Saturday, January 1, 2011

Our Whistler Vacation

My apologies for my lack of posts during this Christmas season. We've been on a little vacay in Whistler and I was trying to stay off of the computer as much as possible. I thought I'd ease my way back into blogging by posting some pictures from our fun ski first one by the way.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Failure: How Do YOU Define it?

A man may fall many times, but he won't be a failure until he says that someone pushed him.

So I went skiing yesterday for the first time since, oh let's see, ever. Let's just say that I'm not a natural born skier. Being raised my entire life in Arizona, snow and I have never been able to really get to know each other on any sort of level. I've seen him on TV and read about him from time to time, but only met him face-to-face less than 10 times. During my other meetings I've only thrown him, walked on him, slid down him and once tried to board on him.

FLASHBACK: It was January of the year 2000 and I was on some big ol' mountain outside of Seattle. My buddies were really into snowboarding and wanted to hit the slopes. Being that I didn't want to be left behind and I'm decently athletic, I joined them. We started on the bunny hills as I tried to successfully slide for 20 feet without falling down. Not sure if I ever accomplished my goal, but I do know that I got very bored of the bunny slope and decided to do whatever slope they were on. As we got off the lift and I stared down the mountain, I knew in the back of my mind that I would be in trouble. Nevertheless, I went for it and tried to cut back and forth as much as I could. After going about 100 yards and falling who knows how many times, while watching it seemed like 100 6 year olds whiz by me, I got admittedly frustrated and decided I was done cutting back and forth. I (stupidly) decided to go full speed ahead and get to the bottom of the mountain as quick as possible. Not good. I was humming along with a clear path ahead of me when all of the sudden, a group of those 6 year olds decided to have a pow wow right in path down the hill. I didn't know how to properly stop and I didn't want to be responsible for taking out a group of kids, so I bailed. As I was going end over end down the slope all I could think about was taking them out despite my best efforts. Fortunately I came to a halt about 10 yards before I hit them. I was laying there, dazed and confused when I man in a bright orange jacket came skiing up to me, " Dude, are you ok?" he asked. "Uhh, I think so" I replied. "Cool, that was awesome!!!" he seemed to shout with excitement. I happened to think it was the opposite of awesome. I clicked off my board and walked up the hill approximately 40 yards to grab my beanie which had been flung off my head. It was easy to find since I was able to not only track the big divots of snow, but also the blood that had come from my nose. After I grabbed my beanie, down the mountain I walked, feeling like a pretty big failure. On the bright side, I was able to watch the entire Rose Bowl while sipping on some coffee in the lodge.

Ok, so back to my experience yesterday. Being told that skiing is easier than snow boarding, we decided that I could just learn on the fly. We got off the lift and picked the easiest way down. My first attempt to go down the mountain resulted in me stopping 5 yards short of a tree, in powder 4 feet deep and Mandi having to fish my right ski out of the snow. Then after many more failed attempts, a ski patrol came over to us and "suggested" we go to the training slope first while eluding to the fact that I could be a danger to the rest of the people on the mountain. By this point I was already pretty exhausted (man the air is thin up here), so I clicked off the skis and waited for Eric (father-in-law) to meet up with us so he could give me some lessons. My issue was three fold: I couldn't stop, when I tried to stop I veered off to the right and I felt out of control the entire time.

After a quick break, we went to the training hill and after many rides up the "magic carpet", I really got the hang of stopping, turning, cutting and all of that other stuff. We then took a lift to a higher portion of the training hill and I was able to make my way down the entire slope without any falls and feeling mostly in control the entire time. I was pretty confident I could take another crack at going down the easiest hill again. Wrong. I did alright the first 200 yards or so. But as it seemed to get steeper and steeper, I felt less and less in control. I started falling almost every 20 yards and then it got to the point where my legs felt like jelly. Not only that, but I felt so wiped, that I feared I had lost the ability to protect myself. After a fall on my right side that knocked the air out of me, I was done. I clicked my skis off a started my way down the hill. I had nothing left. Frustrated. Discouraged. Sore. Out of breath. Embarrassed. Pissed. Tired. And I'm sure a dozen of other feelings overtook my body. I had great support in my wife and in-laws, but nothing they could say would make it better. I failed.

But, as always, there's a lesson in this. I'm sitting here, doing my treatments and LOOKING FORWARD to getting back on those slopes. I told them yesterday that I was no where near done, just done for that day. My only goal today is to be the best darn skier the world has ever known...on the training slope. I seriously want to master that sucker. I don't care if I do nothing else this entire trip. If all of those little 6 year olds can do it, then certainly, so can I! Failure doesn't happen when you set out to meet a goal and come short, failure happens when you give up. And like the quote says that started this blog out, it really happens when we start to blame everybody else but the person in the mirror. I know I can do it. It's just a matter of putting those skis back on and going for it. Wish me luck.