The first one was an accident, really. I was just sitting there on the swing with Son and Daughter when I happened to drop my sandal. I picked it up, sat down again, got some more speed, and then kicked the sandal off my foot so that it landed a few meters from the swings.
And then the other one.
And then I stopped the swing and walked barefoot to get my sandals. Just as I was about to slip one of them back on, I saw a blue plastic sandal in the air. Son had kicked off his new pair of Crocs.
I rushed back to the swings, and this time, I made the swing go higher, and really fast, so that I could make my sandal fly far, so far. One, two, three, I swung back and forth four times, and on the fifth, I kicked off my left sandal.
In my mind, I had the image of the javelin throwers on the Daley Thompson decathlon video game, and how the key was to get the right angle. Somewhere between 40 and 45. Not too high, and not too low.
The swing came down, and started climbing back and up, and I sent my sandal flying. And then the other. The left one flew really, really far, the right one not as far.
“I seem to have a problem with the technique with my right one,” I told Son, who was getting ready to send his sandal flying.
As I went back out to get my sandals, from all the way from the other side of the big rocks, I realized something.
“Is it?” I said in my best radio voice.
“Oh, yes it it is. A NEEEEEW WOOOOOORLD RECOOOOOORD!” I yelled proudly.
As I put my sandals back on, I decided that we needed an official measurement for the world record so I counted my steps back to the swings, and that each step was a half a meter long.
“Thirteen meters,” I told Son and Daughter.
After a few more rounds, I started to give them some pointers. Like a coach.
“Kids, the key is to have good swing speed and then, once you reach the farthest point, extend your ankle before you release your sandal. Now you try it,” I said.
“Ok, Dad,” Son said.
His sandal flew straight up, and when it landed – a few meters from the swings – I ran to it like the people measuring javelin and discus throws in track and field, to see the true landing spot.
“Extend you ankle. Keep it straight,” I said without an irony in my voice.
“Yeah. I’ll try,” said Son. “Load up.”
He was still swinging, but he held his feet straight up so that I could slip the Crocs on easily. We did this a few times. He did break the world junior record but I still decided to make a comeback.
“Now, watch me. Like this. You need … good swing speed…,” I said, slightly out of breath.
“Extend and RELEASE!”
My left sandal, that brown leather sandal I bought in Bologna, Italy two years ago when Wife and I returned to the city where our story began for our tenth anniversary, was up in the air. It was spinning, very far from me now. It flew by the rocks higher than before and it finally landed almost in the middle of the bulls eye painted on the schoolyard.
“A new world record! Again!” I said as I jumped from the swing.
“Woooooooooow,” said Son. “Did you see that?” he asked Daughter.
As I walked to get my sandal, I lifted my beige summer hat to greet the audience and to thank them for their support.
Except that Wife, who was sitting on one of the swings farthest from me, was not impressed. Not even a little bit.
“But nobody else has kicked his sandal as far from the swings as me just now. Eighteen meters! Never!” I said.
“I know, baby,” she said, and smiled a little. “You sure it’s a good thing?”