Apr 6, 2007

Sucking air - The Skylers Dad story

GetKristiLove and Cheer34's posts about sports inspired me to tell my own tale about the different things I have done growing up and what I have morphed into. I tried to find pictures to go along with all of this but that was a bit futile, as I was involved in athletics long before photography seemed to exist...

Our story begins as a young lad growing up in the mountain town of Idaho Springs, Colorado. When you grow up in the mountains, the natural thing to get involved in is skiing. I started in the 4th grade with a school program, loading up the bus with all of our skis and poles on a big rack on the roof, and motoring up to Loveland ski area. I remember it costing 6 dollars a day for the bus trip and the lift ticket/lesson. Pretty amazing, huh?

I loved skiing and my buddies and I all were thrill seekers, in search of more speed, better jumps, and generally trying to kill ourselves in the process. We had a program called "Snow Dodgers" (lame, huh?) that was our ski team, and the coach took a bunch of us up to the top of lift #2. There were about 12 of us, and told us all to stay with him, and took off for the bottom. At the bottom he turned around and myself, my buddy Jim and another kid were standing there with him, so he said you guys are my downhillers. Everyone else did the slalom events. I tried to find a picture, but all I could find was one out of an school album that had been "artyfied" that I think was me:

I tried to be a baseball player for my dad's sake, but I really sucked at it! My dad was a really good player, and pitched softball for Fort Carson while in the Army. That's his war story - he enlisted right at the end of WWII, and wound up being a cook, but really just toured around playing softball against other bases. Good duty if you can get it!

Then came basketball. I think that basketball was my favorite sport growing up. I loved playing, and almost all my best friends growing up played also. The picture is of some tournament we won, and I am second from the left. My best friend Dennis is #23 and another good friend JJ is #11. The other guy was a butthole... I shared an apartment with JJ before I moved in with my now wife, and she couldn't believe the constant stream of women coming through with JJ in da house!

Only 3 things kept me out of the NBA:
1. Lack of size
2. Lack of talent
3. I am white

But I had mad interview skilz!

Interviewer: So tell us about the big win.
Me: Well, We gave it 110% ya know, came to play today, know-what-I-mean?
Interviewer: Do you think you can make it to the playoffs?
Me: Our backs are against the wall, but we just have to take them one game at a time know-what-I-mean?

And so on and so on... Sound familiar?

I played football also, but didn't really enjoy getting my head handed to me on a regular basis. We were just too small, I played wide receiver my first couple of years. I was 150 pounds. I had to move in to tight end because there was another guy who played wide receiver and he was 135 pounds. Getting the picture here? We played a game in December up in Idaho Springs that was 13 below zero. I didn't play again...

The thing that I was probably best at though was long distance running. I ran the 880 (pre-metric days) and the mile.

I always did really good, but I just didn't stay with it. Track came at the end of the school year and Spring was the time when we were all in the mood to party and the heck with training. It's unfortunate, because I might have made something of myself and went to college with running.

I kept running for fun throughout the rest of my life, running on a Navy team, and after I got out. At one point I was doing about 75 to 80 miles a week. I entered a lot of 5K and 10K runs, had some good times and enjoyed it as my main source of exercise. Then one day I helped a friend move. We were unloading a refrigerator from the back of his pickup and as I lifted they pulled outward. I felt the disk rupture as I lifted, and just sort of laid there with pain and then my left leg went numb. From that point forward, running always hurt, and I had to seriously lower my mileage.

But I kept running because I still enjoyed it, and started working out at a club in the mornings doing lots of stuff that was non-impacting. I still go to this day, with a lot of friends I have made through the years. We keep each other motivated, and there is nothing like peer pressure to keep you coming in at 5:00 in the morning!

So what else do I do these days? Well, I bike a bit, rode the MS150 a couple of years ago with some friends. But that is too much saddle time for me, and I enjoyed the beer too much!

I still ski, and really enjoy going up to the National Sports Center for the Disabled with my wife and our son who skis in a sit ski.

And, I also enjoy river rafting a lot, but don't get too many opportunities to go.
That's me front left...

And, even though it is bad for me, I still run. The natural progression in my running life has been like this:

Really competitive, winning a lot.
Really competitive, winning rarely.
Sort of competitive, running for fun.
Not very competitive, running with my son and looking to take on the other fathers with jogging strollers!
Just trying to survive...

But now, I really enjoy just hangin with the boys! So how about the rest of you?


  1. Digging the socks and short shorts for B-Ball, 70's?. You sure do have a sports history. Does your son enjoy the running and skiing too?

  2. Cheer: Yep, graduated in 75, so the uniforms are old school! Skyler likes coming along on the runs and skiing, but he is a fair weather skier. Likes it on warm days!

  3. I love the pictorial here! Fantastic pictures! ;)

  4. wait wait wait wait...You're white?

  5. Grant: Beyond white, bordering on "pasty"

  6. You do have much more of a beer drinker's body (long arms, can reach across the bar) than football anyway.

  7. GKL: Thanks for clarifying what a beer drinkers body is, I was a little worried at first!

    And, thanks for lunch! Great to meet SV!!

  8. Anonymous1:54 AM


    JJ may have had a lot of traffic, but I still would argue, quality or quantity?

    Dennis improved with age, at least in the looks department. I never imagined him a snob, tho.

    You should post your grad pic with the ski sweater.

    Be Well!!!