6.29.2011

practice...

the unicycle...

riding a unicycle is far from impossible
it is just a matter of practice
some people may learn to ride the unicycle more quickly than others
others may achieve greater proficiency on the unicycle
but no one... no one can learn to ride a unicycle without practice

practice... practice... practice

the key component to so many things...
the key component to nearly everything is practice

practice... practice... practice

Dean and I have been practicing the unicycle
last year our efforts were lackluster... we started... we tried... we lost momentum
after a few months of sporadic practice the unicycles were brought inside and put in a corner in the basement... buried in the basement... buried and nearly forgotten
then on the anniversary of Dean's birthday I reminded Dean that we had not learned to ride our unicycles yet
we pulled them out of the basement and started working on things

while I cooked dinner on Monday evening Dean worked on the unicycle as Grant coached perched on his Razor Scooter
after a ten or twenty minutes Dean entered the kitchen
in a fatherly tone I asked if he was done already
to my pleasure and surprise Dean was not done... but rather... Dean was asking me to come witness his progress

I checked that the food in the kitchen was set and ready to be left on its own and grabbed my unicycle and headed out into the alley
sure enough... Dean had hit a new level of beginner unicyclist control
it was a BREAKTHROUGH!
this BREAKTHROUGH inspired me

I watched Dean ride his unicycle... his effort was no longer a spastic 10 feet than eject
it was a slower more methodical effort
forward with more control and further
then also ending in rider ejection... I think for the most part unicycle riding ends in some sort of ejection... well... until the rider is seasoned and skilled

after a few lessons from Dean it was dad's turn
I took to the staging area
mounted up... adjusted my junk... and pedaled forward
not even one rotation into things and I was off the unicycle and on my feet

Dean and I alternated turns from our set staging area
Grant set up markers
Dean had a marker 25-30 feet ahead
Grant set up a marker 7-10 feet ahead for me... I thought it was a tad overly ambitious

I needed to commit... it was clear that starting off would be a leap of faith... sort of like dropping in on a skateboard ramp
I battled my hesitation that was created by my fear
then I tried
I leaned forward and pushed off the lamppost that was holding me upright
to my shock and surprise I rode to my marker

excited I grabbed my unicycle and went back to the lamppost that we had selected as our staging area
invigorated by my effort that so closely resembled riding a unicycle I mounted up and tried again

as I steadied myself young Grant offered support and sound advice
I listened and applied his advice... then pushed off and pedaled ahead

Dean and I altered turns
as Dean pedaled more than twice my personal best I asked Grant how he knew so much about uni-cycling when he does not know how to unicycle himself
seven year old Grant said that he knew from watching Dean try and fail... seeing what worked and what did not work

funny... Grant was an excellent coach
both supportive and helpful with his advice
Dean also offered good advice... but it was Dean's example that helped me the most
both Dean's commitment and his success drove me to try harder
we continued practicing for a little while longer then went in for dinner

after dinner we returned to the alley for some more "practice" on the unicycles

there is an interesting thing to practice
there is a correlation between "input and reward"
success is a great motivator
doing well... or achieving a certain level of comfort in something fuels itself

by doing a little better we wanted to do it more
previously we had wanted to learn to ride the unicycle
now after being able to almost ride the unicycle we were compelled to practice more
it is self fulfilling

the following day I day dreamed about the unicycle...
excited to practice again once the boys were home from camp

Pixar's Red's Dream
www.youtube.com
Dean tells me that it was this short film that inspired him to want to learn to ride the unicycle


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