no substitute for practice

another ancient post... this is from a few years back
it was stuck in the "drafts"
not going to re-read it

not going to edit it
just going to add these photos and hit PUBLISH AND POST


Dean and the Unicycle

had a breakthrough on the unicycle tonight

last year Dean got a unicycle for his birthday
I got a unicycle for father's day

we tried it a bunch of times
I took photos... I searched online for tips... I tried using ski poles
Dean just went for it

Dean had a spastic fast sprint then eject for like 20 yards
I could go a few feet with my unicycle training wheels

frustration and mosquitoes chased us inside
then... priority was lost
the unicycles were put in a corner
then the unicycles were moved to the basement

there was talk about the unicycle
the unicycle is a metaphor
in our case the unicycle is also a reality
the unicycle is about practice

someone will get it faster than others
but no one will get it without practice
with tips or tricks... it still will not happen without practice

tonight when I got home with the boys from camp I sent the boys out back with a soccer ball and a unicycle
a little while later as I was cooking dinner Dean came back in asking me to come check out hsi progress
so... I followed him to the alley

Dean's balance and control on the unicycle had hit a new level
it was cool to watch... the skill and the pride he possessed in his accomplishment.... humble yet proud
I was inspired

I told Dean to continue practicing while I checked on dinner
after a few more minutes of prep and things were such that I 20 minutes till stuff had to be pulled out of the oven
a glance at my watch and down to the basement to get my unicycle

I exited the basement and a floor pump
the unicycle had not been ridden in some time
the tire would need air... but how much

into the alley and Dean was quick to show me his latest effort
Grant was on a Razor Scooter giving some shockingly sound advice and straight up support

after watching Dean a few times I was ready to try
even getting on the saddle was an unfamiliar awkward task
with a streetlight post as a stabilizer I got ready to go
not even a full rotation of the cranks and I was on my feet and the unicycle was laid out on its side just a few feet away

Dean and I alternated using the same lamppost as a starting point
Grant had set a goal for Dean and a very meager and seemingly unachievable goal for me
my efforts were short single rotation and off the unicycle... often catching the seat before it slammed
Dean was going down the alley for 10-15 yards

Grant gave me some positive advice that I wish I could quote
and Dean gave me some additional valuable instructions

as I applied their instructions I could feel improvement
their advice made sense
but the full deal was my inability to commit
starting off on the unicycle is like dropping in
ya just gotta commit

realizing this did not make it any easier
it is tough to commit

Dean made it look easy
with each effort Dean improved
the immediate failures from the get go were few and far between
Dean was not able to steer, but he was able to correct and maintain the direction

a little focus... but more relaxation than trying to be intense
I tried to apply all the instructions that Dean and Grant had shared with each of my prior efforts
with a push off the streetpost I pedaled slowly forward
maybe too slowly... but forward... striving for and reaching for my first marker

Grant gave me solid positive reinforcement and then tried to figure what a good number of repeats I would have to present before he moved the marker
I questioned if I could do it again.... then realized that Grant was setting a rational low goal
on my next effort I made it to that marker again... and even further... but told Grant not to move the marker until I made it to it the slated five times

a glance at my watch and I realized that it was definitely time to pull the food out of the oven and we were headed back inside
we left the unicycles outside knowing we would go out and work on things some more after dinner

dinner was less than spectacular
fish sticks, tater tots, and quick effort for a jumbalaya

after dinner Dean hung back and Grant and I left out for the alley
as Dean wrote thank you notes for his birthday gifts while Grant grabbed his razor scooter to tool around on in between instructions

it did not take long before Dean was running into the alley unicycle in hand
by this time I had ridden the unicycle a few yards further on each effort and then a few more yards for a series of efforts
nothing dynamic... but compared to nothing... AWESOME!

Dean and I took back to the taking turns using the same post
it makes it social and social is more fun

okay... we do not know how to ride unicycles
but... we had fun with our efforts and we are on our way to learning to ride a unicycle
Dean being more comfortable and consistent on the unicycle... as well as being able to go furhter

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