Mario’s ride


Mario could not wait to participate in the Kids Bike Race held on Friday night as part of the adult bike races that come to Grandview every year. I mentioned it to him and Ri about a month ago and Ri had zero interest but Mario jumped on it.

He had his last baseball game that night, too. I told him we’d have to leave early if we wanted to make the race. He was willing to do it in order to be in the race. Of course, the race was 20 minutes behind so we sat there waiting and waiting. He had the pre-race jitters like I get before running. He kept looking around at his competition.

“I will beat that boy; he’s on training wheels.”
“Is he racing me? He looks too old.”
“That boy doesn’t have muscles like me.”

And the quotes kept coming. Maria just kept rolling her eyes and begging to go to Doris and Kim’s party. The announcer finally called for the kids to line up. Mario dutifully sat on his bike awaiting instructions.

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I kept coaching him to get his foot on the pedal so he could get a good start but everyone was taking pictures and there was confusion abound. When the announcer yelled “Go!” one big kid took off and blew everyone away. Mario hung in there with the group and didn’t come in last – but I think he was second to last – which meant fourth because there were only five kids in each heat.

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He was not a happy camper. When I got to the finish line to see him, he exclaimed “That was it, mom?! That was the entire race? That is so stupid! I want to race like those guys!” He pointed to the professional riders. I had tried to explain to him that his race was a short race – one block in length – but he didn’t grasp it. He looked around and said “did I win at least?” I told him that he didn’t but he did a good job. He stomped his foot on the ground and pronounced “I want to race again!” A dad walked up to his son and looked at Mario. “Good job, Mario. I think you were third.”

I went with it. He was at the finish line when they crossed sobI trusted his memory and it was oh so much better than fourth in Mario’s eyes. He asked if he won anything and I told him no. He again proclaimed his irritation with the race. I think I will need to sign him up for at least a ten-mile one in the future.

He rode his bike to Doris and Kim’s house with Ri and I following. When he arrived, he got a winner’s welcome with everyone clapping for him. This brought a smile to his face. If he can’t win, at least he gets attention. The rest of the night he told everyone he raced and came in third. And he beamed all the while folks gushed over him.

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