“Surprise!” I yell as I pop out of the bathroom.
My boyfriend looks up from the bed, laughs, and shakes his head. “Really?”
I am standing in our Tahoe hotel room at 8 a.m. on the 4th of July wearing a tight blue dress with a flag-striped bodice, a red cape tied around my neck, a silver eye mask, and, of course, my trusty red, white, and blue shield strapped firmly on my arm.
That’s right. I’m celebrating my country’s freedom the best way I know how: by dressing up like Captain America.
And, believe me, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I’m in a “sexy” costume, my boyfriend is naked in bed and clearly I'm finally going to write something juicy, something that has nothing to do with sports. You're thinking *obviously* there’s no place this story could be going other than…
“Are you going snowboarding in that?”
I grin. “Do you really need to ask?”
It’s not often you get to SNOWBOARD IN JULY (!!!) in Lake Tahoe. In fact, Alpine Meadows (my home mountain) was open on the 4th for just the second time in its 50-year history.
Lucky for me, and other die-hard skiiers and riders, the record snowfall in Tahoe this year meant celebrating Independence Day by participating in our own mini “triathlons.” On Saturday alone, I got to snowboard, go on a bike ride along the Truckee River, drink piña coladas in my bikini by the pool, and, of course, participate in a friendly joust. I even managed to get sunburned. Success!
Dressing up like Captain America while snowboarding is not without risk: Strangulation by cape (getting off the chairlift); indecent exposure (bending over to strap on my snowboard); ice burn (do not fall); and, worst of all, mass confusion.
“CAPTAIN AMERICA’S WIFE!”
It is fact that if you show up somewhere in a costume when it’s not really a costume situation, people will tell you who you are. It is also fact that people do not like to be corrected, so if someone calls you Wonder Woman even though you’re clearly not wearing a bustier or a tiara, the polite thing to do is give them a big smile and raise your shield victoriously.
Oh, and if someone says “Nice costume!” you might not want to reply with, “I think you mean UNIFORM,” because then you’re just a weirdo who’s taking this whole super hero thing a little too seriously. Just, um, trust me on that one.
The sun is shining. Lake Tahoe is glistening in the background. I’m carving my snowboarding next to people in bikinis, American flag shorts, sequined tutus, and Uncle Sam hats.
People smile at me. Nod in approval. Holler from the chairlifts. Ask to take their picture with me. Demand I throw my shield. (Seriously.)
And then there’s my favorite, the group of older men on skis who stop me, just to say, “We love your costume. You really brightened our day.”
When I told my oldest brother, Todd, about my Captain America costume plans, he was very enthusiastic.
“You’ll find that wearing a cape is awesome,” he said.
“I’ve never worn one before,” I admitted.
“Well, you’re in for a treat,” he promised. And then, after a bit of thought, added, “I wish I could wear mine every day.”
And I have to say, riding down the mountain on the 4th of July, snow spraying in the air, my cape flying behind me in the wind, I finally understand exactly what he means.