Have I mentioned lately how much I love my nephews? And how proud I am that they’re willing to try new things (well, except for tomatoes … nephew #2 has a *thing* about tomatoes) and expand their horizons and challenge themselves?
You might remember my oldest nephew competed in a local youth triathlon a few weeks ago, and his younger brother decided to join him in another one yesterday. I showed up in my token role as “photographer”, and thought I would give you a visual play-by-play of how the events unfolded.
Dalton: "Hey, look, those swim lessons paid off! I can totally stick my face in the water and breathe properly .... which is a good thing, because this 200 meter swim is a lot farther than it looks when you're standing on the side of the pool."
"OK, that actually went better than I thought. Lord knows if it had been Aunt Kristie the lifeguards would have had to throw her a floatie."
Landon: "Hmmm, Dalton said the swim was the hard part, but you know what? I totally rocked. Do you see me? Huh, do you see me? I even passed several guys who started before me ... I think these triathlons just might be my new thing."
"Yep, happy, happy, happy. I love this! Love triathlons! Love, love, LOVE them!"
"Well, sure, I had to borrow this bike for the 6-mile bike ride .... but I gained so much time in the swimming part of the race that I'm sure things will be fine."
"You know .... I am starting to not feel very good."
"Ummmmm ..... does anyone see anything wrong with this bike besides me?"
"Ok, hold the phone. This bike is borrowed, and broken. Could no-one have mentioned the gears are stripped, or the chain is busted, or whatever the heck is wrong with this bike???? I am pedaling about eight-thousand-MILLION rotations with my little legs pumping just as fast as they can go, and the pedals are SPINNING like crazy, but I'm not actually going anywhere!!! I have to ride HOW MANY MILES on this thing????"
Official race guy: "Dude. What on earth is wrong with that bike??? Are you aware that you've got four and five year olds passing you on the race course? A little girl with training wheels and a pink basket on her bike just passed you."
"Hey, man, I think maybe there was something wrong with Landon's bike ... I lapped him like three or four times on the course. I can't worry about that now, though, I've got to run. Run like a gazelle, run like the wind, run like ..... seriously, I am not feeling well."
"Dudes. I just yakked all over the race course." *
"For the love of Pete, could this BE a more miserable experience??? #*$(*&$ bike was #*$(*&$ BROKEN and now I am in absolute last place and I hate, hate, HATE triathlons!!!" **
"Seriously. Worst experience of my young life."
Landon: "That sucked."
Kellen: "Hey, at least you tried. I just sat here and watched and ate Skittles."
* Don't feel bad, Dalton. Kids were yakking all over the place. Must have something to do with swimming 200 meters, biking for six miles, and running a mile in 90 degree weather.
** I am KIDDING! My nephews don't talk like this!! I, however, DO. In all honesty, he was so upset afterwards about the difficulties with the bike ... just embarrassed and frustrated ... truly, it was like he was riding a little clown bike, and pedaling for all he was worth, six laps around, in front of the other kids, and parents, and race officials, and everyone was watching him with sympathy on their faces, wincing at the sight of him riding for all he was worth and going nowhere. It was just So. Sad. So I walked up to him afterwards and said, "Hey, buddy, I know your mom and dad don't cuss, but you know Aunt Kristie does. So let me just tell you .... you KICKED ASS in the swim and the run. You just had equipment problems with the bike and that's what messed you up. Don't feel bad about that, it wasn't your fault." Shockingly, even *that* motivational speech didn't do much to cheer him up.
But you know that "willingness to try new things" I mentioned as one of the things I love about my nephews? Well, by the end of the day, they had both not only decided to run the next triathlon as well, they had even convinced their cousin Kellen to join them.
Dear Lord in Heaven, the boy is going to need a swim lesson, or I'm afraid he'll sink like a stone.