A couple of years ago on a snowy day, I gathered up my sons, my sister, brother in law, niece and nephew and went sledding at a local park.
For those of you who have those wooden sleds with the metal red rails tucked away in your basement or garage, consider this your alert to take them out and slick down the rails with Pam cooking spray. Because there is simply no sled offered on the recreational sledding market today that has the velocity, endurance and overall X-factor that these things have.
After watching the kids for a while, I lowered my 250lb body onto the wooden planks in a head first, belly down position. Nervous adults shifted their eyes from me to their children, knowing that what was about to happen was perilous. ‘What’s with that hat? Is he a mental patient or is it just for fun? This guy makes me nervous’, they thought as I readied myself for what could be a one-way trip to the bottom. With hands on the steering controls and danger on my mind, I received a push and barreled down the hill at a speed that felt unsafe in the presence of children.
At the bottom of the hill was a curb like rise in the terrain which I hit with the front part of the sled as I reached maximum velocity. The sled stopped immediately as it wedged firmly into the earth and I slid approximately 15 yards on my torso and face, tearing the mustache off of my new hat/beard/mustache ensemble and tearing up the winter jacket I’ve had for 15 years but shattering the Northern Kentucky speed record for downhill recreational sledding! I laid motionless for a minute taking inventory of any broken bones, internal bleeding and/or organ damage. Feeling as if I were well enough to rise to my feet and paranoid that someone might call 911 if I continued to lay there, I stood up and gingerly offered the crowd of onlookers at the top of the hill a ‘thumbs-up’ to the relief and delight of my family.
I’m hoping that the weather outside turns frightful soon so that I might once again take my skills to that hill to recreate this death defying stunt as nothing makes me feel so alive as an out-of-control, high speed, head first downhill descent.
(The author, just prior to messing up his hat and ski jacket on the sledding run described above.)