You would think that as Stuntman grew older he also grew wiser. That is true in some instances, but the instinct never entirely leaves.
My 9 year old step-son and I get off the chairlift and approach the starter.
“What lane do you want, Dust?”
“Doesn’t matter. I’ll beat you from either side.” I chose the right lane.
The Alpine slide was once a great thrill. Now that I was approaching 30 I still got a little excited. In my days as Stuntman, I found this to be a great show of my skills. Now I was going to impart some of my thrill seeking side to my recently extended family. My wife waited for us at the bottom of the hill. Her final plea to me was to be sure that Dustin was at least as safe as he was having fun.
“Push the handle forward to go faster and pull it back to slow down.” The bored starter drones as he hands us our ‘sleds’.
Summer was about over. All-Star season had finally ended and we were trying to get in a couple of family outings before school started back. We had already played miniature golf and ridden the go-carts and were going to do a couple of runs down the Alpine Slide with our wheeled sleds.
3…2…1…Go! We take off at the same time. I slam my stick forward and immediately take the lead. As Dustin gets the feel for it he starts pushing the stick more and is now catching up with me. The dull roar of four plastic wheels on concrete and the rush of the wind in my ears gets my blood pumping. In the first turn I swing my weight to the left to bank as high as I can so I can get extra momentum coming out of the turn. Dustin is yelling something at me, but I am too into winning to hear.
As I turn around to see what he is saying, (and to see how bad I am beating him ) I hear a ‘chank’ and feel something hit the seat I am in. My keys. Just as I am about to go into the next turn I tilt to one side to make sure my keys are still with me in the seat. The sled starts to wobble under me and then I hear the keys hit concrete. Next thing I know, I see the sled to my left and nothing but concrete to my right. I try to stay in my seat, but fate would have other intentions. I am sliding on my butt down the Alpine slide with the handle still in my left hand. I wasn’t about to let go of the sled! I plant my feet to stop. This has a different effect than I had planned. My feet catch under me and my upper body is thrust forward landing with a face plant but still skidding down the slide. I finally come to rest, sled still in hand, and realize that Dustin is long gone. I sheepishly walk back up the hill, retrieve my keys and sit back down in the sled. It is just then that I feel burning in my right knee and shoulder. The jeans were torn during the slide as had the front of my shirt.
“I dunno. I think he fell out.”
Hearing this, the girl collecting the sleds at the bottom rushes into the office and brings back a first aid kit.
As I roll to a stop, blood oozing from my right knee and shoulder, the girl gets a little pale. She obviously will not make it in the medical field. I pull off my shirt to show my road rash.
“Give me the anti-septic spray, please.” Is that a gleam in my wife’s eye? She shakes the can and takes aim.
“Living Hell!” I shout as the spray contacts ground flesh.
“Quit being such a baby!” She says as she shakes the can and takes aim again.
I had to change my bandages a couple of times a day and my shirt at least once a day for about three days after the ride. The ‘road rash’ kept weeping through the gauze and tape. Now that I had aged and become a little wiser I took from that incident a valuable lesson.
Forget the keys, winning and pride is what matters most.