“Here he is! Our youngest competitor!,” Charlie announces as he runs on to the pebbled gravel at a playground the boys have dubbed Tricky Park.
It doesn’t matter which one we go to, lately – they’re all giving me stress.
I know I’m supposed to let the kids go and just have fun. But playgrounds have too much stress involved. I mean, when we were kids playgrounds were slides, swings, and twisty things. Now? Up – everything goes up. Tricky Park has everything 6 – 8 feet off the ground including a huge rock climbing wall.
Ever since the boys caught American Ninja Warrior this summer, they’re role playing at the playground. The show was awesome, part parkour, part gymnastics, part Wipeout!, it took armchair athletes to the brink of strength and agility.
And now my kids want to be them. So a trip to the playground isn’s easy anymore, it becomes American Ninja Warrior Playground. It’s not just a climb, swing, slide place. Now they have to find ways to turn each apparatus into an obstacle. When Charlie walks across a bridge, he can’t do it on the plank, he needs to put his feet in the side slats.
And, just like when I was a kid imitating the play by play call of an NHL game when I was playing road hockey, Charlie and Zacharie announce their accomplishments on the playground as if they are true Ninja Warriors.
“And he’s moving on to Stage 5!,” they announce after pantomiming hitting a buzzer at the end of a playground lap and starting the whole routine over again.
In one breath it stresses me out, in the other breath I’m thrilled. The boys truly were inspired by the program this summer. They want to get out and climb and be fit and exercise. They want me to build a warped wall in the backyard, and they’re convinced they want to be Ninja Warriors when they grow up.