Ski Team at Sixteen
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Does anybody remember the 2010 Vancouver Olympics when Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso skied to gold and silver medals in the downhill? This was when I discovered ski racing for the first time. Like many nine year olds captivated by this same event, I was determined to become a ski racer myself, but it wasn’t until I was a sophomore in high school that I committed to trying a brand new sport. Racing for the first time was intimidating, difficult, and all around the best decision I have ever made. It is uncomfortable to be the worst racer on the hill. Sometimes I would be feeling great one minute, and the next tumbling down the hill with only one ski and no idea what sort of rookie mistake I had just made. Despite my initial disappointment after these incidents (and a handful of pretty bruises), I learned to laugh with every crash, and smile with every extremely slow time I put in because I did indeed finish the course. I had to learn to see these tiny improvements as victories, because in essence, they were. I was part of an incredible team that truly cared about everyone. Each team member always had someone to cheer for them, bring them a jacket at the bottom of the course, or ride the chairlift up with.
This experience has taught me more than anything else, not to write my dreams off because they don’t seem realistic. I am old to try a brand new competitive sport considering many girls my age have been racing since they were seven years old. I had absolutely no experience racing, and I knew almost nobody on the team before joining. But I went for it anyway, and I am eternally grateful I took that big step outside my comfort zone. Whether or not ski racing is your dream that you take on (which you totally should because it’s awesome), I encourage you to go for it. My own experience brought me more smiles, laughter, and memories than possible to ever count. I am certain I will give it another go next year, and hopefully crash a little less. And I hope my own experience will encourage you too to try something completely new, where you will certainly be the least experienced, and where you will probably have a few total failures which is okay because they are the price of improvement, learning, and new experiences.