Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Skis to Snowboard = Soreness

Jason writing here.

I take pride in what is generally my ability to pick things up or catch onto things quickly. Especially things that are physical in nature. You know, things like sports.

So last night I ventured to Cataloochee ski area with a friend to try my hand at snowboarding. I've skied for years and have progressed to the point where I don't usually fall unless I'm pushing the limits. Maybe one or two light falls per skiing session would be average. In other words I'd forgotten what it was like to learn to ski, which for most people means spending more time eating snow than actually skiing. I'd forgotten what it was like to cover more ground falling that actually skiing down the slope. I see these people every time I go skiing but had lost all empathy for them because, "it's not that hard of a concept, right?"

In my arrogance, over-confidence and faded memory, I strapped the snowboard on, scoffed at the bunny hill, and headed straight for the lift that delivered me to the top of the mountain. I thought, "Snowboarding can't be that difficult - especially for a skier of my ability (arrogance). There's no reason to piddle around on the bunny hill...I'll just go to the top (over-confidence)."
My memory was restored quickly.

Cataloochee's longest slope from the top to the bottom, according to their website, is 1.4 miles. I figure I face-planted and back-flopped down about 1.39 of those miles on that first run. I felt pummeled and beat to a pulp by the time I made it to the bottom.
Humbled, but unwilling to give up so easily, I resorted to the beginners slope for 5-6 more tries. I think I was upright on the snowboard for probably a total of 200 yards all night.

The most embarrassing part event of the night, believe it or not, came not while I was snowboarding, but after I had abandoned the board and put my trusty skis on.
My friend and I were riding the lift that went to the 3/4 drop off point, which I mistakenly thought went to the top of the mountain. We were having nice conversation when in the middle of one of my sentences he just got off the lift?! You would have thought I would have noticed the lift didn't continue any further, but nope, not on this night. This is what happened in the following 2 seconds:

1. I thought, "Why did he get off here? Oh well, I'll just ride to the top and then catch up to him.
2. "Oh shoot, this lift doesn't go to the top..."
3. So I jumped off the lift that was already beginning to make the turn back toward the bottom of the mountain. I fell about 3 feet and found myself tangled in one of those bright orange safety fences they have at ski resorts.

The lift had to be stopped. My friend laughed in confusion. And the ski patrol guy had to help me get untangled from the fence and back on my feet. Yes, I was that guy that made the lift stop on this occasion.

So my status tonight, 24 hours later:

My birdie finger on my left hand is swollen and sore, my neck and back are painfully tight, my inner thighs are screaming, I've battled a headache off and on all day and my pride, confidence and belief in myself to be quick to learn are all shot.

Snowboarding's dumb...but that's not really the point.

My point is that in most hard circumstances there is a good lesson to take. This is no different. Whether it shows itself through compassion toward the foreigner who can't speak English or through understanding when someone doesn't know what you know or through patience for people...I want to have compassion, understanding and patience for the learning curve of others.

It was good for me to try something new last night and fail miserably. Because we humans, as we get older and more hungry for comfort, tend toward only doing and embracing those things we know are safe and those things at which we know we will succeed. Last night wasn't safe and I certainly didn't succeed...but I was reminded again of my own learning curve and challenged to not shy away from, but seek out opportunities to be stretched and to learn.

Sometime over this Christmas holiday try something you have never done or have been scared of or think you will fail at...it may not be fun, but it is good for your perspective...

"Let the wise add to their learning." Proverbs 1:5

1 comment:

Amanda said...

Jason, Jason, Jason....I would've expected nothing less from you lol! But your words at the end ring true! We are not called to be comfortable!