When my car broke down last month, I remember being glad my problem was with my car instead of dealing with an injury. I guess I’ve learned not to give the universe any ideas…
It was like a dream. 24 inches of fresh snow and I had just moved to a place 5 minutes from the resort. It was day one of the best 5 weeks of winter break I could ask for. I got up, spent a long tine digging my car out from under 2 feet of God’s gift from heaven, and set out to shred the freshies. Conditions were amazing. There’s no other way to describe gliding through fluffy, cold smoke pow, other than pure Nirvana. Just when I thought it couldn’t get better, the sun came out, and they opened up a run everyone had been eyeing all day. It was a steep field of untouched powder. It’s the thing all snowboarders and skiers dream about. There were little bumps and lips around, making for fun kickers that sent you into a soft, fluffy landing. However, powder is not entirely consequence free.
I just remember going really fast, slashing rooster tails at every turn, and searching for jumps to launch off. My last thought until my day took a turn for the worst was “Damn, this is probably the best run I’ve ever had!” Then suddenly, towards the end of the run, one of those bumps caught me by complete surprise, and I flew superman style with my arms out in front and flipped head over heels a couple times (AKA the tomahawk). I assumed I was OK, but then I realized I could not move my left arm. Surely this can’t be happening. On day one of winter break?
All throughout the day I kept seeing ski patrol being dispatched, and I’d see all those poor people being pulled down in a sled. Every time I’d think “Oh man, I’m sure glad that’s not me”. That day was my lucky day, and I got to go for a little sleigh ride down to the gondola and into the clinic where they put my shoulder back in its place. Without the sling on it felt like it was going to come out again just hanging there. There was no way I was going to go out riding the next day. There went my winter break.
I was only able to get to the doctor a week later since I couldn’t drive, and when I finally went, all he said was that I was out for the season and I had to wear this crazy immobilizer thing for 6 weeks. For 6 weeks, he said I would not move my arm at all. It was like a cast. Only after the 6 weeks could he start rehab and building up the weak arm that had not been moved for so long. So by the time I would be deemed “completely healed”, it would be April.
The same day I got that diagnosis, someone decided to hit and run my car, which had been fixed a week ago after last month’s incident. Things were really looking bright.
Some people wonder how I stay positive through my frustrations. The whole reason I moved to Tahoe was to ride every day, and this year, we finally had snow! My thanksgiving break plans were de-railed, and now this?
I got my inspiration from a guy who lived thousands of years ago named Job. He had it all - thousands of sheep, camels, oxen, donkeys, and servants. (Back in those days, if you had a lot of animals, you were the G!) He was the richest man in the entire area. Then one day, he lost everything – all his material possessions were lost or burned. In addition, all his children were killed and he came down with a terrible disease. Compared to him, my week was rainbows and ponies.
And when all this happened, Job worshipped God – the same God he could easily blame for what had happened to him. I heard this story at church about a month ago, back when my life was fine-and-dandy. I wondered why I remembered that message.
I’m not perfect. I definitely threw a few pitty parties when I was house bound on a bluebird powder day, unable to drive anywhere – even to the store to get food or to the doctor to start doing something about my injury. The thoughts in my head were definitely not positive when I dug my car out from another 2 feet of frozen-ice-snow with one hand. I’ve learned that it’s ok to feel things. For some reason, the only emotion I never really felt was anger. I just kind of accepted it, because if there’s nothing you can do about a situation, then I can at least see how I can view it from another perspective. I have a house to live in, great food, and a healthy rest-of-my-body. I’m glad my car was hit-and-run instead of hit-with-me-driving-it. In the scheme of it, everything on earth is temporary. I’m one person an a little dot flying through the vast endlessness of space. Life is pretty good so far. In this past month, I've realized that when life sucks, it makes me think about how it could be worse, and I'm actually more grateful for the little things than when life is going well.
The doctor doesn’t know me, my passion for snowboarding, or my God. I am not taking “out for the season” as an option. As an extreme sport athlete, you just have to push through and know that these things will happen. There’s a fine line between being downright stupid and persevering through injuries. If I don’t make smart decisions, my shoulder will keep falling out for the rest of my life. But then again snowboarding is my love and my life, and to go an entire year without it would be more painful than this injury.
I don’t think I’ve ever been so determined to prove someone wrong, and so sure that I will do so.