Sliding, Concussions and Devil’s Hill

This is Day 3 of self-isolation.

Why are we self-isolating? Well it’s Dr’s orders, due to the fact that Melissa has a nasty viral infection and I am now sick myself. Combine on top of that a mild concussion I received while sliding with my children… by’s we are some hard up bunch.

It all started for me last Monday when Benaiah, Railene and I were sliding down a huge hill in our backyard. We have some nice hills on back, and this time we chose a nice steep one. Considering Benaiah is only five, Railene three and that I personally don’t have a death wish, we only went about a quarter of the distance up the hill. Normally when I slide (which doesn’t happen very often anymore) I average the speed of a sloth, plowing most of the snow over my legs, resembling a snowplow more than a sled. However, this day in particular, I was like the Roadrunner on steroids. I’m talking National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, kind of zooming down a hill.

Hill to the right, directly behind the shed

Benaiah was pumped and Railene was hesitant, but she tagged along for some fun. So what happens when you take an excited five year old, a half scared three year old and an twenty-nine year old father who wants to impress his children and let off a bit of steam? Ouch time. That’s what you get.

And that’s what happened.

After witnessing Railene on her second sliding run cut open her lip, scrape her nose, and land on her face after completing a double barrel roll in the air, you’d think we would have backed off. However I chalked her accident up to her inexperienced sliding skills, with the fact that she attempted to slow herself with one foot while going about 20kph.

“I am an experienced slider.” Says I, as I stare down the hill covered in frozen hard snow. Suddenly flashbacks of Devil’s Hill echo through my mind.

With a sixty degree slope, Devil’s Hill was the place where all the kids in the neighborhood would slide. It turned boys into men. Completely incased in trees, there was a narrow lane for sliding about five feet across and about eighty feet long. After walking to the top, carefully avoiding the groomed sliding lane, you would sit on your slide and use your feet as brakes to avoid starting prematurely. Once you let go, there was no going back. As you raced downward through a tunnel of trees, you had no choice but to hold on as there was no where for you to bail even if you wanted to. If you tried, a lovely spruce tree awaited your arrival.

My father Ernie, my brother Josh and myself holding the handles on our skidoo. In the background, second trail from the left is Devil’s Hill

One time my brother Josh(four years older than me) and his two friends Reece and Vaughn, made a huge ramp at the bottom of the hill. It was suicide for anyone without a G.T.

G.T Racer like my brother owned

I didn’t have a G.T. But yet I did have old faithful. A purple slide with a seat, a tiny lip on the back for keeping your bum from sliding off and a white string on the front for pulling and gripping. Sure I had no brakes and no way to steer myself (thanks Mom and Dad) but I still had a sled that could rocket me down the hill.

After witnessing my brother and his friends land some crazy jumps on the ramp, I decided it was my turn to impress them all. I launched myself down the hill, gaining more speed and rapidly approaching the bottom. It was then I realized how big that ramp really was. At it’s highest it was about four feet off the ground, a crazy height for a ten year old. I was doomed.

After being airborne for what seemed like an eternity, I slammed onto the ground with my back landing on the lip for keeping my backside from sliding off. I thought I broke my back! However after coming to a stop, staring up towards the clouds in pain, my brother informed me I had barely left the ground, thus popping my bubble of an epic story to tell my friends.

So here I am, last monday staring down the hill that Railene just crashed on and thinking to myself, “I got this.” I pushed with my feet to get some momentum, and as my speed increased I realized quickly that today, I am not a sloth…I am Rocket-Man. I zoomed down the hill, feeling the cold air rush against my face and adrenaline pumping through my veins. I bailed off just before I hit a large black compost bin. It was a rush, I felt thrilled and free. Then suddenly, I felt a wave of dread hit me. Unbeknownst to me, Benaiah had ventured his way even further up the hill than I had. When I stood to my feet and looked up, there was Benaiah lining up his sled. No steering, just two plastic brakes on the sides that he didn’t know how to use properly.

Lift off.

He flew down the hill, gaining speed as he descended towards the bottom. I then realized something. He was going faster than I was. He was practically floating on the hard snow. My “fight or flight” kicked in, and I knew that either he was going to pass me and hit a birch tree or worse, a metal wheelbarrow in the snow behind the compost bin.

Yeah yeah, I can hear you say now, “You didn’t think of removing the hazards before you started sliding?” Well, sometimes, I don’t completely think things through, okay? 🙂

With only seconds to react, I decided to stand in front of his path. Then like a freight train Benaiah collided into me ***whump***, down I fell backwards onto the frozen snow, smacking my head when I landed. Dazed, I lay there a moment as my head and left leg throbbed(the one that connected with the slide). Two thoughts crossed my mind: 1) Is Benaiah okay? 2) Did I just break my leg? Then all I heard was… laughter. Benaiah almost peeing himself laughing, saying how awesome it was and I quote, “That never hurt me a bit.” Meanwhile I just lay back in the snow watching the clouds float on by, wondering if my leg was broke. After doing a quick check over, I concluded I hadn’t broken anything. All is fine. Or so I thought.

Benaiah at ramming speed

The next day while on my way to work, I found that my head started to hurt. Throughout my shift at the police station I had a constant headache. Then to top it off, while on lunch break I felt an overpowering urge to sleep in my car. That did not happen though, when you take into account my height 6’1 and trying to lay back in a Kio Rio car with two car seats in the back. After three days of headaches and a nap each day, I contacted my Dr. who informed me that symptoms sounded like a mild concussion, and due to a sore throat and fatigue I was experiencing (I think because of Melissa’s viral infection) he ordered us both to self-isolate for 14 days.

As I wrap up this blog, I want to share a thought with you. When I saw Benaiah flying down the hill on his sled, I knew it wasn’t going to end well. My stomach dropped as I calculated in my mind the speed at which he was progressing and the distance he had left to travel before he hit something. I did what I knew I had to do, I had to stop him before he hurt himself and that meant standing in front of him. Judging by his speed I knew it was going to hurt, but it was either I get hit or my son hits something else. I did it what I did because I love him.

So here is my thought: I also had someone stand in my way and take the brunt of an injury I had coming to me. I didn’t deserve it nor was I looking for it, in fact I was having a “good time” on my own, much like Benaiah having a good time zooming down the hill. However I did not know what lay ahead, just like Benaiah didn’t know the wheelbarrow or the birch tree was ahead. Who is this person who stood in for me? You might have guessed by now…Jesus Christ. God sent Jesus to bear the brunt of my injury, at ANYTIME during His time on earth He could have said “No.” But He didn’t. Some people read the Bible like it’s a script, as if God sent Jesus and therefore Jesus had to do what He was sent to do. However let’s remember one important detail, He was God but born as a Man. He had a choice, just like we do, and that choice was You. That choice was me. At any moment as they punched Him, spat on Him, whipped and crucified Him, He could have ended it right then and there. Boom! Everybody dead. Instead He didn’t. Jesus took it all, knowing that His actions would change the world, for you and me so we could have a personal relationship with God. That choice is before us all today. What will you choose?

One last thing: if you have children or grandchildren and have the means, buy them a G.T. Racer. 🙂 Steering makes a huge difference. 😉


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