The pre-race assist.
The new swim buoys...excellent!
Peter was this age when he discovered triathlon.
The hand-off with the great mentor and relay partner, JD
The happenings on a school bus have a way of getting to the core of why middle school has the reputation for being cruel. It doesn’t matter what generation you’re from, whether you’re from a good neighborhood or a rough one, the bus ride can make or break a kid. The kid on the losing end usually doesn’t say much about it. Good thing he talks to his sister. So when she told me there was some tripping and some insults thrown at her kid brother, I sat and listened. I would try to remember how I dealt with this scenario when I was a kid. I was soon realizing that my son and I have shared some similar experiences. To this day, I still remember “Dogface”, the girl who with the help of her super evil twin made 6th grade miserable. God only knows why they knew hatred so well. Pete seems to have met Dogface’s kids, Cain and Abel. You wonder what stirs such animosity in children? Since Peter doesn’t know these kids at all, my guess was that they see him running and riding to school and just view him as different (oh the shame). At the same age, I had begun rowing, something no one in my middle school even knew existed. Anyone with half a pea-brain was positive that I was without a doubt, a freak. Even if I was a freak, I didn’t care. Most of the people I would train with at the boathouse were 20 years older than me. They were my protectors and confidantes. In my pigtails they saw potential, as I would hoist my boat into the Long Island Sound. They inspired me every day and took me under their wings. As I grew up, Dogface became just a lurking shadow that could never catch me. Tonight, we traveled to a triathlon that Peter has called his home since he was a baby. Now he races and has graduated from pushing sand on the beach to pushing gears on his bicycle. The bulk of the athletes that surround him are more than 20 years older than him. They protect him, cheer him on, and make him feel like there is no other place in the world he’d rather be. And while the Dogface’s of the world wait to prey on him, he has already left them in the dust, and they don’t even realize it. The smile he wears proves it.
Dad leads by example.
I was a bit off my own game tonight and got more blurry shots than I would like to admit to. One of those included a photo of Bill Honeck, the race organizer. He is a great mentor to Pete and friend to so many. Thanks for years of fun at the races and for making this sport a great place to grow up.
5/31/2012 09:59:44 pm
Great photos and loved your story. Your son is an inspiration to many and I love his smile in the pictures. You must be so proud!
6/1/2012 02:53:21 am
He makes me proud to be his mamma. I am a very lucky lady.
5/31/2012 10:19:30 pm
LOve this post! Pete is ahead of his time and an amazing kid! Tell him to keep a stiff upper lip and just run/ride on by the ones that pester him. Hope to see you at the race soon.
5/31/2012 10:31:32 pm
I am so touched as I read this. I saw your son out on the bike and was impressed by him. Last night was my first race back after having my son 10months ago which meant I did not race last year. I hope that my son will someday be like yours and we can race a Lake T as a family as well!
6/1/2012 02:54:43 am
Thanks Stacy. Lake T has been like a second home to my family. Embrace it with your family for the wonderful experience it is. II hope to meet you at the next race.
5/31/2012 11:21:42 pm
Great Blog Jen! I can relate all too well at how difficult it is for kids that are not mainstream to find there place. Trying to teach my girls to rise above the comments of others and be themselves, is daily conversation. Obviously Pete has found his place!! I love seeing him out there, he keeps it real!! Great job!
6/1/2012 02:56:36 am
Thanks mel...It's so much fun to see you tear up the pavement. Thanks...bring out the kids so we can all hang out soon.
6/1/2012 12:06:16 am
What an amazing post. Thank you for sharing! I think this resinates with so many people who can still remember being terrorized by the 'Dogface' in their life. I know I do, and I know that group support from amazing people like Bill Honeck make it bearable while you work toward rising above.
6/1/2012 02:57:57 am
Dogface will never go away...but if we train hard enough, she'll never catch us.
6/1/2012 12:43:25 am
I don't even know you and I am writing this with tears streaming down my face and so touched by your story!
6/1/2012 03:00:05 am
Wow Heather. We're kindred spirits! Thanks for your great words of encouragement. I am sure your son is one cool kid. lets keep these kids running!
6/1/2012 03:40:14 am
Thanks for the kind words Jenny. It has been wonderful watching Katie and Pete grow up. They have been such a huge part of Pig Iron and I am glad to see the tradition continue. Thanks for being a wonderful friend.
Jen, I have been racing lake T with my wife Stacey (commented above) since 2005 and have admired Chris's speed on the course but more importantly his mentoring of Pete through the years. Stacey and I hope to do the same with our son Tyler (10 months) and will definitely make Lake T and the athletes a home.
6/1/2012 11:20:19 am
What a great story!!! My daughter Alexa is the little girl in the pics...we definitely cheered the loudest for Pete. We love the lake T tris & hope they will continue for many years so Alexa can participate!
6/1/2012 10:15:51 pm
Great pictures but once again nice story well written.
6/2/2012 12:53:27 pm
Pete is amazing. Just remarkable. I wonder where he gets it?
6/8/2012 01:15:00 pm
I too, had a "Dogface" when I was a kid.Got punched in the stomach over a green, 12" ruler in the schoolyard. Never forget it. And you're right Jen; it doesn't matter what generation you're from - there's always one around. What parents need to do is teach their kids that the "Dogfaces" of the world are usually insecure kids who, for whatever reason, didn't have the guidance they needed growing up and took to menacing instead of developing friendships. This too shall pass for all the kids who are being "Dogfaced" as they usually end up the winners in the end. A lesson learned. Great story Jen; one that can be appreciated by many.
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