The freshman experience means trying new things. In class I am constantly encouraging my students to take risks in their writing by trying new sentence patterns, new words, and new ideas to grab the reader’s attention. Please read through some of my older blogs and let me know if I practice what I preach. (Oops, I used a cliché.)
I also try to select stories with themes about risks. I think one reason I do it is to remind myself to take some risks. We teachers are not the biggest risk-takers in the world. Think about it. I have spent more years in school than Bluto Blutarsky. Only, I have never left school, and my G.P.A. was a little higher than his.
Therefore, this winter, as I was planking 24/7 while recovering from surgery that reattached my retina, our family discussed where we might travel for our next vacation. I began to say: “too far; too expensive; and what about Mom’s work?” Then I listened to Dr. Wayne Dyer’s Excuses Be Gone and realized I had been making excuses to NOT travel to Hawai’i. Well, this was the time to go to Hawai’i.
All of us made plans on what we wanted to do and see on Oahu. And, we agreed that we would do what others wanted without too much whining and complaining. (In hindsight, I should have defined “too much”.) One of must-dos was to surf.
I researched various people who give lessons and found Sunset Suzy. Dude, my research paid off! Our four instructors for our family of six were bitchin’! We had Suzy, Suzy’s brother, a retired professional surfer, and a 15 year-old Hawaiian boy.
Our youngest boy did not want to learn how to surf, but he knew that we were going to try new things on the island. He was a little apprehensive about falling off and not being able to swim. Once we told him he was attached to the board by a rope, and he only had to swim to the board, he was fine. Still, one of the instructors was within ten feet of him at all times. It turns out he may have been the second best surfer amongst us. He was able to hop up on the board and surf like Obi-Won battling Anakin on Mustarfar. Or, as Suzy would say, “He flared!”
My daughter, an ex-gymnast, was able to easily stand up on her board. However, she did ride right into me. She claimed it was my fault, but later pictures proved she surfed into me. Now, she claims it was payback for me breaking her arm while skiing. She fell. I skied over to help her and fell on her. I say her arm broke on her fall. She claims it was my falling on her that broke it. Do I write like someone who would intentionally lie?
Mom, Andy, and Alex all did well, too. They were able to turn and ride the waves to the shore. I don’t think I ever saw any of them fall. However, none did as well as this old Beach Boys fan. I swam out to the big waves. Unfortunately, my family never saw me shoot the curl or rip it on the 30 foot waves. They only saw me at the tail end, when I was riding a half-foot wave to the shore and jumping off the board. Of course, they jealously claim I was falling off, but I was having fun trying variations of creative cannonballs and diverse dives.
Surfing was a dream come true for me, and a memorable moment in our families’ lives. It was so awesome that the kids went again. (The waves weren’t big enough for me, and my wife wanted to take pictures of the kids.)
It wasn’t until after the surfing, as we ate at the Grass Skirt Grill, that we told the kids about the shark attack the last time we surfed.
Stay tuned for the rest of the story…