Parents are used to making sacrifices for their children. Chris Bales, however, has taken that sacrifice to a whole new level.
When his boys, Jordan, 13, and Colby, 11, were younger, Bales enrolled them in a junior wrestling program in Ankeny. The young boys took an instant liking to the sport, and the scheduled practices were just not enough.
Walking into his garage one day, Bales saw a large, empty space, large enough for a wrestling mat and some strong bags.
He and his wife backed the cars out one last time, cleared the rest of the typical garage-fare out and laid in a full-size wrestling mat for the boys to practice on.
“They use it after practice to work on some moves,” says Bales. “If they don’t have practice, whether it’s during wrestling season or before the season starts, they’re in here every day.”
Both boys, who are in fifth and sixth grade in the Ankeny school district, hope to wrestle through high school and into college, though they may find themselves as rivals. Jordan has his sights set on the Iowa Hawkeyes, and Colby hopes to head a few miles north to Iowa State.
“ ‘You’d better keep up your grades and work hard,’ I told Jordan,” says Bales. “ ‘I will,’ he promised.”
Bales’ vehicles spent a few years outside, once the mats went in.
“I finally built a 40-foot by 60-foot Morton building,” says Bales, who lives on five acres east of town. “Now we use that for a haunted barn every October.”
The haunted barn has become a Des Moines north side favorite.
Bales is a man who looks creatively at the open spaces of his garage and barn and is willing to put the good of his children ahead of the needs of his cars.Contact Darren at 953-4822 ext. 304 or firstname.lastname@example.org to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of “What’s In Your Garage?”