What are you doing all this for? Why are you here? What is your end goal?
The downhill edge of my ski caught the snow and I was whipped hard down the hill. Again. Ugh. Why am I doing this? What’s the point of falling over and over again trying to get precision into my ski turns?
The clinic had been preceded by a couple days of the mountain completely kicking my butt. That’s probably being generous. Both my hips had large softball size bruises on them from hitting the ground hard(my arms and my back had their fair share too) and I was entering three long, hard, exciting days that would be spent on the hill learning as much as was possible and working towards accomplishing a few of my smaller goals. This was complicated not only by frustration from a few days of butt kicking, but also a progressing injury the conflicted with the desire to work hard, drill and excel. However, as life would have it, despite those complications, these three clinic days brought a lot of unexpected progression, excitement and opportunity.
I spent those clinic days continuing to get my butt kicked trying to fill in some major gaps in my monoski technique. I can push myself around, I can rotate on flat ground (why I have issues on the slope is beyond me), I have no problem sitting forward grabbing an edge and picking the fastest route down the fall line; Beautiful smooth turns. The issue rears its ugly head when I try to get sloppy skiddy turns, that scrub speed and ultimately need to be integrated with the skills I already have to establish myself as an elite skier. I have a lot of work to do; And a lot more downhill falls in the future not to mention the knowledge it is going to take far more than 5 days to fill in the gap.
Why am I here? Why am I fighting to master techniques that just have me frustrated? World domination would seem to be an appropriate answer. Ok well not world domination, but ski world domination would be nice. It took a few people to remind me that I am more than capable and, that I am not alone in trying to reach this level.
Lucky for me, I’ve had someone by my side in the monoski world since day one. Little did I know on that “never-ever” monoski day as I was being pushed up the hill in a bucket we would be entering this journey together not just as student/instructor for that first day, but as athlete/coach, friend and mentor from that day forward. Had he not paid attention to the able bodied athlete I was before my disability, had our personalities not gotten along, had skiing on the mountain not been a blast for the whole season, I can confidently say without a doubt we wouldn’t be at the junction we are today. Back to the present… just about a year later…mid way through the clinic I started to breakdown (ok in all honesty I was probably starting to enter that danger zone after my weekend of being beaten by the mountain). I was injured, frustrated and had my sights set too far forward on where I wanted to be instead of focusing on where I was in the present, the
“now” and what I needed to do to achieve my goals. No other instructor on the hill seemed to be able to pull me out of my funk, although they all tried valiantly. My coach skied down to me and simply held my ski steady on the hill and said, “what do you need?” We talked, worked through it, and moved forward. The rest of the day was infinitely more productive, as were the days following. Its an athlete/coach personality mix that I really lucked out to be in from day one. He knows when to push me in my skiing and when its time to hold back (injuries) even when I do not want to. It’s a long term journey to get to my end goal and I couldn’t have hand picked a better person to be a coach, friend and mentor the whole way. I can’t wait to see where we get to ski in the coming years (hopefully approaching ski world domination together).
It’s all about the small, attainable short- term goals that lead to the end goal. It’s all about the journey, the people I meet along the way. Developing the life skills of determination, integrity, and tenacity that are so key to who I am today. And yes it’s about the bruises too. Without those, there would never be breakthrough days. I am here to defy the idea that I am my injury. I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.
At the end of those 5 days, I had met some amazing people, all with their own struggles and triumphs, and each with an incredible story. New friends were made, new skills learned, new drills established, some of my small goals accomplished, others started but most of all I realized why the heck I am doing all this.
Every bruise, every downhill fall, the days where the hill beats me (hard), and the breakthrough days, all the tears and the laughs suddenly became more meaningful. Without all of those things happening I would never be on the track that I am now. This tiny little foot in the door, that opens up to a world of possibilities. My end goal?…. Well you are all just going to have to watch my journey and see if I get there. It’s a big one… but it’s why I am doing all this.
So… What are you doing all this for? Why are you here? What is your end goal?
*A special thanks to the High Fives Foundation, Vermont Adaptive, Norm Staunton and CDY for making this opportunity a reality for all of us who are trying to give all we have to reach our end goals. Without each of you, none of this would be a possibility!