Chris Mcwatters: An Unforgettable Memory

In past articles, many of us have written about our first tournament, who taught us, or our lives at the World Barefoot Center.  Well, this article is about a great friend that always puts a smile on my face.

Several years ago, a new family moved in next door to my wife and me.  After finding out that Curt and Molly liked to ski and Curt wanted to learn to barefoot, we became really close.  Over the years we got to know each others families and on one summer, I met my friend, Kyle.  Kyle is Molly’s brother, Curt’s brother -in-law. Now a little background on Kyle: he is a special needs guy, he has Downs Syndrome, but I would consider him a high functioning guy with Downs.

Kyle and I hit it off right away.  While our taste in our sports teams differs slightly, we still like to get together and watch our two favorite teams: The Michigan Wolverines and the Detroit Red Wings.  During the summer time, Curt and I would like to take Kyle on the boat with us and he liked to watch us ski and barefoot.  Kyle was able to get behind the boat, but only to tube.  Kyle has an extensive medical history besides Downs Syndrome.  Enduring multiple heart surgeries and neck problems really limited what he was able to do, both on and off the water.

After getting permission from Kyle’s parents and Molly, Curt and I were allowed to pull Kyle on the boom on a kneeboard.  It only took Curt and I a few tries and we had Kyle kneeboarding.  While he only had the coordination to hold to boom, he still was doing something besides tubing.  The look on his face was unbelievable.  He was on top of the world.  We had done that with him multiple times during the summer and one afternoon Curt and I thought we would give skiing a go.  We tried putting Kyle in a pair of kid skis.  Kyle and I held the boom and I positioned Kyle between my legs.  I held Kyle’s skis together with my skis and off we went.  Unfortunately, Kyle was unable to grasp the concept of keep the skis in front of him, so eventually his skies and legs went between my legs and off came the skis.

One thing I can say about Kyle is that not only is he persistent, but he’s also extremely strong.  Refusing to let go of the boom, Kyle was able to pull himself up and found himself standing on my skis. While he didn’t have his own skis on, in his mind, he was skiing.  Curt made a big circle so we could make a pass in front of his Mom, Dad and Molly.  Pumping his fist and shouting “Kyle Rose”, over and over– I can’t tell you want that meant to all of us.

Well,Curt and I thought we would press our luck, we asked Kyle if he would like to barefoot with me.  After thinking about it, he was in– only he was not going to barefoot, he was going to be in a tube and I was going to foot next to Kyle.  Thinking back, I don’t think we told his parents prior to doing this (sorry Mr. and Mrs. Rose).  Curt and I had one of those “impossible” to flip tubes and added a barefoot rope to it.  We matched it up with another barefoot rope and added a barefoot handle and hooked onto the tower.  We put Kyle into a barefoot suit and he and I got into the tube together.  As we got going and got up to speed, I bounced off the tube and there we were barefooting “together”.  Now, Kyle was priceless, he kept asking me questions and telling me to “Watch out!”  I kept telling Kyle I was going to be okay.

Kyle finally settled in and they we were, I kept looking at Kyle to make sure he was ok and see if he was enjoying himself.  At first Kyle was reluctant to let go of the tube handles, but I could still hear him yelling “Kyle Rose”.  I kept trying to grab his hand to grab the “pic” but he was not having it, at first.

We got to the other end of the lake and let the water settle out.  We had to give it another go, and Kyle was definitely in.  After the same routine to get me on my feet it only took seconds and the perfect memorable moment was captured.

Thank you Curt, Molly, Mr. Rose and Mrs. Rose, and especially Kyle Rose.  A Moment in my life that I will never forget.

Chris Mcwatters

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18 Responses to “Chris Mcwatters: An Unforgettable Memory”

  1. KSO says:

    Awesome article Chris!!

  2. Curt "Clark" Beagle says:

    As I mentioned on your featured footer page “An amazing person and an amazing friend”. To this day Kyle still has that picture front and center in his bedroom and still asks me “How’s Chris?”. Im going to dig up the pics of Kyle kneeboarding for you and the best one (in my humble opinion)of you trying to get Kyle up on the surfboard. That photo is one of my all-time favorite water action shots. Great article, Chris. Thanks for being Kyle’s friend-and mine, too! Curt

  3. Molly says:

    Despite reading the article before it still brings tears of hapiness to me. It was truly a once in a lifetime moment for all of us on the boat that day! Thank you, Chris!! Molly

  4. Kyle's Mom & Dad says:

    What a wonderful article! Thanks, Chris, for providing Kyle with such precious memories! He shares the picture of knee boarding with everyone. You will always have a place in his loving heart and ours too! Thanks for always being a friend to our special son. Love you, Dee & Ron

  5. Thanks, Chris, for giving all of us such a wonderful memory! You will always have a loving place in Kyle’s heart. He shares the picture with everyone! Thank you for loving our special son! Love, Dee & Ron

  6. Barb and Emerson says:

    Kyle is our dear friend and we love him. We appreciate you being so wonderful with him.
    Kyle is fun to be with and you know that too!

    Thanks Chris for the great article.

    Emerson and Barb

  7. Judy Care says:

    I had tears in my eyes when I read your story. I am proud to say I am Kyle’s aunt and love to hear when others have been able to experience his persistence, sense of humor and loving, kind nature. Thanks for shaing your experience with others.

  8. Tina Nagel says:

    What an awesome article!!! It is always great to read happy things. Thanks for sharing!

    Tina Nagel
    Kyle’s Cousin

  9. Cheryl, Kyle's Cousin says:

    Thank you so much for writing this beautiful article. I was in tears reading this. Tears of pride. I have grown up watching Kyle and he never stops amazing and inspiring me. Kyle has more pure Love, determination and strength than anyone I have ever meet. I am very blessed to not only be able to say I know Kyle but I am lucky enough to call him family. Whenever I am going through a difficult time in my life and feel like I could give up, I think of Kyle and with the grace he goes through the challenges he faces and I find the strength to pick up and keep going. People have asked me a few times in conversations who my hero is and I always say mine is Kyle Rose. What a beautiful soul full of God’s Love he is. I’m so glad to of been blessed to be a part of his family. Way to go Kyle, I’m so proud of you.

  10. Debbie says:

    Great article! We love this family and thanks for making Kyle smile.

  11. Micki and Ken says:

    Way to go,Kyle! And thanks, Chris and Curt, for providing a life-long special memory for him. For 33 years he has blessed our family with his unconditional love and giving heart. When we were all together this summer…and I was immobile with a broken ankle…he proudly took over wheelchair duties for our whole vacation. What a great guy…we love you,Kyle. (Go, Tigers!)

    Aunt Micki and Uncle Ken

  12. Jamie (kyles brother) says:

    What an awesome article Chris!!!! Every time I go into Kyle’s room I look at that picture and think what an awesome picture that is. I will definitely agree with Chris on how strong my brother is, not only physically strong but emotionally!!! Kyle still talks about this day and how much this day and how much he enjoyed hanging out with you guys!!! Thanks Chris

  13. Jamie (Kyles brother) says:

    What an awesome article Chris!!!! Every time I go into Kyle’s room I look at that picture and think what an awesome picture that is. I will definitely agree with Chris on how strong my brother is, not only physically strong but emotionally!!! Kyle still talks about this day and how much this day and how much he enjoyed hanging out with you guys!!! Thanks Chris!

  14. Cousin Paula says:

    What a wonderful article and experience for you. Love and caring goes a long way.

  15. Dick and Peg says:

    What a wonderful article, Chris! It was a powerful reminder of how God continues to bless so many through Kyle! We were encouraged and filled with love and respect once again for both Kyle and Curt! Your family continues to make us grateful to count you treasured friends!

  16. Cheryll & Jim Leonard says:

    What a wonderful, caring story and we are SO glad that Kyle and the rest of his family got to experience this time with you, Chris. As someone who has watched Kyle grow up and become a wonderful adult, I know how much it meant to him, and as someone who also has a family member with Down Syndrome (a grandson) I know how meaningful these “normal” moments are to these special children and adults. Thank you, Chris, for sharing your skills with him and your story with us!

  17. Vicky B. says:

    What an awesome story! And such an incredible example of how blessed we are when we share our talents with others. Thanks for telling the story Chris; I’m inspired.

  18. thank you everyone for responding to my article, i never knew so many people read this and responded to it until i was sharing this monument with a friend of mine at work. thank you everyone for your thoughts and kind words. kyle, i’ll see you in may buddy, burgers, beans, and root beer, and yankee baseball, lol. thank you everyone, and thank you curt.

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