Posts Tagged ‘kyle rose’

Chris Mcwatters: An Unforgettable Memory

Monday, August 12th, 2013

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