The first time I had to accept the fact I was growing–oh, no!– older was when I realized I’d never represent my country in the Olympics. Not that I have any athletic skills that would have even allowed me to participate in a competition even at the lowest level, but the realization it would never happen hit hard. Well, not really. It was one of those moments that reminded me I was no longer eighteen. In honor of the upcoming Winter Olympics, I thought I’d discuss my brief career as a skier.
In high school, I went on a ski trip to Estes Park. We stayed in a cheap ski resort which didn’t have chair lifts. Instead, the lift was like a small garbage-can lid that one put between one’s legs and this–for many of the skier–towed one up to the top of the trail. Not for me. This was not friendly to a novice skier who’d had two hours of lessons, then was expected to, more or less, ski uphill. Every time–every single time–I lost control of the skis, unable to keep them straight in the ruts worn in the snow And every single time, I fell off the garbage-can lid half way up the hill with only one choice: to walk sideways in those skis I couldn’t control, across the snow and through the trees until I reached the trail. I’d ski down the trail and start the trek all over.
As frustrating as this was, my best friend had an even worse time. She stood at the lift station, put the garbage-can lid between her leg. When the lift pulled her, her skis flew into the air and she fell off on her head after about six inches. I can’t remember now if she ever got to the top of the hill.
Next week: how my bad ankles doomed my figure skating career.