Will Rhoads just won trick-or-treating. Or, maybe Seth did. Jury’s out.
All I know is that it’s the first year Seth hasn’t gone door-to-door collecting candy—he was benched due to illness—and he wound up receiving a signed World Cup competition bib from the current Large Hills national champion in Nordic Ski Jumping.
Will walked in. And Seth lost. his. mind. “Will Rhoads, you’re in my house?”
Because Nordic Ski Jumping such a small sports community, Seth was sitting with his teammates, on the steps by the start at the top of the 120m jump, soaking in the atmosphere, on the day Will won the national title, this summer. That same week, Seth was in the group Will mentored and coached for a day during the Springer Tournee, a huge summer jumping tournament hosted by Park City Nordic Ski Club.
Since then, Wil has kept up with Seth’s progress, as documented on Lance’s YouTube channel and my InstaFaceTweet habit, often dropping encouraging comments on the posts. It meant the world to Seth (and his parents) that a big-dog in the sport was taking the time to notice his jumps.
He won Seth’s admiration, though, the first time they met—Seth had been in the sport for about 12 weeks. Will was a national team athlete. And both of them saw in each other a familiar spark.
Tonight’s visit was Will’s way of keeping the spark for the sport alive in Seth, doing something he said would have excited him when he was Seth’s age—showing up to reward enthusiasm with, well, more enthusiasm.
“I saw the video of you jumping the 20m,” he told Seth. “It looked great.”
Seth told him he already has his eye on the 40. (Gulp.) Will said he was 10 when he tried the 40 for the first time.
After Will left, Seth donned the bib and was thrilled to show it off to every trick-or-treater who visited—and especially to a couple of teammates who came by our house.
The sweetness wasn’t coming from candy, tonight.
“Mom, I want you to text all my coaches and let them know what a cool thing Will did for me,” he said. “They’ll be really proud.” Yes, I thought, of both of you.