One of the highlights of being a parent is doing anything for the first time. The first sleep over, the first sporting event, the first beer… Ok, maybe I’m not quite there yet with the first beer. However, I was able to be there for the first sleep over with my son Josh and his best friend Kobe.
As a Sports Medicine Physician, I am able to take my kids to work with me once in a while. Having them for a sleep over is an added bonus at a work event. This year was a really special year for several reasons. I am back on my feet after almost literally losing one of them at X games last year –
Shout out to Dr. David Lee, my foot and ankle surgeon that put me back together. I cannot stress how awesome this guy is. I am a Sports Medicine Physician and have the ability to select my surgeons so that should tell you how much faith I have in his work!! But I digress…
18 screws, 3 plates, and 2 wires later, I am back at the X games for another year. This year was even better than the last. Tony Hawk was one upped on his legendary 900 by Gui Khury. He pulled a 1080 in competition. Deshawn Jordan now had his first X games gold medal. Jagger Eaton was the FIRST EVER skateboarder to win a bronze medal at the FIRST EVER olympics to include skateboarding. It had been an epic year in my line of work and nothing could prepare me for the joy of being part of this years X Games.
The first event started out with Elliot Sloans backyard being the primary venue. I was reluctant to ask the execs for permission to bring my son because I was responsible for watching the medical team on the ground. You can imagine the stress of being responsible for athlete medical at these types of events. It is even more stressful being responsible for a child running around.
Trusted Baby Sitters
Luckily, a good friend of mine was willing to watch my son for the day along with his son, Kobe. Brett and his lovely wife Danielle brought the boys down to the venue. They were able to give them the VIP experience while I stayed out of sight until I was needed.
Part of being a Sports Med Doc is learning how to stay out of frame for the camera. Its a lot like always being a bridesmaid and never being the bride. I am there to support the athletes, not to build my own brand. My brother was kind enough to screen shot his TV to make fun of me for actually being in-frame.
For some reason my family loves to screen shot their TV’s anytime I am lazily leaning on a random obstacle while my employer believes I am “hard at work.”
Brett and Danielle are excellent parents. There kids, along with mine have been friends for years. We are constantly helping each other with babysitting, school drop offs and various other life circumstances. Danielle and my wife Jen are both saints. They have the patience and loving instinct to handle the kids while Brett and I have other responsibilities. This was one of the few times where I was solely responsible for Kobe and Josh.
Naturally, my first instinct was to mess with Jen since she wasn’t there. As soon as Kobe and Josh were present, I told Danielle to grab the Monster Energy Tour Water. It looks like a legit energy drink, but in fact is only canned water. I sent this photo to Jen letting her know the boys were fine in my care –
I was expecting her to respond in a panic with some sort of angry parenting advice. Unfortunately, she zoomed in to the photo because she knows I love messing with her and figured it out pretty quickly. All she offered in response was that it appeared the boys were having fun.
The amount of stress associated with watching X games athletes do their thing is nothing compared to the stress of parenting. Brett and Danielle handed off the boys to me after the event was over. It was like receiving a ticking time bomb and having to defuse it. I had no idea the importance of what I was about to embark on.
I was able to feed the boys some chicken nuggets and fries and somehow convince them to brush their teeth. After a short conversation about what they wanted to see the next day, I was able to get them to watch a movie and fall asleep.
I had been staying at the hotel for a few days and already knew the routine for breakfast. I explained to the boys that they could either have a breakfast burrito from a local shop down the street or waffles from the hotel. They opted for waffles.
Normally, this would have been a win in the parenting category because I wasn’t required to do anything other than show them to the hotel lobby. Unfortunately, I had made a promise the night before that we would get pancakes on the way home. Basically, I promised kids they could eat carbs covered in sugar, followed by carbs covered in more sugar and somehow enjoy the drive home. If you have been following my blog, you know that if I promise the kids something, I will deliver…
In between sugar high’s, I had agreed to take the boys to the motocross event at X games. Not only was this their first X games, but this was also their first sleep over. That put a tremendous amount of pressure on me to make sure they had a great time.
X Games Excitement
Luckily the riders at X games NEVER disappoint. The kids were with me, so they had VIP access the entire time. At any motorsports event you have to be extra cautious about the locations you are in. Upon arriving on-site, I immediately checked in with my medical team and let them know I would be spectating from the sidelines with the boys. In my line of work, communication is ALWAYS key to a successful event.
The boys and I ended up hanging out on the top of the VIP area where they had a full view of the main jumps.
We watched several riders do their runs until one of them had a crash with an injury that required transport. For the sake of privacy, I cannot divulge details, but the kids loved watching the helicopter take off.
When they finally became tired, we were able to leave the venue and make the trek back to Orange County. I successfully handed them off to both Jen and Danielle, and then immediately had to return to the venue for further work.
I am telling this story because it was the first time both Josh and Kobe had a sleep over. Sleep overs are a major part of growing up for kids. It gives them some level of independence and responsibility. Also, as a parent, we are responsible for the welfare of another child. It can be a really difficult experience for all parties.
Luckily, Brett and Danielle are good friends of Jen and I. We have a great relationship with their kids and they have a similar one with ours. It makes things so much easier when all I have to do as a father is tank them up on sugar, show them motorcycles, and send them home to mom.
When this all transpired, I was not aware this was Kobe and Josh’s first official sleep over. Little did they know that this was my first official night alone with both of them. It is difficult as a parent to be responsible for your own kid, let alone someone else’s. This experience gave me a new found respect for both Jen and Danielle’s ability to handle the kids while Brett and I are at work.
As a father, I feel lucky to have been a part of this experience for the boys. I feel even luckier that it was also their first time at X games. I cannot wait until I get to do it again! My job is so much fun. I love being a physician for the action sports industry, but watching it through their eyes made me feel like I was a kid again. The fact that I was able to spend the night and have a sleep over with them made it that much more memorable for me and them.