Posts Tagged ‘ race ’

A Southern Fried, Sunday Afternoon Play Date

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

After testing out the adventure of taking you to the races at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway with us, we decided to invite your best friend Sophie and her parents along for the next race.

It was interesting because I could tell Sophie enjoyed watching the races just as much as you did, but in a slightly different way:

She is a highly verbal extrovert. You are a highly verbal introvert.

Sophie wanted to talk to you and share snacks.

You wanted to eat your own snacks and watch the race; as the “grumpy old man” look on your face in this picture clearly demonstrates.

I was actually surprised you let Sophie wear your skull and crossbones sunglasses… or as you call them, your robot glasses.

Basically, if it meant she didn’t get to eat your food, you were willing to sacrifice the shades.

It was funny when I asked Sophie’s mommy how she liked the races as we were leaving, because her response perfectly reflected my own: “That was different… but I had a good time.”

I must say that being at the races this weekend reminded me how truly Southern living in Nashville can be sometimes… or at least I should say, in some places in Nashville.

The races began with a prayer, which is fine by me. However, the prayer devolved quickly:

“Dear Lord, we thank you that we can all be here at the races today. We just ask that you will keep all these drivers safe today…”

So far so good. But then…

“And Lord, we pray that you will help these cars go faster than they ever have before, so that all the fans here today will be entertained like they never have before…”

{Insert record scratching sound effect here to imply a surprise in the story flow, like they do in cliche movie trailers.}

“And I just pray, oh Lord, that for all the people who decided to stay home today instead of coming out here to the races, that the next time they decide to not come to the races, you would make them feel bad and realize just what they’re missing by not being here with us today.”

That was the point where I stopped taking the prayer seriously, and started looking around, catching eye contact with Sophie’s parents, as to say, “This must be a joke, right?”

Nonetheless, the man ended his “prayer” like this, I kid you not:

“And I pray all this in Jesus’ name, boogity-boogity… AMEN!”

I felt like I needed to ask God for forgiveness simply just for being present for that.

(It actually reminded me of one of my favorite bands, Cake, with their 1998 song, “Satan Is My Motor”; which I interpret as a song about the dichotomy of impure motives versus good intentions.)

Perhaps the most confusing part of the opening prayer was the fact he prayed that the next time people decided to stay home, that God would essentially curse them, but not this time.

Sophie and her parents stayed about an hour after we left, which was at the end of the third race. I learned from Sophie’s mommy, that in the fourth race, two of the cars bumped into each other and the drivers got out of their cars to start fighting each other.

Fortunately, the drivers’ pit crews held them back from actually hitting each other in the face.

I think next time, the opening prayer needs to cover that too.

 

Love,

Daddy

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To Be Colorblind, Racially Speaking

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

2 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

As you commentate in the backseat in regards to the people you see on the sidewalk or driving the cars next to us, I’ve officially learned the language of “2 and a half year-old.”

I’ll hear you say, “Look at that brown man. Where’s he going?”

Or, “What about that yellow woman? She drives a truck?”

Though I was pretty confused the first several times because I was looking for the wrong physical traits, I eventually realized that when you refer to a person’s color, you’re simply talking about what color their shirt is.

At age 2 and a half, you evidently don’t see skin color like the way I’ve been conditioned to as a 32 year-old man who grew up in Alabama.

Knowing about all the segregation that took place just a couple of decades before I was born, I was constantly aware how horrible judging a person on their skin color was.

The good news is, I don’t think you’ll have to deal with this problem as much as I have throughout my life. When you were born, the American President was of both English and Kenyan descent; or as he’s often referred to, “America’s first black President.”

You were born into the least racist point in America’s recent history. (Right?) I don’t think you’ll ever be forced to see the difference in skin color the way I have throughout my life.

It’s tricky for me. I never want to make it seem like I’m truly “colorblind,” because then it takes away from the value of a person’s ethnic heritage and culture.

I suppose at some point, you’ll notice the different shades of brown that all of us human beings have; just like the way you notice what color shirts we wear.

Until then, I envy your innocence.

 

Love,

Daddy 

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I Survived the Warrior Dash in Manchester, TN

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

Ten months.

I finally made my first purchase through Groupon: a half priced entry fee for 2011 The Warrior Dash in Manchester, site of the famous Bonnaroo music festival. My good friend Dave told me how instead of paying 60 bucks to run in the obstacle course-infused 5 K race, I could do it for only 30. It was just random enough that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

While I do ride my mountain bike during my lunch break every day, and run when I can, I am definitely not conditioned for a 3 mile, American Gladiator style race. I was well aware of the fact I wouldn’t come close to winning. I was just in it for the thrill of the unknown adventure. So much so, that I didn’t even research what kind of obstacles I would be encountering in The Warrior Dash.

Last Saturday morning, I drove Jack and Jill nearly an hour outside of Nashville and joined the thousands of other adventurists; many of them in outrageous costumes. My goal was simply to run the entire race, never slowing down to a jog or walk.

The race was designed to wear a person out. During the first half of the 5K, there were only a couple of challenges, like scaling a 10 foot tall mountain of hay bales and running on top of junk cars; no prob. But that final mile and a half was barbed in wire; both metaphorically and literally.

I remember having to climb three separate walls (being at least two stories high) with the help of a knotted rope. Reaching the top was the “easy” part. It was the other side of each of those walls that was the problem. One wall simply had wooden planks about three feet apart to climb down on, the next had a steel pole to slide down, and the third had a makeshift ladder that went half way down, then it just dropped off: I had to fall at least 12 feet, fortunately landing on my feet.

Of course, having ran hard the whole way, each obstacle was that much more difficult to cross; my arms were automatically shaking as I crossed the vertical  rope ladder and the man-made cave, which involved crawling in a completely dark, two foot tall tunnel.

Mind you, there are so many participants in this race, we were constantly bumping into each other; simply not tripping over each other was a challenge in and of itself. The race ended with a 3 foot deep mud pit. I didn’t want to ruin my good pair of running shoes, so I carried them above my head while avoiding the barbed wires.

Needless to say, I achieved my goal- I ran the entire race. And though I came pretty close two times after the race ended, I never threw up.

It took me about 45 minutes and I’m pretty sure I beat the guy running in a tutu as well as Papa Smurf; so I felt pretty darn accomplished. I can’t wait to run it again next year!

Everything is a mysterious, physical adventure to my son, Jack. I think I envy that about him. After all, I sit behind a desk on the phone for 8 hours a day. The Warrior Dash allowed me to imagine myself in a world similar to Jack’s; adding mud, blood, and bruises.

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