I saw the scene unfolding as I rolled by the ball park. A Dad coaching a kid, whose face bore the look of a child condemned. He was probably so excited when they left for the park. He was finally going to have fun with his Dad. Now he was nothing more than a hapless pawn in the grip of a mad man, being schooled on his technique. He was five. I smiled. I wasn't alone, although I was in recovery.
Years ago I ruined my oldest son. We had gone on a bike ride and I was barking tips and instructions. About a mile into the ride the little man melted down. Even buying him a Gary Fisher Cozmo, couldn't mend the damage. He would never grace the saddle of a bike again. From that moment forward he would only pursue sports I knew nothing about.
Last week I did some rough calculations and estimated he (now fourteen) spent forty five hours a week killing people in the virtual world of "Call of Duty". The sound of him talking online at the top of his lungs, and reveling in the death of his foes was becoming a bit of an annoyance. On a Friday after noon, I snapped and announced we were going on a ride. On the way, I told him how I had failed him as a father, and an ambassador of the ride. I promised him I would not utter a word, unless it was complimentary or positive. We decided on a safe word that would stop me from talking all together.
Now younger brother (Lil' W.B.) has graced this bloggie many times and is a skilled rider. He got a new ride for Christmas and has been clipless for years. I am a proud Papa when I see how smooth he rides and to watch him roll a log or wheelie drop a ledge is great, but my dream was always to ride with both my boys.
Well the long and short of it is we did ride and it went well. Some bikes that weren't seeing any use were taken off the hooks and brought to Joe's. The bitter haggling took seconds. Joey fitted #1 son, and lickidy split, a Raleigh was on the rack. Now we ride Mondays , Fridays and Sundays. I feel as though a weight has been lifted. Today we rode from the casa, out to Tom Brown and back, and #1 son even attacked me on the Woodgate climb. Do I see a little chip of W.B. in that charge? Yes I do, and life is good. A great wrong has been righted.