While snowed and iced in from the weather, I watched some of the Winter X Games this past week with my kids. We oohed and aahed over the height of the snowboarders and were awed by some of the crazy tricks they do in the Super Pipe. It was fun enjoying some family time and watching my boys react to the more impressive stunts. There’s nothing better than a five- and six-year-old shouting, “OH!! Did you SEE that?!!!” and “That was SOO COOL!!”
It wasn’t until they started showing the Snowmobile Freestyle and Snowmobile SnoCross that I wished we had watched the Disney channel instead. We watched as these competitors raced their snowmobiles off a 100-foot ramp into the air, then flipped them backwards over themselves, while letting go of the seat and hanging on only by the handlebars. Then, if they were lucky, they landed upright on the machine and wrapped around to repeat the feat three more times on the track.
The sports enthusiast in me was amazed and cheering them on. However, the mom in me was much louder as I cringed and yelled through my television at these boys. “Are you NUTS?!! Do you have a death wish? I can’t believe their mothers let them do this!!!”
I just couldn’t believe that anyone would be so reckless to flip a 450-pound machine over their heads at 100 feet in the air. All I could think about was the first stupid kid to try that somewhere before this was a sport and wonder how many kids were hurt or killed in the attempt to master the trick. As my cousin said about her son, “Just add that to the list of things he is never allowed to do.”
It seemed my fear and disapproval was all that was needed to make this the boys’ new favorite thing to watch. The next morning, my oldest came downstairs asking me to set the DVR to record some more so he could watch it again later. I pulled my mom bribe card and told him that he could only watch more if he got ready for school without me nagging him and finished his homework afterward. I have never seen him so motivated.
So I got the kids fed, dressed and ready to head out the door and they were still talking about the snowmobile competition. I hustled them into their seatbelts as I warmed up the car and chipped the ice from the windshield.
“Mommy, why don’t you like the snowmobile Winter X games?” my oldest asked as I backed out of our icy driveway.
“It’s not that I don’t like them,” I replied. “I just think some of the things they do are too dangerous.”
I could barely see down the street over the banks of snow plowed on either side, so I had to crane my neck and back up inch by inch to get out of the driveway.
“What if they crash when they land their snowmobile? They could get really hurt,” I continued explaining to my son.
CRUNCH. Whoops. I guess I backed up too far into the snow on the other side of the street again. I pulled forward and continued my explanation.
”And those snowmobiles weigh three times what those boys weigh. They flip them over their heads and can’t see where they’re going to land. What if it crashes down on top of them? They could be crushed!”
I continued driving down the street, dodging snow drifts, potholes and garbage cans. As I got to the bottom of the hill to turn onto the main road, I sat up tall trying to see over the snow banks for oncoming traffic. With a curve up the hill blocked from my view, I had to gun it to get out in time. The wheels spun on the ice and we fishtailed out of the side street and onto the main road before joining the line of traffic.
“Phew! I couldn’t see there for a minute!” I said as the adrenaline wore off and was back in control.
“That was fun!” my younger son laughed.
“Hey Mommy?” my oldest asked from the backseat. “Which weighs more, a snowmobile or the minivan?”
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