Sometimes I think that I am invincible. Maybe because I am a man, maybe because I am super competitive. But when presented with an athletic challenge I usually take it head on without even doubting that I will succeed. Jumping off of a ledge, trying a back flip, barefoot skiing, tackling a running back. I have done all of these things and walked away unscathed. But when I looked down a snowy mountain this weekend with a board in my hand instead of two skis, I would not walk away in the same way.
I have skied most of my life, whether on the water on a mountain. So switching from going forward to sliding downhill sideways is a huge adjustment. This alone was enough to put me at a disadvantage. When I first put the boots in the bindings and stood up, it was a disaster. I fell over probably two or three times before the board even moved from its original spot. Once I finally got going down the mountain (facing forward as I’m so used to), I faced the next challenge of trying to steer myself down the slope. The first run of the day was by far the worst one for me.
The problem with falling down on a snowboard is that there are only two ways to fall: Forward or Backward. When you fall forward you catch yourself with your hands, and when you fall backwards you catch yourself with your butt. So the first run alone left me approaching the ski lift cautiously so that I didn’t hit my butt to hard on the seat. After going down the mountain a couple more times, my wrists and butt were so sore that if I fell I would just lay there in pain, dreading the fact that I would have to stand up and continue to go down the mountain.
I finally had to admit that I had stepped up to the plate and struck out. I switched back to skiing, a form of transportation that I am comfortable with. Although I now have a deep appreciation for the skill of snowboarding and the people who can carve down the slopes without falling once, I have a much deeper pain in my butt that still lingers. So if you see me gingerly sitting down, or walking as if I just did some squats, please forgive me for thinking I’m invincible, because I clearly am not.