Sunday, January 08, 2017

The Kids are on My Mind

 I'm exhausted from a long week.  I really didn't want to parent tonight.  When I say that out loud I invariably start thinking about the kids.  Maybe it's guilt.  Whatever it is, it happens every time. 

On Saturday night, Eli's basketball team had a great game.  He looks kind of like a little twerp holding the ball here but I think it's just his stance.

 They won the game, 25-8.  And I didn't get to the game, I had to work late.
 Then I think of the little princess.  This is a really old pic, from 2003.
2003 again.  I don't get to see her enough anymore.  She has school and a job.  I think she made more than me last week.  Hey girl, can you spare a little change for your dad?
 Then there is Tyson.  This is from 2005.  He and Hanna have always been two pees in a pod.
This is the little guys birthday in 2005, he was 4 years old.  Hanna looks like she wants to eat some of that cake.  Tyson is taller than me now, a sophomore in high school.  He's all about sports, girls, and his phone.
I don't remember the year, I think this is 2009.   This is at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  They look so good together, don't you think?

I'll feel better already.  Maybe that's because the kids are in bed early?  Wait, I hear them arguing. I'll just parent tomorrow.....

Sunday, January 01, 2017

That's What I Learned From My Dad

If you read this blog from time to time, you'll know that 2016 was the first year since 1979 that I did not race a bike.  It was a much-needed break, a break that gave me some perspective on why I have hung on to racing for so long.  I also had to find out if I could live without it.  The answer is yes, I can live without it, but no, I don't want to.
What is the significance of the stairs?  Running stairs is a hard workout, one that I started while I was in high school.  But it's also a connection to a former self.  This set of stairs is constant, and running it today is the same as running it in 1989.  There are few hard, fast comparisons one can make with one's past, but this is a good one.
I wrote down a time of ten minutes flat for 20x up and down the stairs in 1989.  The other day, I nearly equaled that.  That makes me happy because I know the 22 year old Tim Kakouris was a tenacious son-of-a-bitch and he would not have enjoyed having this almost-50 year old on his ass.  At 10 seconds back, he would have felt me breathing down his neck.  Small victory for me.
What is the significance of 200 rpm? BMX bikes have improved over the years, but spinning the pedals has not.  In 1986, a couple friends gathered together and we plugged in an RPM computer to see how fast we could spin on the rollers.  I remember getting 204 rpm, just ahead of my buddy who hit 200.  I hit the rollers the other day and saw 189 rpm.  Not bad.  I took the bike outside and hit well into the 180's several times, and nailed 194 rpm one time, flat pedals and all.  I would love to see the look on a 19 year old Tim Kakouris' face if he saw me spinning next to him down the track.  Small victory, again, for me.

Are these bragging numbers?  No, they are not.  There are 7 billion people on this planet and I imagine a great number of them can do a great number of athletic feats better than I.  But to me they are victories over the aging process.  They are victories over time and victories over life, both of which, as they creep along, take with them lots of delicious little bits of who you are with them.

I don't like the person that was the younger me, but I admire his drive and I admire his audaciousness.  He was too stubborn (and stupid) and his ego was too big to do the sport the right way, but somehow he still accomplished a lot of things.   Becoming a better man while holding on to some of that jerk's athletic prowess is a goal for me now.  It's not the racing that I cannot let go of, but the feeling of accomplishment and how I measure up.
I have others to inspire.  I don't care if any of my children ever take up cycling as a real hobby.  But what I want, what I need, is for them to be inspired.  Whatever form that inspiration takes, so be it.  I would love for them to sit down with their children and say "....that's what I learned from my dad."