Monday, April 23, 2012

Cycling, anyone?

This weekend I had seven college athletes staying at my house for the South Central Collegiate Cycling Conference Cutlery Carbonite Combinatoric Road Championships*. 2012. One of Biscuit's nephews is a cyclist at Tornado Alley University, and our invitation for him to stay led inexorably to us hosting the entire team. It was exhausting, and a fair amount of fun.

Every time I am around a group like this, I re-realize that there are countless families and individuals whose lives revolve around these kinds of activities. It's how they spend every weekend, and when there are not events, there is training. And all the time there is obsessing over wheels and frames, cranks and chain rings, and the myriad other items that separate the haves from the always wanted to haves. There is jargon, and jockeying for position, and specialized friends that see each other all the time, but wouldn't recognize each other away from the events.

Our family got pretty heavily involved in the local softball league when my sister was growing up. We weren't part of the league royalty, but my father's company sponsored a team for a few years, and he coached for quite a few years, so we were "established." Over the years I had stints coaching and working concessions. I even worked as a groundskeeper for a few months. I still reacquaint with people occasionally who I met at the field, and it always takes forever for either of us to remember how and where we came to know each other in the first place.

This weekend also reminded me of a few things I had forgotten about kids -- not being responsible for any young people full time -- and a few traits I did remember were heartily reinforced.

Start of the Men's C Criterium. I don't know what any of those things mean. I mean, 
I know what men are, so I guess it's just the other two that are somewhat confusing.

They eat a lot, though I was surprised that they seem not to eat constantly (like I did). And this group were quite polite. They never asked for anything, and pretended they didn't want it until I actually produced the food, but once a bag of chips or a loaf of bread was opened, it was gone.

More than two kids together can't make a decision to save their lives. They will stand around in the driveway for an hour trying to decide who is riding in which car. The only thing they know for sure is that they aren't listening to the one or two people who think they know what's best for the group.

I would like to say they never sleep, but it's more that they never go to bed. And then they never want to wake up. Since bike racing tends to start early, and far away, this can be stressful, especially on the serious kids who like to be at things on time. (Apparently 2/7 of the population, according to one informal study.)

It was quite the whirlwind weekend. They arrived Friday afternoon about happy hour, ran three events in three far-flung locations in thirty-six hours, and were gone before noon on Sunday. It definitely seemed like they were here longer. I took three naps, and made enough breakfast to feed Biscuit and I for a month. I think we had three strips of bacon left at the end. But it was good to see the nephew, who is all grown up and will probably be married before we know it. And it was good to be reminded that most college kids are more or less like we were. Except maybe for their politics, and their inexplicable lack of loathing for their parents. I guess nobody's perfect.

* Some of the 'C' words may have been added. But I remember there were a lot.


  1. There are few things that remind us of how old we have gotten quite like an extended visit from the young.

  2. Sounds like a fantastic weekend. Kinda reminded me of hosting two Russian teens who were here for a choir performance, in that these teens were delightful and polite and full of rhetoric jargon for their obsession, and ate us out of house and home, and I was glad to have had them with us...

  3. "And the award for the 'best use of the word "Combinatoric" in a personal blog post' goes to...

    Sounds like fun! The only time we got heavily engaged in an activity was the fund drive to build a skate park. For three years, i was the skatepark mom. And learned more about sk8rboyz than i ever wanted to know. i still run into some of those young men - and they'll never forget it. Very fun. Sounds like you had a grand weekend!