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