Learning the Steps of Life

A funny thing happened after I wrote “Skiing isn’t Everything.” People started watching me at the finish of my races, saying that I was no longer permitted to react negatively after what I had stated in my article. I can see how I backed myself into that corner, but let me try and dig myself out of this hole a little bit, and maybe give some leniency to those whom I have seemingly stereotyped as the athletes who have the “wrong” reactions.

There are no two ways around it. If you suck in a race, you are automatically going to be disappointed. Some people have different coping mechanisms, but there it is. I think I unintentionally set a standard, with Chris Acosta as my role model, by stating the classic, (if not so classy), ways a skier conducts him or herself after a race, and comparing them to him.

I am in no way trying to rescind what I have already said. Chris is a great person and we can all learn from his example. But I imagine I would be wrong t0 imply that he has never been disappointed. I do not mean to suggest that he is a master of resisting disappointment, but rather quite adept at acknowledging those feelings, and moving on from them.

I talk like I have had some serious in depth conversations with Chris about this, but honestly, it is just the things that I observe on the outside. Mostly, they are the things that I wish to see in myself. Like I have said, it is important to practice what you preach, but it is exactly that. A practice.

I had a race the other day, and when I came through the finish, man was I psyched. It wasn’t the cleanest run ever, certainly not! But it was definitely exciting, and I had somehow managed to make it to the finish line. I was smiling and laughing, but you know what stopped me? The next racer coming down and beating me. In other words, I let the results decide my mood. I let my place decide whether I was having fun or not.

I was disappointed, and honestly, it’s okay to be disappointed. It’s natural. But it is important to know how to move on from that disappointment. Lets be honest, no one likes a self pity party, they don’t really care how you did, and walking around for the rest of the day mulling over mistakes already in the past is going to hurt you a hell of a lot more than it is going to help you. You know what you did, you know what happened, so stop analyzing it and get ready to kick ass the next time.

If you look back on this blog, not even a year ago, you will find some pretty pathetic things as far as me being critical of myself, in the extreme, after a bad day. And there have been plenty of those. I do not view any of the road behind me as faults or failures made however. It is because of the hard times that I have learned to grow and that has helped me realize the path in front of me. My sports consultant, Barbara Ann Cochran had no small part in it too! (Well, pretty much every part…)

The fact of the matter is, is that any professional sport is going to lay you low many more times than it will raise you high. Believe me, it has always been an uphill battle fighting against my inner monologue of disappointment. But it is how you rise from those depths that will define you and how well you played the game.

“It’s not losing that defines us. It’s how we lose. Its what we do afterword.” -Scott Jurek

So kids, if your mom or dad is telling you the correct way to deal with disappointment, then listen. They most likely know what they are talking about. But know that there is always a process. There are always steps to take to get there, and leaps are a rare thing. There are no short cuts when learning the steps of life, and the biggest steps forward are usually always based on the disappointment that inspired your determination.




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