To the TL;DR people: Much snowboarding. Wow 5 years. Many feels.
for the people who have an extra 5 minutes to kill over Thanksgiving break:
To say I’ve been practicing “my sport” for exactly 5 years today is a huge understatement. It’s almost as much of an understatement as: yeah, I saw the Grand Canyon, it was kinda sorta big. It’s interesting to think about how one day can change someone’s life so much. Before, I never really saw myself as a passionate, dedicated individual. I never saw myself as courageous, or persevering. I used to be self conscious and afraid of failure (See what I have to say about failure here).
I didn’t just discover my passion on November 25, 2010. It was the day that decided where I went to college, what kind of place I would live in, how I would spend my time, what major I would choose, what jobs I could never do, the people I would meet, and the dreams I would pursue. Don’t even get me started on the things I had to give up that day. I gave up every single weekend during my Junior and senior year. I gave up every afternoon during the week to work for money to go snowboarding. I gave up my comfort zone. I’ve given up the option of physically getting out of shape. I gave up every winter break and spring break vacation (but I’m not saying I didn’t have tons of fun anyway). I DID NOT give up my education. In fact, I gave up the option of failing in school, since I had my heart set on my dream college in Tahoe. (Darn, I guess you did get me started). I don’t know if I knew what I was getting myself into that day, but all I knew was that I HAD to snowboard again. I was no prodigy on my first day. Like many who have tried, it was a difficult day of falling on my behind and acquiring many, many bruises. It took me three days just to learn how to turn, but I stuck with it because something in me knew I had to do this more.
No one is immune to the gaper phase (Yes, that’s me in 2012)
After a year of being a gaper, and a couple years just having fun with family and friends on the mountain, I met a friend who convinced me to start competing in the 2013-14 season. I thought competition would take the fun out of it. I thought I wouldn’t measure up because I only started snowboarding at 13, and had never joined a team before. I thought I wouldn’t have the money. However, we found a way, and I participated in my first competitions. Contrary to my belief, it did not take the fun out of it and I enjoyed it a lot!
And it was during that season that I watched the 2014 Olympics and saw Jenny Jones, from team Great Britain, win the bronze medal in slopestyle. What was inspiring about this story was that she had only started snowboarding at 17 and had worked hard to support herself to pursue her passion. Like me, she had chosen this sport herself later in life. She was the oldest in the competition but still pulled through. At that moment, I knew that I too could achieve what I put my mind to (sorry for the corniness, just getting the truth out there).
I joke around and say that I caused the Tahoe drought when I started snowboarding. Despite the said “crappiness” of the past 4 years (“crappiness" in quotes because I have nothing to compare it with), I have learned to make the best out of any situation. I have honestly had A BLAST! In addition, snowboarding has made me a gratitudinal person (Gratitudinal is a word I just invented. It means full of gratitude). In the spirit of thanksgiving, I’d like to say that I am thankful for snowboarding. I’m thankful that it gave me some direction when choosing a college. I’m thankful I’ve been able to overcome some of my fears. I’m thankful for my health and safety doing one of the most dangerous sports out there. I’m thankful for my family’s support. They also had to give up every weekend and break and come up to Tahoe. Skiing was always a family event and always will be for me. I’m thankful they were willing to go down the double black diamond runs and through the terrain park with me. I’m thankful they didn’t freak out when I said I’d rather go to a snow college than Stanford. I’m thankful they let me study ski business instead of insisting on something “more sensible”.
So here’s to 5 years. It is only the beginning. This season might be my first normal snowfall season so it would be awesome to see what it is like. Snow or no snow, I know it will be a blast. My goal for the season is to rack up at least 120 days. Some people call me crazy, but to me, not following my passion is the craziest thing I can do.