Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tulsa Tough Kid's Challenge

Skills and Drills Clinic

Sunday, 19MAY2008

This was the final skills and drills clinic for the Tulsa Tough Kids Challenge. The instructors were: Brian Potter, Ren Barger, Richard Hall, and myself. We had numerous volunteers assisting with registration, helmet and bike fitting, and even police officers from the Tulsa Police Department and the Tulsa County Sheriffs Office.

Jordan went along for this one too, and it's a good thing he did. Some of the kids in my group had ill-fitting helmets or bikes with minor mechanical problems that required immediate attention. Jordan stepped in for me and kept the drills rolling while I took care of the problems. He's easily approachable. Kids like him. He's a fine assistant to any instructor. And there's no denying he worked hard because he dehydrated badly like I did last week. Just know that I'm proud of him for helping so much on Sunday.

One mother asked if I had an operator's manual for teenage boys. It didn't dawn on me until Monday – when I began writing this – that she was commenting on my son! I had to say that if I could write something like that, I'd have a yacht or an island of my own. Apparently, Mary and I did something right as far as parenting is concerned, but for the life of me, I don't know what it was. “As the twig is bent...” A friend said that by the time they're 16 or 17, we're just along for the ride.

Would it be possible to invite some kids from this year's group to attend next year's 'classroom' events? Perhaps we could solicit teachers to have a writing contest or something similar in order to select the most persuasive kids to assist with our pitch. At their age, peer pressure can work to our advantage.

To that end, we need to keep an idea file for next year. I set a reminder in MS calendar.

We need some people to perform an effective gatekeeper function. Brian said to trust the registrars, but they were perhaps too lenient in allowing some to attend. We had one family show up with their daughter who'd been registered, along with her two younger brothers who most likely were not, but I had no way to verify this. I think they were no older than six and they were a pain-in-the-ass to deal with because they simply would not listen until I bellowed at them. Next year – turn away these very young kids outside our targeted age group. We need to turn away kids who are not dressed appropriately, re-scheduling them for a later session. I had one kid wearing flip-flops. There may have been more. That may be a PITA for the gatekeeper, but it makes our job easier. No one wants to be the bad guy, the one who says 'no' to anxious parents and kids, but it's a necessary function.

I think that we should plan out the classes differently, allowing more time between sessions although that would stretch out the day. The kids need to be rested and fed before class, so maybe schedule two classes at mid-day. Give the staff an hour break over dinner, and have an evening session.

The kids seemed more anxious, hyper, and whiny this time perhaps because it was later in the day. The warehouse was hot and I had a few who wanted to take breaks for water every few minutes. “How many minutes left?” one asked repeatedly. That last group probably hadn't had dinner either and that's sure to make kids cranky. It makes me cranky!

And finally, Ren said she had a temper tantrum due to being so irritated by some of the kids. That didn't really qualify as a temper tantrum. I use Conan the Barbarian as a model. "Kill your enemies! See them run before you! Hear the lamentations of their women!" Now, that's a tantrum! I really need to wear more furs. Where can I get a battle axe?

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Blogger getinlost said...

Two chainrings lashed to a seatpost. Viola! One wicked battle axe.

We've had similar issues with our after school bike club in conjunction with our safe routes to school program. Siblings want to attend also but don't have the skills, Bikes that are not up to snuff, kids showing up without the helmet that you gave them last week with the admonition "no helmet, no bike club".

10:36 PM  
Blogger crashdrew said...

Here's hoping this years Tulsa Tough is the best so far. I'll be putting 3 camera shots up on the big video displays this year. We will try get shots of the kids races as well. Taking it up a notch!

2:17 PM  

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