Sunday, July 26, 2009

Wakeboarding FTW!

I am now 40 years old. Let's pause for a minute while you pity me.

Yes, it is sad. I now have physical pains that are not healing. More and more often I injure myself such that I have to skip basketball, my favorite sport. I expect to live a long time, so it's going to get more difficult as I do even less strenuous activities. Sad, as I said. Another pause.


In last week's trip to Lake Powell, we took some of the older people to try out wakeboarding.

Wakeboarding is something I've always wanted to do but have repeatedly failed at. I believe I successfully water skied on two skis once for a few seconds in my early 20s, but it was choppy and just didn't seem like much fun to endure so much just to stay standing. Wakeboarding seems to allow much more variety with jumping and spinning around... and I hear that it's easier, which is attractive because I sure take a beating trying to get up!

The first to get up was Andreas, a young man who already knows how to do it. After him, Andreas (his Dad) tried a few times but couldn't get up. Then Abel and Karin tried; Karin knows how to waterski already, but she couldn't get up either. Then Emily (another teenager) tried; she'd never done it before, and she wasn't able to either. Tough day for wakeboarding.

I wasn't going to try since I was exhausted (from almost constant work and little sleep), but I figured I'd regret it if I didn't. Of course, I failed a few times, but thanks to Rob and Andreas' pointers, on about the third try I got up! It was fantastic! Sure, being up on the water was fun, though I couldn't wait even 15 seconds before trying something and falling down, and that was the last I got up. But the best part was just accomplishing something that had dogged me for so long. So, in the first immortal words uttered after I got up:


The Endurance of a Little Boy

We planned a hike to see a "hole in the rock", where the wind has carved out a deep cave that has worn through to the other side, starting an arch. Thomas (4) wanted to go with us, possibly because we were going on the ski boat. Of course I said "yes". I started questioning the wisdom of that almost immediately since he asked to get on my shoulders as soon as we got off the boat and started walking. Luckily, I had water I could use to coax him along. Halfway along, Uncle Bob broke into song, and after we grew tired of that Thomas started singing one he knew. All in all, it was a good hike to the rock.

We enjoyed climbing around and taking pictures in the strange cave. The view was awesome, and it was much cooler than the desert around it. It would be nice to eat a picnic there or spend a night. Alas, we finally had to leave... but Thomas wanted to stay. I stayed with him a minute longer, but we were with a whole group of people so we had to catch up so they wouldn't have to wait on a child being selfish. I insisted it was time to leave, but Thomas wouldn't have it. "I'm staying here!"

"OK," I said, and I left him.

Tolman was concerned; I had to reassure him that I would not leave Thomas in danger. Luckily there is a small hill close to the formation, so I got out of sight and slowed down to wait. Thomas was crying, howling as loud as he could, but soon I could tell that he was coming. I continued my stroll. When he got closer, I asked if he'd like me to wait for him; he only scowled in answer, so we continued with him a dozen paces behind. Later I asked him again and got the same response. Finally he said "yes," so I walked with him.

He complained a bit about the hot sun on his neck, but he didn't give up and break down again. So I pushed it: we were far behind the others so I started jogging and encouraging him along faster. He came along! At one point he hurt his ankle and we walked for a short minute; he complained again about the sun, but he kept going; he drank the last of the water along the way. But we made it, and he stayed a trooper the rest of the time.

It's awesome to watch someone grow up right in front of you.