Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Yes, We Are THOSE People

You know the kind…those families that seem to be dragging their kids around from sporting event to event every night of the week. The family that is never home between 6-8 pm, Monday through Friday and sometimes on weekends. That’s us. We permanently keep camp chairs in the trunk. After all, the kids might be sweating their ass off running after various balls for our amusement, but that’s no reason for us to stand for an hour. I’m not the one playing.

“C’mon, run harder. Get after it.” I hiccup between mouthfuls of ice cream. ”Stop embarrassing Daddy.”

There is a six week time frame each year starting in May through the middle of June where we are out seemingly every single night to go to soccer practices or games and baseball practices or games. It’s crazy, really. I feel bad for the kids. On the ride home, it’s all I can do to gently ease up the volume on the radio to drown out their mournful pleadings for rest. It’s so…depressing. (By the way, an overly loud toe tapping remake of “Signs” by Tesla can be the perfect tonic to back seat whimpers and whines. Though I don't recommend Tesla for longer than 3 minutes at a time.)

For you childless folk, heed this advice: the most beneficial skill you can develop is to convincingly pretend that you have a hearing loss. As they express their most ardent wishes over a steadily growing radio volume, you can watch in the rear view mirror as your kid’s face transforms from sincere hopefulness, to frustration, to acceptance, and, finally, to bitter resignation when you don’t appear to recognize their feelings. It’s wonderful really. I like to think that I’m teaching them Daddy’s personal career path encapsulated in one car ride home (minus the “sensitivity training” of course.)

Which is why I found it surprising when my 11 year old colt asked to participate in a youth triathlon this past weekend. Hmmm, there must be a hole in the schedule somewhere that is allowing sunlight to blast through. Clearly, one of his sports team dropped the ball and didn’t fill up our Saturday evening.

The triathlon involved a 150 yard swim, 3.75 bike, and 1.2 mile run.

Just to give you an idea on what kind of people we are, the kids were already signed up for the annual Michigan Mile race Saturday morning. I documented last year’s event here. Both the colt and filly ran well again this year. My filly finished 6th overall in her age group but was the 2nd girl. My colt finished 9th this year but, like a chip off the ole block, struggled with (stomach) cramping for the entire race. Not sure if magical Biofreeze works on the abdomen though.

So, our Saturday evening was somehow open. Sign up he does for the triathlon. He would be the first in my family to do one. Besides, until this event came up, we were in danger of leaving the kids to occupy their time with their own imaginations for an entire evening. Shudders.

The daunting event would be the 150 yard swim. Six lengths of a standard pool. I know I couldn’t do that but, oddly, I had no problem dropping the kid into 14 feet of water for him to do it. I went out for more ice cream.

I’ll be damned, the little bugger did all six laps with only a few rest breaks.

The biking seemed to be a breeze also.

The running went pretty good but the stomach cramps came up again. He was looking pretty worn and hungry as he started his second lap so, as I sat in my camp chair, I used my newspaper to shield the fresh bowl of popcorn and large soda I had from him as he panted on by. I’m not cruel.

My colt finished the triathlon and even had enough energy to bike the 1.5 miles home afterwards with his medal draped around his neck. (No room in the car for him and his bike what with the camp chairs and popcorn and all.) He did it! He’s the family’s first triathlete! It brought a tear to my eye. Either that or I rubbed my eye with a finger filled with popcorn salt.

About two more weeks to go before we can put away the camp chairs for a summer of unscheduled activities. But for these six weeks, we are THOSE people. The ones eating pizza out of the car on the road to a practice…the ones turning friends away from our front door because it’s Game Night…the ones getting borderline verbally abusive towards the volunteer teenage referee, just looking for some on the job experience, when he clearly blows a call because he’s from the Planet Dumbass and must have flow here in his rocket ship, the Headupyourass V, without bringing his glasses.

If you see us on the road racing weary kids to their next event, don’t judge. It’s only temporary. For six weeks, we are THOSE people. After that, we return to being regular ole those people. The kind that others describe as “cartoonishly vulgar.” It’s hectic but the kids love it.

At least, I never hear them complain.

Signs, signs, everywhere signs....

Happy trails.
_________________________________

Sunday: 10 miles @ 7:04 pace (1:10:39)
Tonight: warm-up, 5 x 400 @ 1:20 pace, cool down.

30 comments:

Marcy said...

Dude your kids are already kicking your butt HAHA! You better show them up and do an Ironman.

Spike said...

I looked, BioFreeze says you should not ingest it, so it won't work for stomach issues.

also, NyQuil is perfect for putting the kids to be early, even if they aren't sick.

Xenia said...

Congrats to the kiddies! Your colt is a force to be reckoned with. Now, if only you'd stop poisoning him to prevent him from getting faster than you.

Jess said...

Congrats to the kiddies on the run and to the colt on his first triathlon! That's so cool!

Lauren said...

It's amazing what they put kids through these days. My friend's kids are all in baseball tournaments where they have to play 5 games in one day. I'd be tired just sitting on the sidelines eating ice cream after all of that. Good luck for the next six weeks and congrats on the family triathlete!

Kristina said...

You are in rare form today. Nicely done, sir.

Lily on the Road said...

ahhh, the paternal sentiment for kiddie exhaustion is overwhelming! I'm with Spike though, drinking Biofreeze is not the remedy I'd be suggesting.

Good Job Colt, good job kicking A$$!!

hmmm, Try rubbing your salt stained fingers on your t-shirt before sticking them in your eye, unless of course you want to make them water freigning tears...

Jessica said...

oh, your sarcasm always leaves me laughing....you are being sarcastic, RIGHT?? It could be worse, you could be watching chess tournaments all week :) Looks like the athleticism runs in the fam!

tfh said...

My husband is already an expert on feigning hearing loss. I'll let him know that means he's ready for kids.

And nice job to your kiddoes on the races. No, sounds like you are going to be "THOSE people" for awhile yet, cheering from the sidelines...

Vanilla said...

Obviously you've failed to be degrading to triathletes in front of him regarding their lack of focus (3 sports?).

Chad in the AZ Desert said...

"the ones turning friends away from our front door because it’s Game Night"
----------
Friends? Really? Who knew?

Congrats to the colt on the triathlon, that's pretty darn cool!

Running and living said...

Thanks...for visions of MY future:) Ana-Maria

Roisin said...

Yay for your kids! I would encourage the use of more Tesla, though, not less.

Viper said...

Kids, kids, everywhere kids, EFFing up the scenery ...

Temporary hearing loss helps in many other situations as well. Like when the boss tells you to get to work ...

joyRuN said...

Congrats on the kiddies!

Feigned hearing loss worked beautifully for T1. Not so much for T2 - she's got a tenacious persistence and a freakishly loud voice.

Vava said...

Nice! I can totally identify with this - the every evening out, the camping chairs in the trunk, the conveniently absent minded not paying attention to the kids... I don't turn up the tunes though, since I normally listen to inane sports chatter and nobody needs to have that on loud. Instead I explain it away with the very useful, "Sorry, Daddy wasn't paying attention because HE'S DRIVING!!!" Another good weapon in the Daddy arsenal is: "Oh, I didn't notice." Feel free to put a "sorry" in there somewhere if you are so inclined... I usually don't have the time or patience because I am trying to pay attention to the traffic while I'M DRIVING!!!

X-Country2 said...

You've been added to all my pregnancy running blogs for when I have kids some day. It'll balance out all the naturing they suggest.

RunnerDude said...

Ahh the memories you just brought back of my day yelling in his cut-off suit-pant shorts, black dress socks, and dress shoes at me and my brother during our games. Not sure which was more embarassing, the yelling (supportive of course) of his attire. LOL!!! Great post.

Ace said...

And for further flavor text, they are the camp chairs with massive drink holders on both sides. Proper provisioning is clearly key. Surely its more than thorough parenting to even step out of the car for the game...

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

I remember those days. I called it "driving in circles" from event to practice to practice to eventt.

Congrats to the Colt for his fantastic Triathlon accomplishment.

RawBodyGoddess said...

HEY! I say a Hello Kitty runner and thought of you...any chance your HK running friend was in VT this past weekend?

AKA Alice said...

I completely understand being "Those People." We're not quite done with Little League Championships, Junior Lifeguard qualifying (which means swimming BTW), soccer is a fall sport for us, so it starts soon...GAH. Pizza on the side of the road? That would mean that we planned far enough ahead to actually order it.

Oh yeah..popcorn salt in the eye...I HATE that...It hurts.

(congrats to the Colt. That's just awesome!)

Beth said...

Congrats to your son! Next thing you know, he'll want a tri bike and a wet suit. Better start saving now!

Brianna said...

And to think that I didn't know what a tri was until I was 20.

Maybe that was Biofreeze in your eye. Nothin' like a super cool breeze to keep your tear ducts flowin'.

Blyfinn said...

So your son will soon be kicking your tail on the road.

theloosemoose said...

Great post!
And congrats to the colt.

HEATHER said...

new follower here! GREAT post! As a mom of two baby boys, can I say that I just can not WAIT to be "those" people? I'm a soccer mom in training, patiently waiting for our turn :)

The Laminator said...

Congrats to the colt! I agree though that you must use your fatherly influence to prevent him from shifting his allegiance over to the dark side...(a tri so young?)...unless you're trying to recast for a modern day Star Wars. You don't need ME to tell you how story will end...

Velma said...

Congrats to the boy. I have selective hearing loss as well. I also scream - WE ARE HAVING FUN - RIGHT NOW.

sRod said...

I think they sell a drug to fix that triathlon thing your son has. My sister is a pharmacist. I'll ask if you're interested.