Wednesday, June 16, 2010
For some reason I have always really connected with Tom Petty's songs. He seems to sing about things that everybody relates to. You could tell that when the crowd almost drowned him out in their rendition of "Free Fallin'". I mean seriously, who doesn't know the lyrics to that song?
However at the stage I am in my life at the moment, a few simple lyrics really stuck out in my mind last night. Here are just a couple:
"So I've started out, for God knows where
I guess I'll know when I get there"
-Learning To Fly
Yeah runnin down a dream
That never would come to me
Workin on a mystery, goin wherever it leads
But my all time favorite lyric is this one:
-It's Time To Move On
Monday, June 7, 2010
They were only four words, but as they spilled out of my mouth, tears spilled out of my eyes. I was thankful this conversation was on the phone and the head coach of Alpine Canada couldn't see my heart breaking.
I have had an extreme love-hate relationship with the sport of alpine skiing since I was a kid when my parents dragged me away from my bed and my friends in the city of Calgary to the snow capped rocky mountains. I had tried to quit twice before and never succeeded. The first time was when I was 12 and I felt the sacrifice of a normal childhood social life was too much for me to relinquish. My parents finally convinced me to join the club for just one day a week. They told my coach if I didn't have fun that year, my ski career was finished. Five years later I had found a renewed passion for the sport and just qualified for the Canadian National Team after moving quickly up the ranks through the provincial squad. After two camps with the team I decided at 16 I had once again had enough. I couldn't deal with the stresses of high school combined with the stresses of ski racing. I shocked many the day I decided to stop to finish school. At that point I really believed I wouldn't go back. Seven months later, when I knew I was going to graduate and realizing that going to school 5 days a week isn't as glamorous as I had imagined, the provincial coach called me and asked if I would like to accompany them to National Championships... just for one last stab. I agreed and headed off to Quebec for a week or two where I realized I did have more to give to the sport. I was graciously offered a place back on the Provincial team for the following season. They even let me get the final cobwebs out of my system by providing me the time to backpack around Europe for six weeks with two of my school friends. It was just what I needed to allow me to dive head first back into ski racing. After the year on the provincial team I was bumped up to the National team. This time ready and raring to go. After a quick 2 week camp with the Development team I was transferred up to the senior team and put straight into the World Cup Circuit. I was determined and dedicated to do whatever it took to get me to the top.
To make a long story short I spent an amazing 5 years on the National Ski Team. Representing my country in one World Championship and two Olympic games as well as capturing 6 National titles. As with too many alpine skiers, I tore my anterior cruciate ligament and my medial cruciate ligament in my left knee requiring surgery and a seve month recovery. I also broke my hand and cracked my shoulder. I spent the winters in Europe and travelled to South America and New Zealand in the summers searching for skiable snow. I met more close friends and incredible people than I could have hoped for and created more memories and stories than some do in a life time.
Unsure what to think of my results but happy to be there! Super Combined at the Olympics, my best result with a 12 place finish.
Danie Poleschuck, Georgia Simmerling, Shona, Emily Brydon in front of the Olympic Flame at the opening ceremonies in Vancouver
In April 2010 I realized I had nothing left to give. I put everything I had for ski racing into the year leading up to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. Although a lot of people believe the Alpine Team fell short in those games, I choose to believe differently. Anyone that was a part of the games realizes that even without the medals we still infused pride in the people of Canada. The hugs and the well wishes that I got from hundreds of people at the bottom of my races made me question my results. I felt like looking at the times to see if I had, in fact, reached the podium, because that's the way the people in Whistler treated me. It blew me away, and looking back, knowing I had the second best result of my career I can say that I am proud, I can say that I gave it my all, and most of all I can say that I have no regrets.
Flying through the air at the National Championships in Nakiska
But that is not what this blog is about. That is my background, the past, and as with most things in life, when one door closes, another one opens.
I am extremely looking forward to the next chapter... the chapter that this blog is about. Myself and my boyfriend Andrew are breaking out of our comfort zone and driving a 26 year old Volkswagon camper van named KUMU (meaning 'teacher' in Hawaiian) from Canmore, Alberta up to Alaska and then down the coast to the southern tip of Argentina. From there who knows how we will get home, who knows if we will have any money left, but if you read on, you will find out as soon as we do! We will both be posting blogs, so it should say at the bottom who posted what so you dont get too confused!
Oh and by the way, the tears have, for the most part, past for ski racing, and even though it will always have a special place in my heart, and even though im terrified of leaving a life I have known since I was three years old... well, who knows there is always Big Mountain Skiing!