Thursday, September 6, 2007

Redneck Extreme Sports

In July, I chronicled our pursuit of a new gaming system in this post.

Turns out, we could have saved the $500 and took the kids to the woods instead. My only consolation is that the Wii is still here, and for each time we've played the Wii, if I had had to purchase the gas to get us to the woods, we are still money ahead.

But, continuing with my original train of thought (how do those trains get de-railed so easily?), the kids needed no electronic stimulation to have a fabulous time while we camped and berry-picked in the woods this past weekend. Their imaginations had them playing "Survivor Man", building forts, and making up new games. Our favorite new game is one the kids dubbed Tree Flinging.

Now, as a disclaimer, if you are a huge proponent of protecting our forest land (aka-tree hugger), child safety restraints on carnival rides, or just plain child-safety in general - feel free to stop reading here. Children, when left to their own devices in the forest, do not often consult with the EPA, Child Protective Services, etc - they just plain wanna have some fun. So, if you are brave, and you are still reading, I will try and explain to you some of our weekend fun times . . .

It all started with cousin Thomas studying some of the trees near our camp. He's walking around, shaking them, testing both their strength and flexibility. Pretty soon, he can be heard muttering - wouldn't it be fun to bend this all the way down, and sort of catapult out of the top? I am picturing a version of Looney Tunes cartoon gone bad - Wile E. Coyote flying through the air, and into the face of a granite wall. Thankfully, there were no granite walls (just sharp stumps and prickly berry bushes), so the kids were left to their adventurous devices.

The first couple attempts had cousin Thomas' cousin Connor (are you following? - cousin Connor is cousin Thomas' cousin from the other side of his family - so he is not our cousin, but cousin Thomas' cousin) doing almost flips while flying through the air, and cousin Turner doing a pretty good tuck and roll over a stump while trying to land his precarious flight. At some point soon after this, it was decided it might be more safe, but just as fun, to try and hold onto the tree while it catapulted back into a vertical position - leaving you to just climb back down after your ride - the higher on the tree you dared to hold on, the more exciting your ride.

The teenagers were actually trying to bring some measure of safety into the equation - only letting the little guys "fling" on the shorter/thinner trees, and saving the big tree for the bigger kids. This worked for about all of 2 minutes, and Chance was ready to "fly" on the big tree. By this time, Matt cannot keep himself away from the fun, and is down there in the thick of the kids. So, amongst encouraging cries of "Matt! Matt! Matt!", he "tests the safety" of the process before letting Chance have a go. Here are his results:

Please note Matt's position on the tree (about halfway up). This will be important later, as we witness where he placed his 8-year-old, 70 pound boy on the same tree. Do you think 70 pounds flies a little different than 200 pounds? Check for yourself - here is Chance, taking his turn . . .



And dad helping him down (his heart was beating so hard, I'm not sure he could hold on to climb down) . . .


Chance described it to me like this - "It was like riding a roller coaster, right when you are heading down the big hill. And, you know that you have to hold on, or you will go flying. But, one hand wants to hold on, and one hand wants to let go because you are so scared - and you have to tell the other hand to still hold on, even though it wants to let go, because if you were only holding on with one hand, you would go flying through the forest, for sure! It was sooooo cool!"

I think the look on their faces says it all-


Unfortunately, I don't think the tree will ever be the same - it used to reach straight up, vertical toward the heavens. Now, it's just a little off kilter - hopefully God will still bless it, just the same. It provided us with so much entertainment, this valiant tree . . .




4 comments:

Cynthia said...

Oh my gosh! What a fun time! I'll bet it's a trip they'll never forget. Boys are amazing in what they come up with for fun. Hey, I saw the Happy Hearts sign..... We loved that preschool but it was too full and we couldn't get in. The teachers are amazing!

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

What a great post and title, Heather. Once again, I can't wait to see it scrapped. This was a great line, "Children, when left to their own devices in the forest, do not often consult with the EPA, Child Protective Services, etc - they just plain wanna have some fun."

Darla said...

I'm so jealous..... How fun is that... and you didn't even know you made me feel so much better about letting my kids ride their skateboard without a helmet...
And Matt......Hmmmm.. What a great dad not letting his kids try something without him figuring out the level of danger!!! *lol*

What a great weekend...

Andrew B in Tennessee said...

We used to do this when I was a kid. My guess is that kids have been doing this for 100,000 years.

BTW, it's a blast, but don't let go!

There is a variant we called "riding the tree" where two (three is too many, it'll break) climb ad then hold on and lean, back and forth, causing the tree to sway. It's also lots of fun.