Steamboat Springs, CO

Dec 4th, 2015 Sport, Travel

Quite what a “steamboat” has to do with a landlocked, Rocky-Mountained, be-snowed ski resort town was never clear to me.  And, sadly I never found out.  I guess I should have asked, as it troubled me both before, and after, our trip.  But I was so caught up in the moment while there, and everyone was so darn nice, welcoming, and non ski-snooty, that I did not want to come across as gauche by asking the question.  Because that just wouldn’t fly.  Or slide for that matter.  Not in laid back Steamboat.  Especially as we are not a family of skiers.  Or at least we weren’t until we visited, the aforementioned, confusingly named, town.

We resolved on this trip to learn, and though we are certainly no team of Bodie Miller’s, we did alright.  Even if a do say so myself.  Particularly for a bunch of novice, city-dwellers.  We can navigate our way down the side of a mountain, albeit somewhat cautiously.  And we know how to stop when we get to the bottom of it without crashing into something, or somebody.   We know our “Champagne Snow” from our chair lift, our plough from our parallel, and we certainly know not to call our poles, “sticks” (talk about gauche).  And this is a start.

As only having been a failed novice skier before, I finally began to get the allure of the slopes. Both the boys took to it like a duck to water.  (Odd analogy on reflection, as any such lake would be frozen and any self respecting duck sheltering – but there again, this is a ski resort named after a nineteenth century riverboat, so indulge me.)

IMG_3776

With the help of the folks at the Steamboat Snowboard and Ski School, the boys wasted no time in getting to grips with the basics:  “pizza wedges”, “banana splits” and the magic carpet.  All pretty impressive given the fact that the last time Jaxon saw snow it had quickly turned to knee deep Manhattan sidewalk sludge, and Skyer I don’t think can even remember seeing snow as he left New York when he was still too young.

Kids Skiing Lessons SteamboatKids Skiing Lessons SteamboatKids Skiing Lessons Steamboat

Jaxon quickly got to grips with the lower level bunny slope and graduated to the next level.  Yikes he was catching me up!  I can’t be THAT parent.  You know, the one whose kids ski and he just watches from the comfort of the lodge.  I had my work cut out.

Kids Skiing Lessons SteamboatKids Skiing Lesson

Given my previous experience on skis (nothing horrendous, just a pervading sense of incompetence and ineptitude that had lingered long after I had petulantly thrown the skis and poles down in frustration) and skill level at the start of the week this was always going to be challenging.  But I resolved that for now I had to stay ahead of the boys.

I managed to make it down this green run which helped me keep my nose in front and my dignity intact.

Steamboat Skiing

Skyer just seems so comfortable no matter what situation we put him in.  Here it looks like all he’s ever known are the Rockies.

Kids Skiing Lessons SteamboatKids Skiing Lessons Steamboat

Back to the sanctity and safety of home base after a tough day of aches and pains and bruised egos.

Steamboat Springs

Away from the skiing we explored the low key streets of downtown Steamboat.  Skyer managed to find the best action of the morning at the local diner with some Mickey pancakes.

Mickey Mouse Pancakes

Leaving no alpine experience unturned, Jaxon and I also took to the ice in these specially designed bumper cars.  He got pretty good at driving ours – trusty number 8 – which allowed me to take a quick selfie of the two of us in the car – whilst in motion I hasten to add.  Something else they are catching me up on.

Ice Rink Bumper CarsIce Rink Bumper Car Selfie

Take me out to the sauna, er… sorry, the ball game

Sep 22nd, 2015 Boyhood, Sport

It would be hard to imagine a more fiercely hot day on which to choose to introduce the boys to organized professional sport.  LA Dodgers stadium on Sunday was a cauldron.  And not from the intensity of the competition between the Dodgers and the Pirates.

What can I say?  An oversight on our part.  The idea that somehow the 100 degree weather would be more bearable inside an immense four sided concrete structure, surrounded by thousands of other bodies all fiercely perspiring, had escaped us until we actually arrived.

Rarely, have so many, sweated so much, in pursuit of so little.

Ice cream, slushies, multiple bottles of iced water – you name it we chugged it, slurped it and quaffed it.  We held containers to our foreheads, tipped ice cubes down our backs and fanned ourselves with oversized foam fingers.  All in search of a momentary respite from the unrelenting heat.  And, even festooned in our brand new hats as we were – that we eagerly purchased on the way to our seats – we knew it was going to be a tall order.

In fairness to us, we did manage to make the best of it.  Although also in fairness I would suspect that a night game – or – let me think about this for a moment – a game played on any other day of the year, other than one that we chose, would have more bearable and enjoyable.  We stayed to the fifth innings.  Skulking in the shadows of the lower tier while taking in the game.

If the role of the parent is all about creating unforgettable memories for your children…well maybe not, but I don’t think it will be our last visit to the stadium.  Both boys seemed sold on the experience and the spectacle that unfolded before them.  The in-crowd entertainment, the hubbub of the fans, and the mere collective energy and focus that goes with watching sport definitely resonated.

I’m just not not sure who they felt had best earned their cooling-off shower at the end of game. The players.  Or us.

LA Dodgers StadiumLA Dodgers

It did not take long for Skyer to start to feel the heat.  We spent as much time going up and down the stadium steps in search of shade as we did sitting in our seats.  Think of it like a series of short bursts on the most crowded Stairmaster you have ever seen.  That also happens to be located in a sauna.  Filled with people at different points of the work-out – going up and down – feverishly juggling, drinks, snacks, all eager to get to their seats and carry on sweating some more.

LA DodgersLA DodgersLA Dodgers

Skyer got especially into the game.

LA DodgersLA DodgersLA Dodgers StadiumLA Dodgers MVP

Beachwood Boys Club – MVP on the day.

LA DodgersLA Dodgers

Soccer Stars

May 17th, 2015 Boyhood, Fatherhood, Fitness, Health, Sport

We love soccer Saturdays in our house.  After all it gives me the first real opportunity to live vicariously through my children.  If I’m honest, part of me used to harbor a secret fantasy that one of my boys was going to demonstrate prodigious, breathtaking talent as soon as they touched the ball.  That the coach was going to come over to me at the end of the first lesson.  Put his hand on my shoulder, gently usher me away from the other parents so as not to evoke jealousy and discord among a group of lesser gifted children and offer me a few choice words about nurturing my child’s unique talent.  Fast streaming him to a class for older children, where he could be observed more closely and his craft could be honed.  Okay, if I’m really honest, part of me still continues to harbor this fantasy.

Soccer is probably the first organized sport that most kids encounter.  And for most of us as parents, our first brush with organized sports since college.  It also means that soccer is the first time we as parents get a direct, real time, opportunity to compare our child to their peers within an organized setting.  It also brings us face to face with the phenomenon known as the soccer mom, and the soccer dad.  Or rather the shadowy, nascent, nebulous incarnation of their future alter egos.  Yes, much like the adolescent Anakin Skywalker in the ill-fated Attack of the Clones, it is all too easy to see future Sideline Sith Lords in the faces and attitudes of these parent padawans.

evil anakin

My heart sinks.  Not least for what my future holds, an unending stream of Saturdays on the sidelines with these overachieving types, but more horrifically that I might, unwittingly, become one myself.  So seductive is the dark side of the vicarious force.  All are powerless once caught in its tractor beam.  Heck, I might even be one now and not realize it.  In an over elaborate and deliberate effort to distance myself from being tarred with that brush, I remain seated throughout the class, almost indifferent to what transpires on the field.  But now do I just look aloof and callous?  It’s a perilous path to traverse for sure.  Not – as they say – to be traveled lightly.

The lesson ends and none of the coaches approach me.  But maybe that’s a good thing.  Or maybe they’re just waiting ’til next week to tell me…

Super Soccer Stars