Friday, February 04, 2005

Falling down...

There comes a time in a man's life when he realizes that he must make a decision.

Yesterday was my work ski trip. After much contemplation, I decided that I was going to give snowboarding another try. Why not? Last year was the first time I've ever touched a snowboard and after only one lesson, I was doing pretty good. I even made a couple of runs without falling at all.

That was last year.

This year was not as kind to me. I made a few mistakes. Painful mistakes. First off, I should have started back on the bunny slopes to practice for a while. Nope, not me. My friends wanted to skip "GO" and go directly to "JAIL" as they say in Monopoly. So we grabbed the first lift to the top of the mountain. (DISCLAIMER: camera phones suck.)

I was fired up. The adrenaline was flowing. My heart was racing. Off we went.
I was doing well until I tried to make my first transition from frontside to backside. Luckily, I was going slow enough that this fall didn't hurt (much). Ow. I oriented myself and got back up, shaken, but not stirred. Down the hill I went. Faster. Faster. Oh, shit. BRAKES. Too much brakes, *boom*. Ow.

At this point I'd like to stop and thank the nice smartass lady who came skiing by me and told me that my wipeout scored a "10". At least I think it was a lady. My vision was a little blurry for a moment. I'd also like to send a shout out to my coworkers for taking advantage of my mishaps by laughing. I'm glad I could provide them with mountain side entertainment.
Once again I dug the snow out of my mouth, nose, ears, and wiped off my sunglasses and shook it off. Down the hill I went.

I repeated this fall down, dust off, get up, process a hundred times that day. Each time, a 4 year old kid would fly by me doing tricks with their eyes closed. Discouraging, but I am a competitor. I WILL learn this, dammit.
We broke for lunch where I paid something like $15 for a slice of pizza and a drink. (not really, but close)

After halftime, I was headed back out. "Coach" had given me some words of advice and I was determined to use it. I would do better this time.
We took off down another path and everything was going fine. I was in control, I was winning! Then all of a sudden my friend came over the radio. (we all had walkie talkies)
"Watch out for the ROCKS on the left." WHAT?!?! Who puts ROCKS on a beginner ski slope?

But it was too late.

*BLAM* *cartwheel* *praying to God*



As I came down from orbit, I slammed down on my back and a sharp pain hit me like a bolt of lightning, traveling from my tail bone, through my back, and up into my neck. Ow. This time there were no smartass remarks. No laughing. No getting up and dusting myself off. Ow. I opened my eyes and I could see people on the lift above me looking down in amazement. I even heard a "holy shit". It was at moment that I had the revelation that snowboarding was not for me. It may have been a voice from the almighty, or simply someone on the lift above me. I couldn't tell. After a few minutes I sat up, looked around, and looked at the map to find the fastest way off that mountain.
That was the last time anyone on earth will ever see a snow board attached to my feet.
I turned in my gear and spent the remainder of the evening just enjoying the atmosphere. I had a few drinks with some other coworkers that had hung it up early. Day turned to night and the mountain illuminated.
Others finished and they joined us sitting on the deck just enjoying the company. We laughed, we complained, we bonded. We went home. Another successful ski trip in the books and another life lesson learned; fresh air and good friends are underestimated...