Cowboys & Camping

14 Oct

In my humble opinion, one of the most enjoyable parts of being a parent is doing all the firsts. You know what I am talking about. Everyone documents their child’s first anything. First cry, first food, first smile, first time rolling over, first time pooping something that actually resembles poop… “firsts” are so special because they are the first!! Also, I am a really sentimental guy — no shame — so the first time Nolan does a variety of acts will always be held deep as special memories for me.

Along this vein, I have a God-given talent to pair special memories with or around a sport/sporting event. I recall back to literally the night after I met my wife because she was at a Nuggets game — Friday December 3. I remember more than one trip to see my grandparents in Texas because of sports; one trip during the 2001 Super Bowl where the Ravens beat the Giants and one during the NBA Playoffs where my Opa’s favorite Spurs took on Chris Paul, Tyson Chandler, and the Hornets. I also will always remember our family vacation for Labor Day 1998, as it was my first Broncos football game — Monday Night Football vs the Patriots. I also remember that night because my brother got a full beer spilled on him by some weird stranger. Seriously how could you forget THAT?!? I don’t connect everything to sports but it is rather easy for me to do in most cases.

All that being said, this past weekend was filled with two very exciting firsts for Nolan. Most exciting for me was that this weekend was my son’s first Wyoming Cowboys football game. Right now, it is inevitable that one of the 50 page views I’ll get on this blog post are asking themselves “Where the &*(% is Wyoming??” My only hope is that this page view is from California and that they do not ever, ever find out where it is located. To everyone else, I say this: Wyoming Football and the University of Wyoming holds a large piece of my heart. I was born and raised in the great state, and spent four years earning a bachelor’s degree from the school. I also spent many nights of my childhood listening to the velvet voice of Dave Walsh calling football and basketball games on local AM radio, and it was his nearly insufferable sidekick Kevin McKinney that at one point made me want to enter journalism broadcasting. I ended up in engineering, and I actually love K-Mac now so…things change. I follow the Pokes (suck it, Oklahoma St) with the unrivaled passion.

Standing outside the stadium in front of my "brick in the wall". GO POKES!

Standing outside the stadium in front of my “brick in the wall”. GO POKES!

The opportunity to introduce my 7-month old son to the joys of Cowboy football last Saturday ranks up there with storming the field after the 2009 New Mexico Bowl victory and the 44-0 drubbing of that state school in Colorado a few years back. It was a beautiful day in Laramie, especially for being mid-October. The wind was “calm” at only 15 mph and the air was crisp and balmy at 35 degrees for most of the game. My little man was bundled up in more layers than an onion, wearing an awesome WYO jacket and an even cooler giraffe stocking hat. The football was good — great even — as the Pokes ran out to a huge lead against New Mexico, let them climb back into the game, and then crushed their Lobo hearts. A moment I’ll never forget was the first WYO score. The Wyoming Army ROTC has a cannon they shoot off after every score and during the National Anthem. After that first score — a Shaun Wick run after an explosively quick 1-minute 33-second opening drive — I immediately put my hands over Nolan’s ears to shield the BOOM, and then celebrated with high-fives all around. I laugh even replaying it in my head days later, but a part of me is proud that the parental instincts overcame all.

The other big first for Nolan this weekend was his first pseudo-camping trip. Grandpa and Grammie recently bought a camping trailer, and this was the first time that we got to see it and stay in it. It is a far cry from the camper they had when I was a baby, and is way nicer than the big fifth-wheel trailer the family had when I was growing up. We had so many fun trips going camping though, fishing and four-wheeling and just enjoying both the beautiful outdoors and family. Staying in a KOA campground this last weekend made me really miss all of that, even if we weren’t truly camping, which has Mrs. Pickle already mentally preparing for the day when I come home and say, “Babe, we’re buying a camper”. It was so much nicer to have your own “home” instead of a hotel room, and a lot cheaper too. I realize that Nolan won’t remember most of this first camping trip, of course, but there was one piece of it that really meant a lot to me. When it came to sleeping arrangements, it was Grandpa on the top bunk and Nolan on the bottom — barricaded by an assortment of objects to keep him secured overnight. Why such a little thing made me smile so big, I don’t know. Maybe it is because I love seeing how much Nolan means to him, and to my mom. It reminded me of back when I’d go to a summer camp, and you always wanted your buddy to sleep in the same bunk as you — you know?

So there are two more “firsts” checked off the list. Next up for our monster will be crawling, teeth, and sitting up on his own which leaves Josie and I wondering where 7 months went. In any case, I can’t wait for the days when Nolan will be out in the garage, “helping” me with a project and listening to Dave Walsh call out another WYO win..

photo (4)

Happy Cowboy, Happy Camper

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