$15 billion

$15 Billion

$15 billion is a heck of a lot of money.  Coincidentally, $15 billion is the size of the youth sports market in  America.  This figure includes league fees, travel costs, apps to manage teams/organizations and live stream games.  Consider that DropBox and AirBnB are both worth only $10 billion, while SpaceEx is worth $12 billion.  That’s a lot of freaking money.

At this point, I feel like our family alone has contributed $1 billion.  With all three kids playing travel hockey, I feel like we’ve been “hockey poor” for most of our adult life.  When I was growing up, our sports followed well defined seasons.  Year round participation in one sport, which drives up costs significantly, simply didn’t exist in our youth.  Now kids are specializing in one sport early often by the time they’ve started middle school.  The problem with specialization in one sport early on is for the increasing incidence of overuse issues and burnout.

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There’s a ton of pressure on kids to make both club and school teams as they pursue college scholarships.  Its a vicious cycle.   As parents we complain about early specialization, but we’re also a big driver in extending the seasons of sports.  I read an interesting article on this topic today in the Star Tribune.  The author wrote how many high school coaches had been pressured into offering off season training for their programs.   This, in my opinion, created a vicious cycle where athletes feel that they have to specialize and work at their craft year round, while coaches feel pressured to coach and offer programs year round.

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How do you solve this problem? I certainly don’t have the answers.  But somewhere in the middle, there’s gotta be a balance.  All I know is that its exhausting and rewarding for everyone involved.

Meanwhile, we had our 5th game of the weekend this morning.  My morning was more than a bit hellacious.   Sadly, my phone wasn’t working correctly and I couldn’t get the rink info off of it.  I sent a text to a group text, but alas we’re all super sarcastic so that didn’t work.  Coincidentally, it didn’t help the lack of mimosa situation either, but I digress. As a consequence, I drove Goalielocks to the wrong rink.  He was livid (to put it mildly.)  Sadly, the game, much like my morning, was a charlie foxtrot.  Nevertheless, I’ve added a 16th bullet to my hockey mom wisdom blog reinforcing the importance of showing up at the right rink.

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The rest of our day, ascended from the ashes from a crazy morning.  Sometimes its all about perspective.  Midway through the first period, one of Goalielocks’ teammates got kicked with a skate leading to a deep laceration on the inside of his ankle.  In the end, medics had to respond to the rink and his teammate ended up in the ER at the local hospital.  Its amazing how insignificant  my untimely rink tour of S. Florida became against the back drop of this serious injury.  It truly is all about perspective and realizing even our worst morning isn’t that bad.

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Super Saturday

Super Saturday

We spent our super Saturday dividing and conquering.  While I traversed the state for hockey with Goalielocks and my two brothers from another mother John and Jon, the hubby stayed in town for the Mayor’s evening games. Since the Mayor was at a friend’s for most of the day, so hubby was able to have a productive day at work.  Meanwhile, we spent 3.5 hours driving from the Palm Beaches to Ellenton on 70, which is largely a two lane road.  We had great company for the drive, althought I’m sure you can imagine how much fun this drive is.

We actually made great time, so we were able to stop and have lunch on the banks of the Manatee River at Woody’s River Roo.  This nice spot is absolute perfection for feeding hockey players, while enjoying a great drink and the beautiful location  Moreover, it’s not fancy, so you don’t have to worry about the kids breaking anything.  As I sat dockside admiring the beautiful view, I succumbed to the temptation and ordered a mimosa.   I had a cup of clam chowder and a salad, while Goalielocks enjoyed the burger.  We finished our lunch and headed to the lunch, which was less than five minutes away.

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Meanwhile back in South Florida, the Mayor was gallivanting about with his boy JM driving the Kaputa and the bulldozer.  As I sat in the sin bin between periods, I caught a video the Mayor had posted on his Instagram that had me in stitches.  It was a video of him driving in slo-mo and then speeding by.  Honestly, it was the funniest thing I saw all day.  When we finally got home after a long day on the road, the Mayor was super excited to tell me about driving both the bulldozer and Kaputa.

Both of the boys’ teams went 1-1 on the day, but both hubby and I were happy with their efforts.  While the day was as long as the drive,  the time spent was well worth the investment.  We only covered a good 380 miles in 7 hours of driving! (Thank you JB for driving our motley crew across the state!)  Our first game in Ellenton certainly didn’t end how we wanted it to, but what I enjoy most of all is spending time with my kids and with our hockey family.   The Mayor and his team did well this evening winning their game 4-1.  My Mayor was stoked that he scored a goal and his usual line mates did equally as well.

The wonderful people that make up our hockey family are incredibly dedicated to their families.  Morevoer, they’re invested in their children and super fun to be around.  When I look at social media influencers on instagram and beyond, I see people who’s only commitment is to themselves.  Whatever commitment they had to their family or their kids is secondary to their own interests.  Its sad really.  In contrast, the hockey parent life calls for a parent that is selfless.  Hockey parents have to be  willing to dedicate of time and resources (aka money) to their children’s athletic pursuits.  I know some day my kids’ hockey careers will come to an end.  At that point, I’ll have time and money to spend on my interests.  Until then, I’m committed to living the hockey mom life.  In fact, I’ll be back at the rink tomorrow morning for Goalielocks’ game.

Champions

Champions!!!

After 10 games in 4 days for two kids, two teams, at two rinks, tonight both Goalielocks’ and the Mayor’s teams are champions!!!!  It was a rough start for both teams.  Goalielocks’ team won Thursday night, but one of our stars was taken down in a nasty hit.  There was some concern that he would miss some games due to a concussion, but fortunately the hit looked far nastier than the outcome suggested.  Thankfully, he was absolutely fine with no headaches or any concussion symptoms post-game.  Hallelujah!  The Mayor’s team got a slow start Friday losing to a team they beat the previous weekend.

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Additionally, what is fun to watch as a hockey parent is when a team starts working together.  The focus shifts from trying to score a goal yourself to trying to setup your teammate.  In the Saturday’s second game, I really noticed this shift in the Mayor’s team.  Here’s hoping it bleeds over in league play next weekend!

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Goalielocks’ team went 5-0 on the weekend and was fairly dominant.  We got into some penalty trouble, which is pretty normal for U14AA.  The talk of the U14AA tournament was crazy megaphone mom, who makes the rest of us hockey moms look sane and normal.  I assure we’re not.   She proudly shared with one of my fellow hockey parents that the megaphone has gotten her kicked out of countless baseball, lacrosse and hockey games.  Consequently, I’m going to go out on a limb here.   I am going to assume she’s either certifiable or she’s a bit slow.  Now she is blonde, so either assumptions is equally plausible.

Undoubtedly, hockey tournaments are exhausting, but exhilarating as well.  For the hockey family, tournaments serve as reunions.  A wonderful opportunity to see all the friends you’ve made throughout the years that are no playing across the state of Florida.   I should clarify that Megaphone Mom is not from Florida.  Even us Florida hockey parents are’t that crazy.   Our level of crazy is purely superficial when compared to the likes of Megaphone Mom.

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The Mayor and hubby have been sleeping for two hours already. Apparently, there 4:45 am wake up call left them exhausted.  As a public service, I skipped the early morning game.  Nobody, and I mean nobody, should have to deal with me on that little sleep. There’s not enough caffeine in the world to make me palatable in that situation.  Moreover  I’ve been rocking a sinus headache since my migraine abated.  Sadly, it feels like a sinus infection is trying to take hold, but I’m not going down without a fight.  Overall, we had a fantastic weekend with our hockey family.   

Caffeine Drip

Caffeine Drip

I’m in serious need of a caffeine drip for tomorrow after the craziness of today’s hockey schedule.  The Mayor’s team was at the rink by 7:30 am for their 8:30 game.   My hubby, who is a saint, took the Mayor for warm-ups, so  I could sleep in.   7:30 am isn’t really my idea of sleeping in, but it was far better than the alternative.  The Mayor’s squad got the win, which started off our day of 4 hockey games perfectly.

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Post-game I headed to Burn Fitness, an awesome locally owned fitness studio, for my first aerial yoga experience.  Admittedly, I was a bit concerned about the inversions and the potential for nausea, so  I skipped my early morning coffee and breakfast.  Pre-class I had a GU gel for energy that wouldn’t upset my stomach during class.  I have to say I was a bit relieved to hear that the other newcomers to aerial yoga were just as nervous as me.

 

Once in the studio, we picked our swings that were best matched to our height and then setup our yoga mats under them.  We took to our swings to start working our core and open our shoulders.  The core work in aerial yoga is quite similar to working on the TRX, so it is intense and efficient.  Surprisingly, the inversions didn’t bother my stomach and didn’t make me dizzy.  I quickly learned that if I was swinging too much while upside down,  I could put my hand down to stop the swinging motion.  The warrior poses and half moons poses  felt incredible in the swing.  I could feel myself getting more elastic as the class progressed.  Unequivocally, the best part of class was the shavasana in the swing that quickly became cocoon-like.  It was absolutely heavenly.

After yoga, I was finally able to enjoy my morning Dunkin and some solid food.  I made myself some Gardein Schezuan Beef and broccoli ,which was super tasty.  No sooner had I finished my lunch, when we had to head back to the rink for the Mayor’s 2nd game and Goalielock’s first game.   Of course, I had to stop and get another coffee lest I get cold at the rink.

The Mayor was on fire during his second game.  He scored a hat-trick and had several assists.  It was incredible to see the kids moving the puck.  I loved seeing them work so hard to setup their teammate for a goal.  Undoubtedly, their teamwork today is what led to their success as a team.  Honestly, I just love watching my Mayor play.  He’s the smallest on the ice, but he plays and runs his mouth likes he’s six feet tall.  He works hard and is always giving 100%.   I love his commitment to his team and his game.

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As soon as the Mayor’s team left the ice, the Zamboni started cleaning the ice for Goalielock’s game.  I spent a lot of quality time with the scorekeeper today.   In an effort to contain my crazy, I ran the music during the games today, which put me in the sin bin where I belong.  Goalielock’s had the first game off, but his goalie buddy Brian was lights out that game.

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Unfortunately, someone probably should have called a 5250 for the megaphone mom from the opposing team.  We’ve been in travel hockey for many years and we’ve seen a lot things, but this woman took the cake.  She put the craz in crazy.  Keep in mind, these kids are either freshmen in high school or 8th graders not little kids.  Imagine, if you will, a mom screaming directions and commentary via a megaphone from the stands.   My favorite part, is when she chirped our player, #4, and he took the puck and went and scored.  Thankfully, the goal was enough to shut her up for a couple of minutes.  I did my best to drown her out with the music, while my better half drowned out the megaphone with a fog horn.  Instant karma was served to megaphone mom as we beat the team 7-1.

Between Goalielocks’ two games, we headed to pick up the Mayor from dinner and pick up some grub.   Unsurprisingly, we didn’t have a ton of time between games, so there was no trip home between them.  After taking Goalielocks’ to Publix for a sub, we headed back to Hurricanes to get hubby and the Mayor.  While we waited for the check,  I acquired a nice, new sexy tattoo.  You’ll love it, but don’t worry mom it’s only temporary.

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In the end, the Mayor decided to go to a teammate’s house during Goalielocks’ game, so we headed back to the rink without him.  I took my position in the sin bin, where I belong, ready to blare the music as the boys took the ice.  The game got a little chippy, but we were all relieved that there was no megaphone mom on this team.  By the end of the 1st period, we were up 5-0.

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Goalielocks’ wasn’t seeing a lot of work, which stinks for a goalie because you don’t have the opportunity to get into a rhythm.  Nevertheless, he was playing well when his team needed him. I was busy in the box with a couple 10-2 and repeat visitors.   Nonetheless, the boys won 9-2.  Goalielocks’ played well, but as always was quite critical of his performance.

 

 

 

Thirsty Thursday

Thirsty Thursday

Here’s to you thirsty Thursday!  We spent our thirsty Thursday at the rink for Goalielock’s 8:30 pm game that started at 9:00 pm.  Thankfully, the rink has a liquor license and plenty of beer and wine.  I know what you’re thinking. And you’re right its borderline sacrilegious to drink beer or wine on national vodka day.  I, however, have an alibi.  Since I had to drive myself to the rink post-Zumba, I couldn’t be drinking vodka all game and driving.  There will be plenty of time for vodka during the tournament this weekend.

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I have to say that a late game is far better, in my estimation, than the 6:00 am games of mites, squirts and apparently peewee. First, nobody looks at you with the stink eye when you drink at an 8:00 pm game.  This is not the case for an early morning game.  Although if we’re honest with ourselves, is it ever too early for mimosas? I don’t think so.  Plus a mimosa is a fashionable way to accessorize any hockey mom outfit.

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There’s an upshot to switching up my drink of choice tonight and that’s the fact that beer is a great re-hydration beverage.  Amazingly, beer has the optimal mix of carbohydrates and electrolytes that re-hydrate the body more effectively than water.  However, there’s a caveat here and its a big one.   The benefits, however, are erased when you drink more than two.

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Ciroc makes a new french vanilla vodka that I’m dying to try in my coffee with a little Bailey’s Irish cream.  It may be the perfect compliment to my morning coffee.  Plus it takes the edge off of U-14AA hockey, which is a definite plus.  Tonight one of our kids got rocked badly at the end of the second period.  I love my hockey fast and fierce, but there’s no need for head contact or knee on knee hits.   Fortunately, our player is going to be okay.   He did, however,  make us pretty nervous for several minutes.   I’m pretty sure there will some Doug Glatt style hockey next time we play that team.

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Struggle Is Real

The Struggle is Real

The struggle is real.  By the time we get to Thursday.  I’m fresh out energy, both mentally and physically.  Life as a hockey parent can be freaking exhausting.  Through the week, we run from the morning drop off at the bus stop, to work (pit stop at Dunkin), get the kids, head to the rink, teach Zumba, conquer homework, try to get in a workout and coerce the kids to shower before bed.  Rinse repeat day in and day out.

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By the time we get to Friday, sleep deprivation is hitting its peak and our energy is hitting its low.  The exhaustion is all encompassing, yet we press on.  We derive our inspiration from our kids, while our energy comes courtesy of perpetual coffee.  We should likely have stock in Dunkin’ and Starbucks.  Any hockey mom that’s been around for more than a season knows exactly where to find her favorite coffee near every rink.

Notice how I say we because I’m fairly certain that I’m not alone in my craziness.  It’s not just me… Seriously….  Ask any hockey mom or day and they’ll tell you. As I left work today, I let out a smile as I realized this weekend’s games were home!  Winner, winner chicken dinner!  The realization that  I don’t have to drive to Tampa this weekend was almost transcendent.  Of course at this time of day on a  Thursday, I’m looking for any win.

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I headed home feeling a bit uneasy about life and my path.  Its easy to feel that way when exhaustion fits in.  Thank god for my beautiful, energetic and incredible Zumba girls.  These ladies rock my world (not that way you pervert) and always bring a smile to my face.  There’s nothing like a great workout to clear your head and remind you how great life truly is.  Thank you endorphins!

 

Closing out my Thursday with a rocking Zumba class is the best way to launch myself into productive and happy Friday.  Not every moment in our life is picture perfect.   Moreover, there will be times in our lives where our progress doesn’t align with where we envisioned ourselves.  That’s okay.  So maybe you’re not where you want to be professionally or personally, who cares.  Ultimately the control over where you land is with you and only you.

U14 AA Champions

Champions!!!!!!!!

Congrats to our champions!!!!!!  We had a wonderful weekend with our hockey family in Orlando. Of course, the cherry on top was our U-14 AA boys winning the championship.  At a number of different times during the game, they seemingly felt compelled to make it interesting.  Alas through hard work and team work, they persevered and they won the championship game.

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Goalielocks saw little action in the first, which is a difficult situation for a goalie.  Goalies need to see some shots to get into a rhythm, so protracted periods of no shots are tough.  Nevertheless, he wasn’t happy with his level of play even though they won and he got second star of the game.   Such is life as a goalie.  The good news is that’s why you practice.  He can work on improving the things he felt he didn’t do well this weekend and work on maintaining what he felt he did well.

I’ve written about it previously, but its hard to believe how old and grownup these kids look.  Many of these kids started out together as mites in 1st and 2nd grade and now many have started high school.  They used to be so small that their legs would dangle from the bench in the penalty box since they couldn’t touch the ground.  Now they’re ginormous and take up all the room in the box with both their size and smell.    Irrespective of the change in size, they remain the same sweet smiling kids they were in mites albeit with an expanded vocabulary.   All kidding aside, these kids are amazing.  They’re hard workers, gritty, fierce competitors, but also good teammates and good friends.

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The tournament did a great job putting on a nice show for the championship games.  These things may seem small, but I’m sure they make a world of a difference to the kids playing in those games.  In addition to the introductions, they also had an announcer and some pretty sweet music.  Even better though was the fact that all of our families, which are spread throughout the world, could watch the game live.  For my parents in Minny, it was an awesome opportunity to cheer for their grandson and his team from afar.

The Mayor’s team did not walk away with a championship, but they had a blast this weekend.  I can see that they’re excited to hit the ice together as a team, which is amazing.  My Mayor is the kind of kid that goes all in when he does something and I love.  He’s small, but he’s the fiercest competitor I know.  He works his butt on and off the ice to be the best he can be for his team.

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This morning his team played a consolation down in Kississimee.  Sadly,  I missed most of because I had to get Colin’s gear to the other rink in time.  I was super bummed that I had to miss the Mayor’s game because him and his team are so much fun to watch.   Shortly, after I departed he scored a pretty sweet goal.  One of the team dads, who is totally my hero, videotaped the goal and sent it my way.

The best part of all of this was how the Mayor told me he scored his goal. As he told the story, very little of it had to do with what he did.  He spent most of the time detailing what his teammate did to facilitate the goal.  The Mayor couldn’t say enough about the awesome pass he was fed by his Boy B that led to the goal.  I can’t lie it was pretty cool to hear him heap the praise on his teammates because he gets it.  He understands that no matter who scores the goal, it took a team effort to get there.   Notwithstanding, the Mayor loved sharing the details of his post goal celebration.

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All in all it was a good weekend filled with great hockey and even greater people.  Quite frankly, it takes a lot of energy to survive these weekends due to the lack of sleep, increase in alcohol intake and increased stress from watching the games. All things considered, these tournaments have left us with many priceless moments.  There’s no doubt in my mind that I should probably educate myself on some mindfulness techniques for before, during and after Goalielocks’ games.

Priceless

Priceless

We were playing a team they should have handled with relative ease, but in hockey (as with any other sport) you can’t take your opponent for-granted.

Throughout the entirety of the game, I had quite a bit of company.  It was clear the ref’s were intent on maintaining control of the game.  As a result, both boxes were packed throughout the 2nd with coincidental penalties.   While it jacks up the rhythm of the game, at least it wasn’t one sided officiating.

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We went into the 3rd period and the contest was farther closer than it needed to be.  Consequently, my heart was racing, my stomach was in knots.  My resting heart rate is normally around 68-70.   While Goalielocks is in net, it varies from 90-120 depending on the game situation.  According to my Fitbit, I get at least 2 hours of fat burning out of one of his games without having to lift my finger.  Its great to be a goalie mom, isn’t it?

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My dear friend Sharyn, seeing my angst, was kind enough to get Chris Kunitz to take a picture with me.  At this point, we had 6 minutes left in the 3rd and I was officially dying.  I popped out of the box to pose with the kind and very accommodating Stanley Cup winner, which knocked at least 60 seconds off the clock for me.

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Unfortunately, the boys seemed intent on causing some heart palpitations and I once again had a full box.   This time there was just over two minutes left and there were no coincidentals.  Cheese and rice, it was a long two minutes!  My heart was beating out of my chest as Goalielocks and his boys faced a 6 on 3.  They stood strong.

 

Goalielocks ended up drawing a penalty after his buddy from the Bulldogs took a chop at his arm.  Thankfully, this critical penalty ended the 6 and 4 and they were forced to put their goalie back on the ice.  The squad weathered the storm and soon (although it felt like forever) the final buzzer sounded.  As expected, the boys from both teams scuffled a bit after the buzzer.  Consequently, the refs sent both teams off separately.  Happily, this goalie mom survived and even her picture with an NHL star.

Post game we headed to Twin Peaks, which was clearly a mistake.  Their hiring practices definitely do not emphasize critical thinking, time management or anything other than looks.   While the food is decently price and pretty tasty, no team lunch should ever take 2.5 hours.   Fortunately, our groups of parents is awesome.  After all these years, we continue to enjoy each other’s company.  Nevertheless, it was a bit tough to stomach that serving our group could be that complicated.

 

For many of us, this is our 6th year at this tournament.  I was looking back at pictures from our first trip to this tournament in 2011.  Our boys were so small and so sweet.  Conversely, they’re no so big albeit they’re still mostly sweet.  The relationships my boys and I have formed over the last 6 years of travel hockey have been absolutely priceless.  There is no amount of money you could spend to replace the experience or our hockey family.  In the most critical and difficult times of our lives, they’ve been there for us and we’ve been there for them.  I couldn’t imagine life without our wonderfully crazy, wild and fun hockey family.

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The Madness Continues

The Madness Continues

The madness continues with Day 2 and 3 of the Labor Day tournament. Thankfully, the schedule gods were kind and I got to see both kids’ games yesterday.

Both the Mayor and Goalielock’s teams played the Ice Bandits from Atlanta. The mayor’s game was earlier in the day. For the majority of the game, it was a close contest. Unfortunately, the Ice Bandits opened up on the 3rd and we lost.

The Mayor worked hard and was more than ready for the team lunch at Sam Sneed’s post game. It’s never easy to feed a team of hockey players and all their families. Yesterday’s lunch took quite awhile, but the food was quite good and the Mayor enjoyed the time with his team.

Goalielock’s and his squad were up next facing the same organization. He’s played with most of these kids since mites and now they’re huge. They look like giants and men. Now longer do they look like the sweet little first and second graders they were when this crazy journey first started.

Their game was pretty good. These boys are coming together quite nicely and will be fun to watch this season. They came away with a strong 4-1 win.

Of course the best part of tournament weekends, is hanging with the crew and barbecuing back at the hotel. The rain put a slight damper on the festivities in that it wrecked most our hair and diluted our drinks. Aside from the rain, the night was pitch perfect. This morning on the other hand was a bit rough.

Game Day

Game day

It’s game day here in Orlando, you can watch the Mayor’s game live at http://dspnlive.com/dspn1/