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My most important job

Being a Spectator

In the early years of our marriage, and while our children were growing up, I always put in a lot of long hours at work, missing out on a lot…

I missed the ball games, the equestrian events and most of whatever else was happening in my family’s lives, while Rosemary was always there being a supportive, involved parent and spectator while I was at work.

And even though I wanted to be there, it just didn’t work out that way.

About ten or fifteen years ago when I decided to work less, eat healthy and exercise, I was able to be more involved with my kids lives, and it’s been great.

I’ve been telling you about training for and participating in triathlons and it’s all been great. Although I recently had a setback, I still say it’s been a healthy way of life and I’ve certainly enjoyed the new adventure.

I’m still training for triathlons and I’m ramping up my regimen so I’ll be ready for the 2011 season.

Our daughter Francine told me about an event held in Wichita Falls Texas every year. It’s called the Hotter than Hell Hundred and sounds challenging, so I’ve added it to my bucket list. 

That’s right, its a hundred mile bike ride through the desert that starts in Wichita Falls Texas and I’ve been told it goes through a place called Devils Gate.

2011 will be the thirtieth anniversary of the event and I’m making plans for being there.

So far Rosemary is on board for the event, our daughter Francine and her husband Robert are talking about participating also.

When I say Rosemary is on board for the event that means she’ll be a supportive spectator.

As I’ve mentioned before she is an arthritis patient and is limited to what she can do.

But she’s always there watching, supporting and cheering on any family member or friend that is participating in an event of their choosing.

Rosemary is the quintessential spectator and deserves a gold medal for being there for family and friends.

Through the years she has watched our son Nick compete in bicycle motocross races, football, baseball and Jiu Jitsu matches; she has watched our daughter Francine compete in equestrian events and bicycle motocross races; she’s watched me compete in Jiu Jitsu matches and triathlons.

She watched when Nick crashed on his bicycle at motocross, she watched Francine fall from her horse in competition and she was there when they dragged my limp body out of the water and didn’t know if I was dead or alive.

Like so many other moms in the world, she’s up for well deserved sainthood.

But on August 15th, it’s my turn…

Because I’ll be 1300mi from home, standing beside Rosemary watching our daughter Francine and her friend participate in their first triathlon.

It’s going to feel strange being on the sideline and not in the mix of things, but I’ll be one of the spectators cheering and taking pictures, and I’m already excited about being there as a supportive parent and friend.

It’s a new chapter in my life and it’s exciting and I hope I handle it well.

Watching Rosemary through the years and seeing how she handled situations, I’ve learned that being a spectator for a family member or friend requires dedication, lots of restraint and lots of love…

So I know I can do this.
According to triathlon rules a triathlete is not allowed help from spectators, if he/she falls or crashes, they have to pick themselves up and continue on, because if anyone helps them then they are automatically disqualified.

I remember telling Nicky and Stacey that no matter what happens do not try to help me if you see me fall or crash, now I hope I don’t have to take my own advice.

I’m certain that if I follow Rosemary’s lead I’ll do well and not embarrass Francine or her friend.

I’m turning the page to a new chapter, it seems strange but exciting and I’m sure I’ll end up with plenty of wonderful memories.

Go out and try something new and never say “I’m too old” or “I can’t” because you’re not and you can.



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