Why?

We went to two concerts last year. One was at Whitewater Amphitheater and the other was at the Majestic in San Antonio.

While Whitewash was not bad, we were told that we could not bring in blankets or toys and we were searched at the gates. The people working there were actually helpful, but the excessive restrictions were oppressive.

By contrast, the Majestic concert was amazing. I realized that being treated as a valued and valuable guest made the Majestic a place I wanted revisit, while I will avoid concerts at Whitewater.

Believe it or not, this is not actually about venue policies.

I composed a several sentence reply to new, additionally restrictive policies at WA, then deleted it. Because I probably won’t go back, I just emailed them, why?

And suddenly that one small question meant the world to me. Sometimes silence is a form of cowardice, but this time it was power.

As soon as I sent my why I realized it applied to all the unanswered questions I had about far bigger questions than why Whitewater Amphitheater won’t sanction me bringing in a purse, a blanket, or a deck of cards to a concert I have to pay to attended.

I never have to go there again. They need to prove to me that they understand my value.

Not the other way around.

Kicked out, part 3

If you read either part one or two, you may notice that the kicked off part is not there.

Hence, part 3:

I did not realize that the ropes were separating from the handles on a regular basis until I was riding and two riders-one very good, one pro, hollered at me from the water–I lost my rope!

I was not sure what they were talking about so I let go of my rope and asked them.

They both told me the same thing-they had been riding when suddenly the rope separated from the handle and they were left in the water with only a handle.

Weird.

I then quizzed a group of good riders, the cable operator, the cable manager, and one of the owners about how the cable rope was affixed to the handle.

The answer is-like a Chinese handcuff the rope is threaded through itself.

Which means that threading it right is crucial.

The cable operator told me his safety policy was to let everyone know they should expect to lose the rope.

The owner said the manager sometimes said stuff without thinking it through.

The manager said I was being a troublemaker.

The owner said I brought too much drama and was taking up too much of his employees’ time.

But by the time I had quizzed a dozen people I realized that 80 percent of them had a rope-loss story within the last two weeks.

I realized I might have had one as well…

There are falls and losses in wakeboarding all the time.  These things often happen in isolation.  A rider, even a good one, may not realize that a fall is due to operator neglect or park negligence unless they know that it is happening to other riders, sometimes with alarming regularity.

Within the two weeks following the refunding of my family’s membership the ropes continued to separate from the handles while in use.

I hope that someone remedied the situation eventually.

Kicked off the ranch part 2

It is a basic tenet of writing lists–of you have a part one you have to have a part 2.

So this is it:  how I went from dragging my kids to the Texas Ski Ranch every day –to-how I was told to leave no matter what.

First, the bikini contest-reminiscent of nothing more than a stock show.  A stock show to sell price inflated Corona?! Treating beautiful young women like commodities?

Then there were the poorly attended juvenile detention peeps.

And last there were falling ropes.  It seemed to be clear that either through operator negligence or rope defect the ropes were separating from the wooden handles–off the dock, in mid-air, on structures riders were falling because their ropes had failed them.

Safety has to be a paramount concern in extreme sports.  When it is not taken seriously, people get hurt.

So that is how I was kicked off the ranch.  But just as interesting as that is the waiver that TSR and Springloaded require participants to sign.

Worth careful perusal.

Kicked off the ranch–part one

I find the sentences which include when I did the bikini contest or the bikini contest I was in require explanation.

Explanation because I do not believe in body image competitions.

Explanation because I am a round, soft, almost-50 year old mama.

So the fact that I participated in the Texas Ski Ranch Cablestock Bikini Contest of 2016 is as worth noting as are the varied consequences of doing so.

So first–why?

I had been going to TSR for several years and was acquainted with their bikini contest because they ran promos for it on an infinite loop. An avert your eyes kind of loop.

Efforts at dialogue seemed to be unproductive.  Prayer, Bible study, and a remarkably specific fleece led to my reluctant decision to sign up for the bikini contest.

Much to my own consternation.

Bikini Contest Letter #2

I love wakeboarding.  I do it everyday–I wakeboard too much.

Most days I am proud to be a wakeboarder.  Last Saturday I was not.  Last Saturday I saw a side of wakeboard culture that did not showcase the full potential of the beautiful young women in the contest.

Women who wakeboard.  

These beautiful young women were given no forum for their skills in a tough action sport, but they were encouraged to define themselves according to the barest number of centimeters used to cover their rear ends.

Or not.

All the women who made it past the first round were wearing a style of bikini which deliberately exposes the buttocks.

And after that I could not watch.

I would like to direct the rest of this letter to any action sport sponsors who marginalized women athletes:

Because I am deep in the sport, this hurts me.  I know you.  I own products you sell.  I don’t want to associate your brand with the exploitation of women.

Wakeboarding is still a young sport.  We still have time to change this. 

Women can add so much to this sport–on the water, throwing spins, hitting rails, in the kind of clothes it actually takes to be brave.

I beg you to consider putting your sponsorship clout into women in wakeboarding, not women in sexually compromising positions.

update:

This post had a first stronger iteration which I modified after the owners of the wake park told me that I would have to apologize to one of them in order to allow my family to enter Points Chase National Competition.

I apologized.  They competed. 

More bad stuff happened….and I no longer can say that I wakeboard almost every day with enthusiasm.

I am no longer able to separate the degradation and shame of what happened at the bikini contest with the lovely process of riding a sliver of wood and fiberglass at 19 miles an hour.

It takes hundreds, maybe thousands of people to look the other way (or in this case stare voraciously) as human beings are exposed and humiliated.

I am not proud of any of it

I am not proud of “us”

The wakeboarders who let it happen.