Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Tribute to Schanewolf: The Joy and Pain of Moving On

William and John Schanewolf at the 2009 Grands
For the first time in two years, William will be riding with new colors. He'll be sporting the red and white of Factory Felt. When the offer came, William's answer was an enthusiastic yeah! followed by a contemplative pause... What about Mr. Schanewolf?


A little more than two years ago, Mr. Schanewolf scouted a jumpy 7-nov who couldn't stand to lose, and his rookie baby brother who was happy to come in 4th. He saw potential in the older, and wasn't about to leave the younger one behind. That's the way Schanewolf rolls. If I started riding*, he would take me simply because of my boys.

The kids adore Mr. Schanewolf. He's akin to the awesome grandpa who sneaks the kids treats behind their parents backs. If I turn my head for a minute, my boys will trash their fruit and water, and head for Mr. Schanewolf for a Mountain Dew and Little Debbie cake.

He's always supportive, and understands when a rider has "bad luck". What he won't tolerate though is the "finish line fit". He won't even bring his own grandson, who he loves dearly, to the races anymore for that very reason.

I'm happy to say this isn't goodbye. When I asked him about Wyatt, he chuckled and said, "oh I plan on keeping him around for as long as I can."

Thank you Mr. Schanewolf for believing in my boys.

*At practice last night in Dothan, our friend Joe Herring, a new blog reader, flattered me by asking if I've ever considered becoming a professional writer. Later on the way home when I relayed this to Vann he said, "That's weird". With my feathers ruffled I asked, "Why on earth do you think I couldn't be a professional writer?" "Oh come on Heather", he said. "You don't even have a bike."


BMX Mom

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thanksgiving Holiday and BMX Racing by William Parker


Although we were not a part of the HUGE turnout in Morristown this Thanksgiving, we did have our share of time on the bikes. We spent our holiday in Watercolor, Florida, playing 2-hand touch, and riding bikes to nearby Seaside. 
Strategy: "Go left. No- go right."

Touchdown - Pink Ladies!!


Biking the trails in Watercolor

My sister Wendy thought briefly that we looked like one of those "normal" families.



Big Daddy basting that bird to perfection

Just before Thanksgiving, William was forced (and I do mean forced) to present a speech for the Florida Tropicana speech competition that begins in 4th grade. I share it with you now, exactly as he typed it. 

GO! GO! GO! GO! GO! THAT’S WHAT MOM AND DAD SCREAM EVERY TIME I AM IN THE LEAD! BMX.THAT’S MY SPORT.THERE ARE A LOT OF TIMES YOU WILL CROSS THE FINISH LINE WITH A SMILE ON YOUR FACE OR A HUGE FROWN.YOU EITHER WIN OR LOSE. IF YOU ARE A GOOD RIDER YOU WILL USUALLY WIN.THERE WILL ALWAYS BE A PERSON YOU WILL HAVE TROUBLE BEATING. IF YOU ARE A SMART RIDER, YOU WILL HAVE A BETTER CHANCE OF BEATING THAT PERSON. BUT YOU HAVE GOT TO TRY YOUR HARDEST.YOU CANNOT WIN EM ALL. BUT IF YOU ARE ON A TEAM AND THEY ARE COUNTING ON YOU TO WIN AND YOU QUIT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RACE BECAUSE YOU ARE IN LAST PLACE, THEY WILL NOT BE HAPPY WITH YOU. BUT IF YOU STILL TRY YOUR HARDEST, THEY WILL NOT BE MAD WITH YOU.

BEFORE YOU GO OUT TO THE TRACK AND START RIDING, PUT THIS INTO YOUR MIND: BMX IS A DANGEROUS SPORT. I HAVE BROKEN 2 BONES AND DISLOCATED 2 ELBOWS. I FEEL BAD FOR MY PARENTS HAVING TO PAY ALL OF THOSE MEDICAL BILLS. BUT I DO NOT THINK THEY MIND THAT MUCH. THEY JUST LET ME RECOVER AND I GET BACK ON MY BIKE. ALMOST EVERYONE IN THE SPORT HAS BROKEN A BONE. SO NOW YOU PROBABLY REALIZE THAT BMX IS A DANGEROUS SPORT. THAT SHOULD NOT STOP YOU FROM TRYING THE SPORT.

IF YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT BMX IS, YOU NEED TO KNOW. BMX RACING IS ON BIKES AND HAS LOTS OF JUMPS AND TURNS.THE RACE STARTS WITH A STARTING GATE THAT DROPS WHEN IT IS PROGRAMMED TO.THE STARTING GATE HOLDS UP TO EIGHT PEOPLE. NOW THAT YOU KNOW WHAT BMX IS, IT WILL HELP YOU UNDERSTAND THIS SPEECH.

THERE IS ONE THING NOBODY LIKES ABOUT RACING: LOSING. NO ONE ENJOYS LOSING BUT LIKE I SAID, YOU CANNOT WIN EM ALL. IF YOU ARE ON A WINNING STREAK AND THEN ONE RACE YOU COME IN FIFTH PLACE, YOU WILL BE UPSET. BUT IF YOU ARE USED TO NOT COMING IN FIRST, YOU WILL NOT BE AS UPSET IF YOU COME IN FIFTH PLACE.
 
I HAVE HAD MANY JOYFUL MOMENTS AND SOME NOT SO GOOD MOMENTS IN BMX. LIKE WHEN I WON MY NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP IN 2009.THAT WAS PROBABLY MY MOST JOYFUL MOMENT IN BMX. THIS YEAR UNFORTUNATELY, I DISLOCATED MY ELBOW 4 WEEKS BEFORE THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS. I COULD NOT BELIEVE I RACED.NOBODY COULD. BUT I DID AND I MADE THE FINALS. ANOTHER JOYFUL MOMENT WAS WHEN I WON THE REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES. BMX IS AN EXCITING SPORT, BUT IT IS NOT EASY TO WIN A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP.YOU HAVE TO TRAIN EVERY DAY AND YOU CANNOT EAT JUNKFOOD. YOU HAVE TO STAY VERY HEALTHY. I HOPE TO BE THE WORLD CHAMPION SOMEDAY. I HOPE YOU THINK BMX IS PRETTY COOL. I DO.YOU EITHER WIN OR LOSE AND YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE INJURIES.YOU SHOULD NOT BE AFRAID OF INJURIES.YOU ARE JUST HAVING FUN.BMX IS REAL COOL TO ME.


Happy Holidays from our family to yours! 


See you in Columbus!!


BMX Mom

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Missing Dixie

Dixie Parker
October 6, 1994- November 13, 2009
Early last fall on a moonlit morning, I carried Dixie out. She stumbled a few steps into the darkness, as best she could, and struggled through her business. I suddenly felt a swoosh very near my cheek, and saw the large shadow as it ascended with a soft "whooooooo". The predator seemed ethereal, searching for the old and weak, and I quickly thought-- Not today. Please don't take her today.


I had learned to wake up in the mornings and grab the mop and clorox before heading to the porch where Dixie spent her last months. A bacterial infection had gripped her stomach that September, and wouldn't let go. Nevertheless, I clung to the hope that she would be the first dog to live forever, prompting some strange new religion.

On the morning of Friday, November 13, 2009, I opened the porch doors and flipped on the lights. My heart sank. Dixie, trying to get to the door, with no one there to open it for her, had soiled the entire patio, finally collapsing in humiliation in her own mess. I left Vann in charge of waking the kids, making breakfast, and packing lunches, so I could carry Dixie out into the cold for an unavoidable bath. While she dried outside, I nuked the porch with clorox.

I watched Dixie carefully. I talked to her, wanting so badly for her to respond. I wanted her to answer the question for me. Are you ready? She was so tired, and I was too. I didn't want to let her go, but looking in her eyes, the answer was there. It was time.

Vann and Dixie, November 1994
Dixie was my first dog. Very young and very much in love, Vann and I added her to our happy home in November of 1994. Dixie was with us through all of the changes that young adulthood brings. During grad school, she would sit under my drafting table until I'd stagger to bed at 4 am when a project was complete. When William was born, she'd sit at my feet during my endless hours in the rocking chair, listening to my secrets. Sometimes, if I felt alone, I would wrap my arms around her and tell her all my worries. She would rest her chin on my shoulder, and let me hug her.

Busted!
Dixie had one weakness-- FOOD. She relished holidays, which always tested her food swiping skills. A black blur would go by and biscuits would be gone. One Christmas we couldn't figure out what kept happening to all the cashews. My sister must've put out ten pounds of nuts all over the house. Vann's mom, a perfect southern lady, had made a chess pie one Father's Day. When it was time for dessert, all we found was an empty pie plate on the floor, prompting some four-letter words in perfect southern lady fashion. At my best friend's birthday brunch, Dixie ate half a breakfast casserole, and a tray of chicken salad sandwiches. She would drive our baby sitters crazy by jumping on the table and eating William's lunch while Wyatt was being put down for a nap.

She was perfect.

I called Vann. I called the vet. The arrangements were made. I held Dixie as she let out her final breath, her fur soaking up my tears.

A few hours later, after breaking the news to the kids, we were on our way to High Springs for state qualifiers. We couldn't get out of it, as we had committed to taking William's friend Gabriel with us. Knowing we wouldn't leave the track until very late that night, Vann decided to check into our hotel-- The Days Inn in Alachua. It looked pretty raunchy on the outside, but I had seen worse. We headed to the track without entering our room.

I went about my race-weekend duties, registering the boys, and helping Vann set out the canopy and chairs, all the while feeling numb and stupefied. I told anyone who would listen that my dog died today. I loved on every dog I saw.

Around 10 o'clock that night, we finally headed to our hotel. The room was, to me, uninhabitable. Vann pulled back the 1970s bedspread to reveal sheets that I couldn't imagine crawling into, much less allowing my offspring to do the same. We grabbed our bags and retreated. The boys and I waited in the truck while Vann went to negotiate the return of our money. According to Vann, an irritable Indian woman, shrouded in a cloud of curry, appeared from behind the counter. I watched from the safety of the truck as Vann argued with this woman about the condition of the room, threatening to contact the Better Business Bureau, etc. Finally she told Vann he could obtain a refund if HE went and made the bed that the covers were pulled back on. Well, the answer there was not no, but HELL NO. Vann emerged with our refund just in time to witness the inebriated, elderly cowboy that was urinating in front of our truck. This day had been way too much for me.

With two exhausted boys, and a wife on the edge, Vann pulled into the Econo Lodge. This lobby had the tolerable aroma of burnt coffee and stale pastries rather than curry, and our over priced room was clean. Vann knows my limits, and he knew my mind was gone. Lying on the bed, staring at the ceiling, I remember Vann saying, "boys, leave your mother alone."


William in the lead with Joseph Leto on his heels.
I felt like a zombie the next two days, but was grateful for the distraction of watching the kids race. William had an incredible weekend, trading firsts with Joey Leto in both expert and cruiser. Wyatt was entered in the "turkey open", where all main makers would win a turkey. Wyatt didn't make his main, and was very disappointed until he discovered that the turkeys were frozen. He thought he was racing for a live turkey.

When the weekend was finally over, we went home to the faint smell of a dog who was no longer there.

Now we have Zoey. Her life revolves around William and Wyatt instead of Vann and me. She may not know my secrets, but she will know theirs, and that's the way it should be.

Wyatt, Zoey and William


Dixie lies forever under an antique camellia, where in the spring, winter's pink blooms softly fall.






Monday, October 4, 2010

Déjà vu

No one ever said life was fair.


How many times did my sister and I hear my mom say those words? These words echo in my head, and I've accepted this statement and learned to live with it.

This was our first true weekend of fall in north Florida, and the boys only entered the staleness of the house to eat and sleep. Yesterday they rode bikes and played football, their dad joining them for an afternoon throwing session, while our lab pup Zoey ran alongside. All William did was go out for a pass...

Zoey, running with William, was suddenly under his feet. William hit the ground in an ordinary fashion-- just as I've seen him fall hundreds of times. Suddenly there was yelling.


My elbow's out my elbow's out!


William NEVER cries wolf. I darted from the porch, and Vann was already to him, examining his right arm-- the one dislocated exactly two months ago (see Delusions in My Head). But William cradled his left! How could this be? No, life isn't fair.

We could see it. William knew it, and we did too. The end of his left radius was clearly amiss, leaving a strange crater in its place. Vann scooped him up and we headed for the bowels of the earth -- the ER at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. We attempted the milder Urgent Care first, where William was doped with morphine and sent to the x-ray room. The first image showed that both the ulna and radius had dislocated. The doctor-on-call, who I wanted to personally strangle, ordered further images.

While I clutched William's shoulders, the x-ray tech wrenched William's arm onto the film, suddenly popping one misplaced bone back into place. William stifled a yelp, and then, "It's back in!" Yes indeed. However, the second film still showed the ulna twisted to the side. The doctor I would like to strangle grew confident, and proceeded to tell my 9-year-old to visualize his bone moving back into place while he yanked and twisted. William's face grew red, and then pale. I thought he would vomit. I thought I would vomit. We were promptly sent to the main ER for sedation.

One week ago in Tallahassee
William relaxed a bit in anticipation of his ketamine fix. After more waiting, William was doped, and his elbow was reduced, while a roomful of Tallahassee Community College EMT students watched and took notes.

What a day.
What a kid!

BMX Mom

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The 2010 NBL Grands: The Great, the Bad, and the Good

I've been beaming with pride ever since both boys made the main Sunday. For both of them to clear semis unscathed is nothing short of miraculous. William, after perfecting motos, took a spill in his main no more than 10 yards from the finish line. Nothing made me prouder than the way he quickly picked himself up and finished with dignity. He was disappointed, and we had to remind him that he had done what he wasn't supposed to or expected to do. Against doctor's orders, he had not only raced, but raced hard and made the main.

By the time Wyatt's 7 rookie main rolled around the dust was a heavy fog around the track, and I'm convinced I've contracted the black lung. Wyatt shot out like a cannon and took the lead. I used what remained of my dirt filled air supply to scream my head off. On the second straight, he slipped to second. He held onto second to the bitter end, where he was passed at the line. No matter. We were ecstatic with Wyatt's third place finish. I ran around to hug and congratulate him, and he was coughing dust and gasping for air. When he could finally speak, he asked, "Can I PLEASE go bungee jumping now?" He had waited all day.

Now it's time to air the dirty laundry, and I'm not referring to the dusty clothes in our suitcases. We heard many complaints from dedicated NBL families about how ill they were treated on Wednesday. I'd share our own personal experience, but I don't have time to attend anger management. Why, I ask, could we not set up canopies during Wednesday's clinic? Three hours of melting in the hot sun is no way to watch kids work their tails off. Open parking at noon Wednesday. Why the delay? We're all lined up anyway. Let us in! I have an idea-- How about we skip impromptu parking lot meetings concerning who goes in first. Come on, really? Lastly, if you have to repeatedly remind people that you are track president, you're probably not acting like one.

Fortunately, the good far outweighed the bad. The volunteers were A+. Not once did I wait in a long line. Everything appeared smooth and efficient. The new BMX Nation magazine was a big hit, and helped lend excitement to the NBL changes. The bright vertical sponsor banners were not only aesthetically pleasing, but safer than the former low banners. One big improvement was the new gate, which I heard no complaints about. Although long, the race was run at a timely pace despite the many accidents. Speaking of accidents, I'd like to give the most kudos to the EMTs who were responsive and thorough, making the event as safe as possible.

When we finally arrived at our hotel Sunday night, William plopped down on the couch. "I'm so glad that's over." "Why?" I asked. "The pressure. You just don't know, Mommy." I listened to my 9-year-old describe staging. How he tried to talk to his friend who was stoically holding back nervous tears, while the other 9 experts, jittery and agitated, chattered amongst themselves about nothing in particular. Some of them are pressured by their team-- We're counting on you! Many of them by parents-- If you would just guard your line! A few are grasping at something they can't bear to let go-- I can't lose this title! Most of all, they are pressured by each other. I watched William's 9x class closely. It's chock full of great kids and skilled riders, and I commend them. I commend all the riders. They showed that it takes not only strength and skill, but courage and character to race at the NBL Grand Nationals.

See you next year!

BMX Mom

Friday, August 27, 2010

Disappointment, Relief, and the Reluctant Return of 502

"Excuse me sir, what did you break?" While waiting in Tallahassee Orthopedic Clinic yesterday, William struck up a conversation with a middle-aged man with a walker, and a fresh cast drying on his arm. "My wrist and my hip." He replied. William let out a sympathetic "Ooooooooooh. I fractured my wrist too. See? It wasn't bad. I didn't need a cast. I dislocated my elbow. That hurt a lot more. Is yours bad?" "Real bad." The man winced.

William went on to ask how?, and was impressed that it was a motorcycle accident. Then William's eyes lit with a flurry of questions: What kind of bike? Do you race? How did you fall? I would've stopped William, but he actually seemed to be making the man happy with his childhood curiosities. Due to his various mishaps, William has been a fairly regular patient at TOC for over three years, and he's a little too comfortable there.

After several days of physical therapy, we were feeling confident that William would race the Grands. As a matter of fact, we knew it. William's arm was x-rayed, and after careful examination and manipulation of his elbow, Dr. Fahey, who knows William well, heaved a sigh. "I can't let him do it. If he falls on it, it won't bend. It will break." We stood there disbelieving. William was confused. "So, you're not changing your mind? I can't race the Grands?" Dr. Fahey gave us the news that he was hopeful for October, but there was no way he would race next weekend.

We're all disappointed, William most of all. Still, he admitted feeling some relief. The pressure on him would've been tremendous, and he had concerns about racing without being 100%. I felt his relief too. With such tight competition in the 9x class, making the main would've been a major undertaking in his current condition.

William's biggest disappointment was knowing that it's time to surrender his plate. Designed by Stuart Harrison of HRP Designs, William's #1 plate features a fiery graphic of Slash shredding on his guitar. Just above William's name are the words 2009 National Champion. It was a hard title to earn, and just as hard to give up without a fight.

So, it's time to dust off William's old plate-- the trusty number 502. He'll ride with it through the 2011 season, replacing it with an earned number for 2012.

All is not lost. One week from now, we'll be in Louisville, cheering on Wyatt, and celebrating with family and friends. For once, Wyatt will be out of the shadow. It'll be his time to shine.

BMX Mom

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Love the Bike

BMX racing does not begin on the track...

Something shifted in William today. His love for the bike outweighed his pain.

He and his brother have been on their bikes all day. Never mind that it's 100º. They started by building an obstacle course with logs. William would bunny hop over them, while Wyatt would attempt to pedal over without falling. Most of the time he fell, but that's just part of it.

Next came the race course. The brothers had an unfair battle in which Wyatt collapsed in a heap, and William kept on because it felt awesome just to ride.
Ramp Construction

Feeling emboldened, William decided his elbow was sturdy enough to do some jumping. A ramp was quickly engineered using old bricks and a couple of boards. The kids have done this a million times, and typically I turn a blind eye and hope for the best.

William hit down hard. "Oooowwww! My arm!!"
He shook it off, and next thing I know, two bricks are being added to the ramp. 

From the porch I hear Vann's voice, "That's not stable!" You see, today is our anniversary, and neither of us is in the mood for an emergency room visit. 

We're in the mood for other things.

BMX Mom

Monday, August 16, 2010

Regional Championship, LCQ, NBL Changes, William Update, and More... Whew!

August 14-15, Peachtree City, GA

Whether we're at a Four Seasons or an Econo Lodge, I do not trust hotel alarm clocks. I awoke suddenly Saturday morning to a strange blue light coming from the clock. "Vann-- Vann! Did the alarm go off?" Grunt, nudge. I took that as a yes. I dressed in the dark, washed my face, brushed my teeth, applied fresh contacts, and was already thinking about what my Waffle House breakfast would consist of. Just as I was moving to flip on the lights and wake the boys, Vann sat up. "What are you doing!?" Me--"Getting dressed!" (Like, DUHHH!) Vann groaned and  fumbled for the clock-- "It's 1:45 in the morning!"

I crawled back in bed. It didn't take me long to get ready when the alarm actually did sound at 6.

Vann and Wyatt- SE Regional Championship, Peachtree City, GA
It was time for the Southeast Regional Championship. We've attended this event for the past five years, and this was the best turn-out since Albany five years ago. We were there exclusively for Wyatt, and it pained William to watch from the sidelines. He had hoped to race 9-10 cruiser that day, but his arm would not allow it (see previous blog). A two moto transfer had been called due to incoming weather. Mains had just begun when the sky opened up. Deciding how to handle these situations is always a tough call for track officials. Fortunately, this was Peachtree City BMX, and with Shayne Robinson in charge, it was handled with finesse. Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson. We were sent away with instructions to check the track hotline every hour. That turned out not to be necessary, as word quickly spread through some sort of BMX ESP that the gate would drop at 5:30.

Wyatt had pulled seconds in motos, and returned to the track with high hopes of winning the main. Honestly, I think he wanted to get it over with and go swim in the pool. He ended up with a second.

Later at the Peachtree Wyndham, parents and kids gathered at the pool for our long awaited happy hour. The kids had a blast, and the scene was reminiscent of "Caddy Day" at the Bushwood Country Club. I only wish I had a baby ruth.

Sunday was the Last Chance Qualifier for the Grands. I'll keep it brief. Wyatt brought in his first perfect EVER. Thank you PTC BMX for a great weekend!

Wyatt's Main (7 rookie)


On our drive home, I was phoned by my friend Dede with word of the NBL changes. Wow! I'm not sure how other BMX families feel about this, but it's going to be a tremendous savings for us. With two riders, one of which races class and cruiser, we're used to paying $300 in entry fees for an event weekend. Now we won't hesitate to race as often as possible, and will most likely put Wyatt on a cruiser as well. If I understand the new proficiency changes correctly, Wyatt will automatically move to the new "challenger" class after the Grands. This is great with us, as we had already decided to move him up anyway. I won't summarize these changes. You can read about them here.

I'll close with a quick William report. He's almost able to fully straighten his arm, and is working to bend it beyond 90 degrees. He's constantly bending, stretching and twisting. He'll start riding this week, with plenty of wrist support and elbow protection. William has decided to ride the Grands no matter what. I know William, and I know he'll grit his teeth and give it everything he has. Please send him good thoughts!

BMX Mom


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Delusions in My Head

"Mommy? Daddy? Am I dreaming? 
Where am I?"

"Sleep? You won't sleep for 10 years, man!" Vann was on the phone with his buddy Mike, a new father for three days now. We were on our way to the Malabar Farm, home of 1940s author Louis Bromfield. The scenery was unimaginably beautiful, and I nudged Vann to slow down as gold finches darted in and out of our path from the wild flower edged cornfields.

Before touring the historic home, we decided to have a bite to eat at the Malabar Farm Restaurant. Louis Bromfield dreamed of having an authentic French restaurant on his property, and there it was-- a delight to the gastronomical senses in the middle of a cornfield. The menu was fabulous. But, I think any menu that offers a "plate of rare cheeses" is fabulous. With no kids, no work, and no problems, we decided to linger over a bottle of South African blended white and enjoy a cheese plate. The wine was perfect for a misty day, and I enjoyed showing off my cheese knowledge with our server. I had ordered a blue cheese burger with the works, accompanied by blue lyonnaise potatoes grown on Malabar Farm.

Vann's phone rang, and he stepped outside to take what I assumed was a business call. As the most beautiful burger in the world was placed in front of me, Vann appeared. "We have to go."

The call had been from Chris Ashcraft at Ohio Dreams. He was on the way to the Mansfield hospital with William. We abandoned our succulent morsels, plugged the hospital address into the Tom Tom, and did what we have done before-- raced to the hospital.

From William's pain level, I knew something was bad wrong. He was unable to move his right arm, and his elbow pad had to be cut off for his x-rays. When I finally saw it, I knew it was broken. It was the size of a baseball. As it happens, I was wrong.
"You should have seen me jump into the foam pit! I was awesome!"
 We knew it. We had warned him. It was a classic case of I told you so. We refrained from saying that though, and listened to his stories of how high he had jumped, and how often. He and his buddy Dare had played rock-paper-scissors to see who would jump first. His injury didn't happen on his way into the foam pit, but on his way out. He slipped on the outside edge, and tumbled to the concrete below. Had he not been wearing his pads, I'm certain his elbow would have shattered.

His excruciating pain was caused from a dislocation, that had to be repaired. After a brief discussion with the doctor, William opted for anesthesia to have it popped back into place. I can't say I blame him. We were allowed to watch, as William's eyes fluttered and rolled in a drug induced stupor, and the doctor fixed his elbow within 3 seconds.

Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds hummed through my head as I watched William reach for reality.
"I like the delusions in my head-- 
the four eyes -- the two noses..." 

Reality came soon enough, and we went to collect William's belongings at camp, and ease the mind of his worried brother. William is staying with us tonight, being nursed and enjoying popcorn and a movie.

Because I'm aware that inquiring minds want to know... William is out for next weekend's race in Peachtree City. Now as for the Grands, we'll be consulting our orthopedist in Tallahassee first thing Monday morning. Don't count him out yet.

As for the other Parker brother, he's having the time of his life, and learning all the skills he needs to take to the upcoming events. Whether William rides or not, he'll be there rooting for Wyatt.

BMX Mom

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Letting Go

Well, we're on the ultimate BMX Mom Adventure. The boys were deposited today at Ohio Dreams Action Sports Camp, where they will learn the skills they need to win win win!! OK, whatever.

"Are you ok?" I asked Vann, as we walked briskly to the car. It was an odd feeling-- leaving our babies at this bizarre place to fend for themselves. I did get to make their beds though, and it comforted me to know that their corners would be properly tucked.

We know that they are in good hands. The coaches are patient and kind, and truly love what they do. We lingered as long as we could, watching the boys enjoy the indoor skate and freestyle bmx complex. Wyatt's face was lit up- "It's fun to fall Mommy! It doesn't hurt!" He was riding his scooter amongst the freestyle bmxers, having the time of his life.

We're a 15 hour drive from home, and will retrieve our hopefully unbroken boys in 6 days time. So, we've decided to stay four miles away in the Mohican Lodge. This has turned out to be part disco, part paradise. Although dated and groovy, it's a quite lovely place. Vann and I have plans to hike, canoe, and hob nob with the local Amish. There's a lovely lake here that is not visible from our room, but Vann's keen eye detected a spotted fawn this evening from our little balcony.

I think I hear Vann calling me now...
Camp really is a good thing.

BMX Mom

Thursday, July 29, 2010

2009: The Title Year


With the end of the 2010 season fast approaching, I wanted to take the time to do one final flashback post covering 2009.

William and Wyatt at the 2008 Fall Classic
By the end of the 2008 season, William had recovered fully from his accident, and regained his confidence.  At the 2008 Fall Classic, he rode away with the 2008 SE regional title, and won his first nationals of the 2009 season. Wyatt began racing in 2008, and was making a mark of his own as a 5 rookie. This is also when they were both signed on to their team-- Schanewolf Cycle Sport.

Their opportunity to earn additional national points came the following January at regionals in St. Pete. (you recall the bathroom blog?) Even though the facilities were less than desirable, William made a good show coming away with two perfects. It was after this event that we began to ponder the possibility of a national title.

William battling for the win in High Springs.
Two months later at Spring Nationals in Morristown, TN, William had another perfect weekend, taking him to the top of the 8 novice ranks. With five perfects  under his belt, he only needed one more to complete his season, cap his points, and head to the grands on top. This day came a month later at the Gator Nationals in High Springs, FL, where William stayed on his A-game, stuck out his elbows, and took the perfect.

Although his points were capped, he continued to race for as long as his move-ups would allow. July nationals in Nashville proved to be a struggle. At the top of his class, William was the kid to beat, and he felt like a target. He cut his losses, and got it together to take a win in Peachtree City the following month.
He was ready for the Grands.


THE GRANDS (BMX National Championships)

We headed for Louisville, KY, on the Tuesday before Labor Day, with high hopes and great expectations. Both boys worked hard on the track Wednesday and Thursday before the race, allowing us to take a day off on Friday to explore Louisville with visiting family (see BMX: It's a Family Affair). Racing began Saturday morning, and both William and Wyatt easily made it through their first motos and quarter finals. William's nerves took a turn for the worst, however, when semi finals rolled around. To qualify for the main, riders had to place in the top four. A slip of the pedal, a wreck, coming unclipped... all these things were on William's mind. He has a way of over-thinking, and can sometimes work himself into a stress-frenzy. We sent him up to the gate with excessive encouragement and waited anxiously.

ON THE BUBBLE...
William in gate 8





Let me just say that we have revisited this video 100 or more times, and it still puts my stomach in knots. I asked William what he was feeling in that last turn, and he said, "I don't have a feeling when I'm racing. If you have a feeling, it's harder to do it."  Wow. I think that's pretty real, and I think my kid is pretty darn awesome. Wyatt was also "on the bubble" in his semi-- the outside of the bubble. Wyatt, after working hard all season, narrowly missed his main. He did what he always does in these situations: accepted a hug, immediately blew $8 on bungee jumping, and prepared to cheer on his brother.

After his shaky semi, William grew even more anxious for his main. We did all we could to calm him. We knew he'd be fine as soon as the gate dropped, but the several hours of waiting was wearing on him. I found myself pleading-- not with God, but with someone I know much better in heaven-- my mom. Please please ride with William. Give him strength and courage.
And she did.

THE MAIN EVENT
William takes an early lead from gate 5...


Wyatt (#5) and William (#1)
William knows the error he made in turn one. He should've won, and nearly did at the end. Regardless, the story has a happy ending. William's second place grands finish, combined with his cumulative points for the season, still gave him what he was after-- the national title he shed blood, sweat and tears for.

For his grand finish, William rewarded himself with a new bow and arrow, that he had said he would only get if he took the number one plate. He bought it with his own money-- a little bargain with himself.

This year, the pressure isn't quite so great. While both boys are comfortably in the top 5 in their respective classes, a title shot is not something on our minds. One thing I do expect from them is to ...

AIM HIGH!!

BMX MOM

Monday, July 12, 2010

Let the training begin...

or at least try to anyway.

Any bmxer in Florida knows how difficult it is to train during the summer months. Between the 100º temperatures and relentless rain, it's a wonder that many of the top riders hail from the Sunshine State. I've often wondered why the NBL chose Labor Day weekend to host national championships, forcing Florida riders to train their hardest during the most miserable months of the year. One of William's top competitors lives in California, where the tracks stay dry, and the temperatures rarely exceed a balmy 79º.

National championships, or Grands in bmx speak, are now less than two months away. Our local track is a joke, and has been for quite some time, despite a promise of assistance from our parks and rec department. This, of course, is the primary training obstacle.


Saturday night we took the 90 minute jaunt to Circle City BMX in Dothan, AL to get in some serious ride time, and a local race. This facility has had their share of problems -- specifically the hush hush problem that all of you NBLers know about anyway. Well, I'm here to tell you, since their switch to the ABA, they have gotten their act together. This is in part to the support they receive from the city of Dothan. You see, unlike Tallahassee, Dothan parks and rec cares not only about baseball, but BMX too! Wow! So, just like the numerous baseball fields across the city of Tallahassee remain LOCKED when not in use by various sanctioned leagues, the ABA sanctioned BMX track in Dothan remains covered, with the gates LOCKED except during specific practice and race times. Then, and only then, are riders with American Bicycle Association memberships permitted to ride. In addition to this, the city of Dothan offered up $1000 to the BMX organization who brought the most riders to the Wiregrass Nationals held there this past May. (Photo: Wyatt with his trophy at the Wiregrass Nats. Video: Wyatt winning his main at the Wiregrass Nats in Dothan.) Every time we're there I think this is how BMX in Tallahassee should be.

Bmx is unusual in that coaches are not readily available to provide a training plan and proper motivation. For the most part, this has to come from the parents. When a rider turns expert however, this becomes sort of like trying to help someone with their trigonometry homework when you've been out of school for 25 years. Last summer we were fortunate enough to arrange for William to work with former pro Bill Madden in Fort Walton. This year, the boys are getting a whiz bang week of training at Ohio Dreams Action Sports Camp. They leave in three weeks, and can hardly wait. Here at home their dad takes them sprinting 2-3 days a week. Aside from that, they jump on the trampoline, climb trees, play chase with our dog, and sweat until the sun goes down.

Michael Phelps had it easy. He had a pool.

BMX Mom

Monday, June 28, 2010

BMX: It's a Family Affair

We've just returned home from our annual beach week, which seemed most special this year. Knowing this would certainly be our last trip before the oil ruins it for us all, we treasured the squeak of the white sand, and ignored the accumulation of green seaweed in our bathing suits. We swam with turtles, dolphins and rays, and shouted in vain, "go east!" I've been moving in the Gulf waters with these creatures since I was a small child, and their fate has me somewhat consumed and emotional. Sharing this week with my family reminded me of how lucky I am to have people in my life who love my boys so much that they will follow us to the ends of the earth to enjoy a little piece of BMX action. I hope the boys grow to appreciate it too.

From the earliest races, BMX has been a family affair. My dad (pictured with William and Wyatt at the 2007 Easter Classic) has been a staple from the beginning, never wanting to miss an opportunity to brag on his grandsons. He's a huge help too: collecting trophies, swapping out a 20 for a cruiser in staging when motos run tight, and often occupying Wyatt who tends to get restless off the track.

The boys' Aunt Ryland and Uncle Greg also have a high attendance record. (Pictured: Wyatt with his Uncle Greg in St. Pete.) Over the years, they've followed us all over the state of Florida for weekends of fun in the dust and port-o-potty experiences. Ever since the birth of their precious twin girls last September, spontaneous outings have been a little more challenging. However, they still managed to bring my adorable nieces to watch their big cousins race in the Easter Classic in Okeeheelee this past April. Now that's devotion! We've got two Redline minis set aside for the girls, and can hardly wait for them to get on a track. Although, we'll be equally stoked to see them in leotards at dance recitals and gymnastics meets.

The endurance award has to go to my Uncle Lynn and Aunt Kathy who spent a fun-filled stress-filled week with us in Louisville, KY for the 2009 Grand Nationals. Oh my dad tagged along too, and kept us all on time for the 5pm manager's reception at the Embassy Suites. Never mind that he was staying at the distant Red Carpet Inn. On our day-off from the track, we explored Louisville, visiting the bat factory, and walking along the river. Within our group of world travelers, no one had ever been to Louisville, and we stood looking across the Ohio River and discussed (argued) about which state is on the opposite bank. We had to ask a police officer, who kindly informed us we were all wrong. You know, I still can't remember what state it is. (Picture: Duhhh, what's that state?)

The most family we ever had at one race was in Morristown, TN at the 2009 Thanksgiving Nationals. We had my lovely sister Wendy (check out her blog), her husband George, my dad, Uncle Jack, who is never seen without a cowboy hat, and his daughter Elizabeth, who is ever-stylish and oh so frightened of public restrooms. My cousin Judy and her husband Shane also made an appearance. This was an unusual group in many ways, and I'd have to start a new blog to write about them. It was an impressive fan club, and they all saw Wyatt bring in his first win that weekend at the US Open (pictured). The beauty of this is that all these people trekked across country because we decided to race Thanksgiving weekend, and they wanted to be with us. That's something special! It was a memorable family weekend complete with a crazy mountain cabin and a trip to Dollywood. I truly wish I had a photo of all of us at the race, but alas the opportunity has passed me by.

Now that we are spoiled from all of this attention, we're hoping for a big family turn out at this September's Grand Nationals in Louisville. The drinks are on me--- Meet me at the Embassy Suites at 5.

BMX Mom

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Jinx of Oak Mountain Lives On: A brief weekend wrap-up

I happened to check the weather for Pelham, Alabama yesterday hoping for the best for our friends racing at Oak Mountain. I stayed updated through some spicy text messages sent from my friend Mandi Green, an Oak Mountain local. Heavy rain began mid-way through the mains, stalling the race until late last night. Mandi could not deny the jinx of Oak Mountain. In her text she states, "...It's been a long one...it's never gonna end." I texted her back some quick advice on how to handle these long nights, and she assured me she already had it under control.

So how did we fare staying home? Did we stay free and clear of the jinx? Well, in a word, no. Zoey, our adorable 7-month-old lab pup decided to make a meal of toxic berries in our yard. The money we saved trying to avoid the jinx went straight into the hands of the emergency pet hospital where Zoey spent the weekend having her system flushed. If we had gone to Oak Mountain, Zoey would have been frolicking through the mud instead of eating rotten berries.

Better luck next year!

BMX Mom

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Jinx of Oak Mountain

This weekend we are supposed to be headed to Pelham, Alabama to race regionals at Oak Mountain BMX. It's what we've done, or attempted to do, on this same weekend for the past four years.

June of 2006 was our first visit to Oak Mountain. This was going to be William's first out of town race, and he was very excited. It was sunny and extremely hot when we arrived for Friday afternoon practice. William took two laps and returned to us complaining of a headache. I gave him some gatorade and told him to get back out there and practice. He returned once more saying he couldn't ride because of his head. It was so darn hot out there that I had no clue he was roasting with fever. We decided to load up and drive down to Montgomery so William could rest at his grandparents. When Vann went to start the truck, the battery was dead. Cell phone service is next to nil in the park, but we managed to get a garbled call out to my dad who came to our rescue.

By the time we made it down to Montgomery, I knew something was bad wrong with William. I took him to the nearest emergency walk-in clinic, where he was diagnosed with mycoplasma, a form of pneumonia that kept him sick for two weeks. On a side note, while checking out at the clinic, William, delirious with fever and pointing at the receptionist, asks loudly, "Mommy, why does that lady have gold teeth?" I met the receptionist's eye, and sure enough she had enough gold teeth to retire on. If I saw her today, I would hand her a pair of pliers and advise her to head to the nearest cash for gold establishment.


Our brief visit to Oak Mountain did allow me to see what a beautiful area it is. In early 2007, knowing we would be going to the Oak Mountain regional once more, I secured a cabin on the lake in the state park so that we could not only race, but fish, swim and grill too. It wasn't long after that William had his accident, and I gave our highly prized cabin reservation to friends.

In 2008, we actually raced! The crew at Oak Mountain BMX had their hands full though, keeping the track rideable in very wet conditions. Mud was everywhere, as illustrated by our young friend Brady Green. (Photo credit: Stuart Harrison)
We didn't think track conditions could get much worse, until we arrived at Oak Mountain in June of 2009 in a torrential downpour. All of the faithful, determined to race, waited for the sun to dry off the track. Meanwhile, restless kids (mine especially) ran through the muddy woods wearing their only team jerseys. Wyatt has a way of getting extra dirty, and when Saturday's race was postponed until Sunday, I was forced to wash his racing clothes in the hotel bathtub.

Racing finally began Sunday morning on a muddy track. Everyone at Oak Mountain BMX deserves to be commended for actually pulling off the race. It was obvious that more rain was on the way, so the race was run as quickly as possible. William raced cruiser that day, and was bumped up to the 9-10 class because of the lack of 8 and under riders. He was up against some fast kids, and was coming in a close third in every moto. Before he went up for the main, he told us he felt he could take second, and was going to go for it. Well go for it he did, and he folded up like a two dollar suitcase shooting out of the first turn, crashing hard in front of my 80-year-old aunt who had braved the foul weather to watch him race. It was no doubt a nasty spill, and the paramedics rushed out to have a look at him. Thankfully, he was able get on his bike and ride out. My aunt, bless her heart, fretted over William, who, although bleeding through his jersey, continued to insist he was fine. I think she was shocked that I actually let my kids participate in such a sport. Once Wyatt's main was complete, we were in a rush to pack up and go. Rain was clearly coming. The downpour began once more as I gathered trophies and tried to avoid slipping on mud.

On the way home we made a unanimous decision, Oak Mountain is jinxed for us and we're not going back. This has absolutely no reflection on the wonderful people there. It's truly a fantastic facility, and I hope the jinx has ended. In our absence, I have no doubt that the weather will be perfect and the race will run without a hitch.

To all of our friends racing in Oak Mountain this weekend, stay dry!

Happy Racing!

BMX Mom

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sometimes They Fall: A Story of Courage (Part II)

I must begin by giving credit to some special people who helped us through this crazy time. I am personally grateful for the gorgeous ladies of book club for their weeks of meals they so graciously delivered to my family. Many thanks to Vann's coworkers at Pella for all of their gifts and cards that made William smile. I know William is most grateful for the time he got to spend with Ricky Carmichael. He'll always be the G.O.A.T. to us. We would also like to thank Dr. Mark Fahey at Tallahassee Orthopedic Clinic. And last, a special thanks to my Grandma Helen who shouted words of wisdom from the great beyond.

If you have not had the opportunity to read Part I of this story, do so now.

After, well, the worst night of our lives, William finally slept. Visitors and nurses came and went. Vann arrived after taking Wyatt to preschool, and we were informed that William would be discharged that afternoon. We were scared, but relieved that he would be home with us. Vann sent me home at last to shower and try to gather myself before collecting Wyatt. My friend Dede had parked my car in the emergency lot the night before, which costs a measly dollar to exit. This is a real problem if you don't have a measly dollar on your person. Oh, I could've scrounged change, but this machine required a measly crisp dollar. Great. I had bigger things on my mind, so I cleverly positioned myself to steal out of there on the bumper of the next car that exited. My plan worked, so remember that the next time you're trapped in an emergency room parking lot.

My phone was ringing when I arrived home, and it was Kim from my book club. "What happened? How's William?" I'm sure she wasn't expecting the earful that she got.  Then she asked,  "how are YOU?" I looked down at myself, in the same clothes from yesterday, now dirty and smelly from the bmx track and the long night in the hospital, and all I could do was blink away tears. "Oh, I'm fine." Right. I'm really glad she didn't fall for that one, because she immediately gathered the troops and lined up our dinners for the following three weeks. If you don't go to church, I highly recommend joining a book club.

Vann arrived home with William a few hours later. We were given no instructions on how to care for him. We had no clue how to carry him, put him in the car, or wash his hair. Leaving the hospital, Vann was given no assistance putting him in the truck, while poor William was crying in pain. The nurses in the hospital looked at William as if he were an alien, and it had taken three of them to figure out the best way for him to go to the bathroom. How were we supposed to do all this at home?

The first week was terribly difficult, as William was still in a tremendous amount of pain. Vann and I took turns sleeping in Wyatt's bed to be near William, and Wyatt would bunk up with one of us. William had always slept on his belly, but now had to sleep propped up on pillows, with more pillows positioned under his knees. Full of pain and frustration, he didn't sleep much.

William spent his days in a chair in our living room where he was most comfortable. He would doze off while reading BMX Today or BMXer, dreaming of getting back on his bike. It didn't take long for overwhelming boredom to set in. The following Tuesday, William announced that he wanted to watch bmx practice. On that first night back at the track, I think everyone wondered if he would in fact return to the bike. Our big burly track director, David Shields, held back tears, and had to turn away so William wouldn't see. What no one seemed to realize was that the thought of not returning to bmx never entered William's mind.

Three days after the accident, William's kindergarten teacher, Ms. Kenton, came to visit. William still had one month of school, and we weren't about to let this hold him back. She convinced William of how much the class missed him, and that he should come back when he felt up to it. We still needed to solve the issue of William's drafty aft, when Vann's ingenuity came into play. My clever husband bought William oversized shorts, removed the seams, and attached snaps so that poor William could cover himself. And so, we made arrangements for Wyatt to go to preschool five days a week, and I accompanied William to kindergarten for the remaining month of school. I'll admit, sitting in the cafeteria day after day with a bunch of kindergartners who couldn't open their milk cartons was a little trying, but I was so happy that William could still participate. His classmates were wonderful, and would take turns throwing the ball with him at recess.

Still, William suffered continuously from the frustration of being immobile. His dad, brother and I were constant cheerleaders trying to lift his spirits. After a couple of weeks, I was beginning to feel quite sorry for myself. Having William in that body cast was like having a 60 Ib baby that could bark out orders. My back ached from lifting him and his equally heavy wheel chair. My mind was numb from attending kindergarten. I was pathetic.

One particularly rough day, I dropped into bed exhausted, questioning again how we were going to get through this. Now, you may or may not believe me, but my dead grandma has a weird way of popping up when I least expect it. That night, her voice loud and clear in my head said these words:

You can not change what has happened.
You can decide whether to be weak or strong, or negative or positive.

I sat straight up in bed and wanted to slap myself for being so ridiculous. I vowed right then to end the pity party.

On Mother's Day, William received the best surprise. We were invited to watch Ricky Carmichael practice on his local track. Ricky and his buddy Ben Townley jumped high and did tail whips, and generally did a marvelous job of showing off. William loved it. Best of all, Ricky was the first to sign William's cast. We still have it, and it looks like a strange, headless body.



William's 6th birthday rolled around, and he chose to celebrate at the track. Originally, we had made plans to surprise William with a trip to Disney World. Just so you know, even if your child has a major accident and is in a body cast, that stupid mouse will not refund your deposit. We made the most of it just the same, and had a good night at the track. The boys pushed William around, and threw the football with him. (Pictured: William with his friend Keagan.)
Time dragged on, and after seven weeks the big day for cast removal finally arrived. William couldn't wait to ride a bike, and I couldn't wait for him to take a bath. We quickly learned that things don't always go as planned. William's leg was healing at an angle, and we held our breaths as Dr. Fahey debated surgery once again.  Because William was growing so fast, he gambled, betting that William's growth would ultimately correct the problem. The decision was made to remove the spica and put William in a long leg cast.
William was glad to have one leg free, and quickly became somewhat mobile again with the help of a walker. He would practice in the yard where it was safe for him to fall over. I taught him the classic phrase, "I've fallen and I can't get up!" Being able to move around a bit helped ease the disappointment of still being in a cast. 
Three weeks later, we had better luck. The bone, although crooked, had fused well, and William was free at last. It would still be several weeks before William was allowed on a bike, but the day the cast came off, I let him ride his brother's big wheel. I had to carry him on and off of it because he still couldn't walk, but he could ride that big wheel like a champ. It wasn't long before he could begin using his trainer. This helped to strengthen his legs before he actually started riding. 


When the day came for him to return to the track, everyone paused and watched as William, limping severely, but fearless, walked up the starting hill, 

and rode again.


BMX Mom

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sometimes They Fall: A Story of Courage (Part I)

April 24, 2007 was the last Tuesday in April. I know this because my book club meets the last Tuesday of every month. It was going to be a big night at the track. The weather was beautiful and the track was pristine. The BMX dads had a fish fry planned. I opted out, choosing instead to discuss Out of the Flames with my book club ladies. Not that I had much to say about the Restoration and Holy Trinity. And so, Vann (BMX dad) took the boys to practice.

My phone started ringing during our heated discussion of Michael Servetus, and his gory demise at the stake. I'm never interrupted at book club. I answered. The voice on the line was forcibly calm, hiding panic. "William is hurt. I need you to come to the track now."  I began spewing questions, but the only response was, "Get here NOW."

I left abruptly, trying to control my speed, all the while wondering why on earth I wasn't meeting them at the emergency room that I was driving past. The drive seemed too long. I hurried. The phone rang. Hurry. Hurry.


I saw the ambulance first.

After a full night of practice, followed by a race, the kids ate dinner and continued to ride. It was almost time to leave when William was hit. The other rider didn't see him. I was told that William cried out and went silent. When they tried to lift him, his left femur folded, and the ambulance was called.

William was sprawled on the track, the color gone from his face. He wasn't crying. He was loaded into the ambulance with me beside him. He was immediately stuck with an IV and given the maximum dose of morphine a 55 Ib body can take. The pulse in his left foot was checked repeatedly for signs of a severed femoral artery. We looked like a parade arriving at the hospital, with everyone from the track following behind the ambulance.

"Only three visitors allowed", we were told, as all but Vann, Wyatt and I dispersed. William's pants had to be removed for the x-ray. When the technician began cutting his pants, William began to cry. "I know it hurts baby", I soothed. "My new pants!" He sobbed. They were brand new red Fox racing pants. Then he turned to me quietly and asked, "Mommy, will you please get me some boxers in case this ever happens again?" Apparently he picked the wrong night to wear his Darth Vader drawers.

Watching William's face during his x-ray was torture, and I wanted to borrow his morphine drip just to get through it. The technician summoned us to the screen. It didn't require a phd to see that William's left femur, the largest bone in his little body, had snapped like a twig. In my nauseated stupor, I asked, "Is it broken?" (The image shown is a week after the accident. It's probably a good thing that I couldn't locate the emergency room x-rays.)

We were informed that the pediatric orthopedic surgeon had been called, and was on the way. When he arrived, he quickly explained that William would be prepped for surgery, and surgery would be performed immediately if the bone could not be set externally.  It was past 11:00, and Wyatt was asleep in a chair. Vann needed to get him home, and was forced to leave with all the uncertainty looming. Soon after, I was introduced to the team of surgeons, orthopedists, nurses and anesthesiologists who had been assembled to put our son back together. When it was time, I kissed William, and held his hand for as long as they would let me, as they wheeled the gurney to the O. R.

William has been the cause of the longest hours of my life: first, his laborious natural birth, then, this. Time stood still as I fidgeted restlessly and made necessary phone calls.

After three hours, William's chief orthopedist, Dr. Fahey, materialized in the waiting room. The cast application had been successful, and the bone had been set externally. William had been placed in a spica, which you really have to see to believe. I was led to recovery, where William was just waking up. He looked down. "Oh God", he muttered softly. I held his hand again as we were checked into our room. Drowsy from morphine and anesthesia, I thought William would sleep. Instead, he cried softly the rest of the night. I cried too, because I didn't know how to help my son.

To be continued...

BMX Mom

 PART TWO

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Rookie: A prelude to what comes next

"Somewhere, a child surprises himself with his endurance, his quick mind, his dexterous hands. Somewhere a child accomplishes with ease that which usually takes great effort. And this child, who has been blind to his past but whose heart still beats for the thrill of the race, this child's soul awakens."*


This post is simply to provide my loyal readers (Hello? Anyone?) a little history before I launch into my next rambling--- which is a doozy.

The Winter of 2007 brought amazing things for William. After his wins at the 2006 Fall Classic and regional championship, we knew without a doubt that he would pursue racing with all of his 5-year-old gusto. We were advised by friends to hold him back and let him have a shot at the 6 rookie title (see sandbagging), but that wasn't going to happen. William wanted to race, and he wanted to WIN.

Our next event weekend was the 2007 state qualifier and SE regional at the Emerald Coast Dirt & Vert in Fort Walton Beach, FL. William perfected both days, and inched even closer to the novice class. (Pictured: William racing his buddy Grant. They now race each other in the 9 expert class. Photo credit: Devon Ravine.)

William's final race as a rookie was a few weeks later at regionals in Dothan, AL. Once again, he perfected the weekend, giving him the  move-up points he needed to enter the novice class.

After the Gator Nationals in Sarasota, and the Easter Classic in Orlando, William was poised to vie for the 6 novice national title.

From his 5-year-old vantage point, in the Spring of 2007, he was sitting on top of the world.

*From The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein.