Sunday, August 5, 2007

The Need for Speed

Just got back from a boys' weekend. I was an observer to the phenomenon known to boys: the need for speed.

And the corollary phenomenon: getting air.

All the boys and men involved in this weekend were very dedicated to the pursuit of getting speed and air. My ten year old said at one point "I have SUCH an adrenaline rush!"

A hot day, a long thin lake, a new 350-horsepower speedboat, hundreds of dollars worth of gasoline, waterskis, tubes, ropes, wakeboards, surfboards. A friend willing to share all this and drive at high speeds to see two boys get the biggest grins of their life. And to teach the two most important rules of being towed: knees bent, arms straight, and follow the boat. Oh, we had to add one more. When you fall, let go of the rope.

This friend even provided something else for the boys. Something like the whipped cream on a mocha or the sprinkles on a chocolate-dipped frozen banana. The boys had the pleasure of hanging out with his 17 year old son, an extremely friendly guy with a ready smile who actually talked to them. Then this guy showed them what he could do on that wakeboard of his: get lots of speed, then get lots of air, do a 360 while in the air, and then land it. My sons think he is probably the coolest person that has ever walked the face of the earth.

This was the first time the boys have tried waterskiing. Much to my amazement, both the 10 year old and the 9 year old (my youngest wasn't there) got right up on their first try, zooming around the lake. Then my husband got right up on the skis too.

Now the pressure was on. My boys' sense of adventure inspired me to try. What the heck, it was 103 degrees out, I had to get wet anyway. So I got up on my second try, and hung on for as long as I could, trying to feel they way the boys feel when they are getting this kind of speed. I don't really get it. Speed scares me more than thrills me.

Later I watched as they whipped and bumped around on a tube at high speed, the driver of the boat determined to throw them off. The boys laughed maniacally and hung on like barnacles. When they did get thrown off, they did helicopter spins, skipping across the water like stones. I did my best to supress the momentary panic that they were hurt (that was the most adrenaline I experienced). They surfaced, laughing and wanting more.

Then they tried surfing. They were fascinated by the mechanics of getting set up for it, pumping water into a tank just for this purpose on one side of the boat. The boat was set up to create a large and steady wake that looked and acted a lot like an ocean wave, except it didn't die out and hit the beach, it just kept on going right behind the boat. Each boy was able to get right up on the surfboard, and surf the wave, even dropping the tow rope while surfing. It was quite amazing that they could make it look so easy on their first tries, both of them!

Then came the wakeboarding. Unbelievable, they could do that too! And they loved it.

The 17-year old told me "You're pretty much screwed."

And I know he is right. This is not the last time we are going to the lake in pursuit of speed and air.

All this, and they ate bacon, left socks laying around, didn't have to take a shower. They roasted marshmallows over the BBQ with battery-powered spinning skewers. Can life get ANY better?


chigiy at Gardeners Anonymous said...

Yah, you're screwed.

I can't believe they surfed the wake on their first try. Where did all this athletic ability come from??? And who was the hottie 17 year old?

Do your boys know that we have a ski boat?

Steve said...

I've been taking kids out on the boat for many years. Never have I seen kids this age be able to do all these activities so quickly and so well. When the boys actually surfed the wave I was amazed. It was a joy to watch their faces. Best of all they were always polite even when really excited. And they always supported each other.