So, they’ve been constructing this monster of a city park not too far from where we live. They started early this year, and Noah and I have had a lot of fun driving by it every day to see what new and magic developments are taking place.
After each pass, we’ve talked about how drastically this new park is going to increase the fun factor in our lives. We’ve counted down the days to when we’ll get to go crazy on the futuristic playground equipment or run through the splash pad together. We’ve made plans for our first Tour de France around the bike trail. We’ve waited with gathered breath for them to install the basketball standards, and we’ve spent many conversations daydreaming about the moments we’ll share learning to dribble and shoot together.
Opening day was approaching, and in anticipation, Noah and I went to Walmart and splurged on a youth-size basketball. It wasn’t fully inflated, so we bought a little three-dollar pump to go with it.
Bedtime was no easy task for us the night before our first day together at the mega-park. Long after his peepers should have been sealed shut, Noah kept surfacing with a half-grin spread across his face, asking to use the potty or get a drink. After several rounds, I finally let him take his new basketball to bed, which kept him occupied long enough to slip away from the anxiety that was forbidding him to sleep.
The next day, we threw the ball, the pump, and us two giddy boys into the truck, then headed for the park. I asked Noah what he wanted to do first. His immediate answer was “basketball”.
So, we opened the pump, inserted the needle, and started pumping.
Almost immediately, the needle broke in two, and the ball hissed a horrible sound as all useful air escaped. The ball wasn’t the only thing that the moment deflated. Noah and I looked in disbelief at our dreams being flattened before our eyes. I pried the second half of the needle out and palmed the mushy basketball. Noah was irked. So was dad.
We went and attempted to shoot some hoops together, but the magic quickly fleeted as each shot was followed by a plop. “What do you want to do, Pal?” I asked him. He quickly suggested we go try the playground instead.
How quickly I found myself wishing for sweet death to come take me.
The futuristic playground equipment, was nothing but a crazy menagerie of puke machines. Giant cups that you sit in and spin fast enough to break the sound barrier. Large plastic rings that lift you and drop you as they spin. Standing posts that you stand on (go figure), and when you lean just the right way, they spin crazily and with almost no effort. And… about twelve billion other spinny, horrible things.
Did I mention they all spin?
My personal participation time was less than six seconds total, and that was enough to make me nauseated the rest of the week. I felt like a monkey had been gnawing on my brain. My head still hasn’t made a full come back.
Noah took it on like a champion. He was able to set aside his frustration over the basketball and instead focus on his new found love for discombobulation. He played for more than ninety minutes, proving his “bigness” by spinning on everything. Again. And again. And again. How do kids do that? Oooooh… I’m sorry. I can’t keep talking about this. Even writing about it is making me sick.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing.
PS, is it normal for me to get sick and dizzy so easily? Is it just my age? Or am I turning into Lucille 2 from Arrested Development?
What do your kids love to do that leaves you groaning at the thought?