Sunday, March 13, 2005

Not My Tracks

No broken bones. That's good news! Also, for the third or fourth time straight, no falls.

I ski about once every two years. I'm not a candidate for the Olympic Team, although I should get some medal for not falling. Falling is a bad thing skiing. Falling is an indication that one is not in control. Controlled skiiers simply shush down the slopes without a care in the world. Bad skiiers spend most of their day picking up their hats, gloves, scarfs, poles and skis while the rest of the skiiing population renders judgement: Loser.

I did come close to falling this year and the near-earth experience taught me a lesson: follow your own tracks.

I was heading down the slopes following another skier and I decided to follow his tracks. He went left, I went left. He went right, I went right. And so on down the slope. Well, a few minutes into this exercise I found myself out of control. I didn't want to go left! The snow didn't feel right and my guidance told me to go straight a little more. Soon I found myself totally out of balance trying to go left when I should have gone right. I was microseconds from becoming a Loser!

Fortunately, I quit the game, got my groove back, and sailed to the bottom of the park in victory. No drips, no spills.

As I rode the lift back to the top of the mountain I reflected on the folly of trying to follow another person's tracks. It may look like a good idea or a cool thing to do, but in the end it will put you off balance.

You have to make your own tracks.

And that's the lesson from Leadville, Colorado in 2005.

1 comment:

Andrew Purvis said...

I have tried skiing. Once. I tried ice skating, too. Once.

Ice skating was easier. But I came down the beginner slope on my skis, unable to make the gentle right turn, and found myself headed for a bar (little more than a shack with a door protecting the patrons from beginners like me) with four staggered picnic tables out front.

Unable to stop myself, and fearing how much it would hurt to hit a table, I dumped myself onto my left side. I was too late, of course, and as I went over, I got airborne. The result was a dramatic skid to a stop at the edge of one table. I got applause from the three guys sitting outside drinking.

Then I did the worst thing possible: I admitted that it was all done in panic.

What is the lesson here? No matter how badly you screw up, if it looks good, it was supposed to be that way!