Skiing for the Thrill of It! Pushing aside the angst to cut some snow
I can remember it like it was yesterday. Ready to face the crisp air with my boots on, I prepared myself even more to embark on a new challenge. The word excitement barely captured the moment. If people only knew what a momentous occasion this was for me!
With no real expectations, my only intent was trying something new -- something I could say that I tried.
Taking those first few steps was an experience in itself. I realized first-hand why others were walking so stiffly, like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz. Unable to bend my knees and feet, ski boots made it impossible for me to walk, especially since I already had enough trouble walking on my own with cerebral palsy.
While walking to the bunny slopes with my instructor holding my hand, I had several minutes to think about what I was doing. Of all the times to have second thoughts! I asked myself, "What in the hell am I doing?"
I panicked! I realized if I had this much trouble walking in these stupid boots, how in the world was I supposed to ski in them? What if while skiing down, I fall and break a limb . . . or several limbs, and end up just another schmuck who went to Colorado to ski and came home in a body cast? To be a "nondisabled" person in a leg cast (an oxymoron) is one thing, but to be a "disabled" person in a cast is another. The surge of knowing stares from strangers would be automatic. That look of "what was she thinking" already echoed in my ears.
Luckily, it was too late to back out. Too late to change my mind! I had already paid for everything; it was done.
This was it! I had to do it! If I chickened out, I would never forgive myself. It's not in my nature to quit or back out of something at the last minute. Truth be told, I'm quite the opposite. At times my pride will almost always beat out any fear I have. Courageous, some will say, but I know it's just stupidity getting in the way.
Listening to my instructor, I internally berated myself and repeated my mantra, "You can do this, l can do this" over and over. After a couple of minutes, my instructor bent down and helped me slip into my skis. And just like that, the majority of my worries were washed away.
Instead of feeling panic, I was flooded with total excitement. This was a chance of a lifetime. To ski for the first time; something I've always wanted to do. Don't get me wrong, I still had some reservations. But my desire/drive outweighed my fear and the "what if's".
"No guts, No glory!" they say.
You've heard reporters asking countless athletes, "How does it feel? Why do you do it? Isn't it dangerous?"
And without a doubt, most respond while barely able to catch their breath with a huge grin on their face and say, "It feels great, it's such an adrenaline rush; that's the fun part about it."
And guess what? They're right! It is all about the adrenaline rush, baby! It's such an amazing feeling. It's hard to fully describe unless you experience it, but it's a combination of excitement, loss of control, exhilaration, and a sense of freedom all wrapped up in one. There's also an element of danger, which is indeed the fun part.
Skiing down that mountain was incredible; a kind of sensation and freedom that I have never experienced before. Something I never thought I would be able to do. "So, this is how it feels," I thought, finally understanding why some people are so addicted to the adrenaline rush!
These days, I'm in love with the speed -- a little speed demon, you could say. It's so addictive but I love it. I still feel the excitement, exhilaration, and freedom like I did the first time.
While I become a better skier each year, still manage to crash and burn, eating snow when I think I'm going a little too fast, even for myself, or have my butt sticking out a little too far. I can even now walk in ski boots -- a walking Tin Man like the rest.
I encourage anyone who has the tiniest interest in skiing to try it, no matter what the disability is. It does not matter if you're just another adrenaline junkie trying to find a new fix or someone who is a little hesitant in trying new things. If you have the will and desire, and are open to new opportunities, this is it!
Success is all relative and only really measured on an individual basis. The end result is not of the greatest importance, but what is, is the fact that you tried. You never know, it may just be another stepping stone to new and bigger adventures!