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.


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.


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!


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.


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.