have to act stuff out, or video games like Xbox, where you have to dance, jump, or whatever. (Fiona schools us in the dance games, with Mom a close second!)
– Stuff like soccer balls, skipping ropes, badminton sets… even if you don’t play that sport. They can just be fun to play in the backyard.
– Fitbits and other activity trackers are pretty neat, and they do make you pay attention to how much you move. It’s fun to see how many steps you can get to, and reach that daily goal.
– A backpack or mini-sack for hikes, sunglasses, hats, or anything that makes getting outside easy and fun.

Anyway, those are just a few ideas. So, if you’re shopping for presents, don’t forget the active stuff! It will make the people you love have fun and feel great!

Bye for now!

My Sister (and Charlie) Made Me Post This!


How’s it going? Are you in any new activities? Having fun?


Okay, so you know about the class that the guys and I had to try, from my last book. It turned out to be deceptively hard… and a really good experience. And now I have a whole new appreciation for how much strength and flexibility dance takes.

So, I totally get this video, on how much work and skill goes into ballet, with dancers from the Washington Ballet. Check it out! My sister found it, and showed Charlie and me. Charlie’s loving his new activity. And he’s getting pretty good! (Not as good as the dancers in the video!)

Then we found another video, with CrossFit guys doing super basic ballet moves, with a dancer from the American Ballet Theater. The guys are not as bad as we were, but it just goes to show you how impressive dancers are. (Yeah Fiona, you can stop looking over my shoulder, I said it!)

Dance is pretty cool. And hard. Just like any activity, it’s worth it if you love it!

See you soon!