Today I learn how to snow board. Or at least I’ll try to learn. I’m not a huge fan of winter activities and skiing/snowboarding are not my idea of fun or safe ways to spend the day. Once, when I was much younger I went skiing and it was a bit of a disaster. I did not enjoy the experience at all. That’s when I filed sliding down a mountain with boards strapped to my feet under “been there, done that, won’t do again”.
Fast forward 2 decades and here I am about to do it again. The word trepidation keeps floating through my mind when I think about it too much. I’m excited to be going but anxious about it too. It amazes me how I caved after a little prodding from my wife, kids, brother, dad and a friend who’s coming with us. Whatever happened to “Just say no”? We’ll see how this goes and if I survive the experience.
The above two paragraphs were written before the snowboarding experience. Below is my report on how things went after the fact.
So, I went snowboarding. Or at least I tried to go snowboarding. First off, I did have fun…mostly. However, besides the fear, there is something else I have to face: gravity. Me and gravity aren’t always on the best of terms. See, it keeps trying to pull me toward the center of the Earth and when gravity is applied quickly I usually end up getting hurt. Stupid gravity. The other problem with gravity was that the skinny teenage one hundred and something pound “instructor” just didn’t have the ability to apply the appropriate leverage to my 268 pound frame to assist it in going from prone on the ground to upright. This meant that it either took two people to get my heavily padded butt up off the ground or I had to do it myself. Neither one of those options was ideal. In addition to landing on my butt a number of times, I also fell flat on my face whenever I tried to get myself up off the ground (see my previous thoughts on “stupid gravity”).
I actually did get the hang of snowboarding before the lesson time was over. I was able to stay up on the board and I was able to turn to the right by leaning forward over my toes. If those were the only skills required, I would have been set. However, you have to be able to turn left too. Turning left, for me, meant leaning back and shifting my weight over my heels. This is surprisingly like the motion one makes right before falling flat on ones ass. That’s exactly what I proceeded to do repeatedly every time I attempted a left turn. The falls on my butt began to hurt after a while. I still have a lot of padding back there but there are only so many times I can use it before the padding loses its efficacy.
In spite of this, I was determined to keep going. I wasn’t going to let a little snow stop me from having a good time. Plus I had spent way too much money on the lessons for everyone to not get my money’s worth. I also continued to improve. At least I thought I did. On my final “run” down the 15 foot slope we were learning on, I executed a left turn and it worked. I started to turn. I felt good. I felt happy. I felt gravity take over. I felt off balance. I felt scared. I felt panicked. I felt pain. I saw a bright flash of light. I heard a noise. I came to rest. I lay in the snow and began to assess my assets (hehehe, I had to say “ass” twice in that sentence). I took my body through a thorough inventory requesting status updates from all the important parts.
- Bones intact? Check
- Joints oriented the correct way? Check.
- Ankles OK? Check.
- Knees OK? The knees are in a lot of pain but that could be attributed to an earlier knee injury and strain from exercise so we’ll report a tentative check.
- Hips OK? Yes. Though something doesn’t feel quite right. Wait, that’s just a hunk of ice that I landed on. Check.
- Tail bone? Negative. The brain is receiving reports from the tail bone that it has taken a direct hit. The pain that is beginning to radiate through the body can be traced to the tail bone. Withhold judgement until receipt of reports from other regions of the body.
- Spine? Spine? SPINE!! Oh, sorry, I got distracted sending pain signals from the tail bone. Check.
- Shoulders? Cold but good. Check.
- Neck? Shaken from the impact but OK. Check.
- Head? After completing a self diagnosis, lights and sounds previously reported appear to have been caused by the brain not being able to process excess sensory input. I’ll be hurting in a few minutes but until then, check.
- Muscles? We’re here, and we’re not torn let’s leave it at that OK? Check.
- Blood? Still on the inside where it belongs. Check.
- Tail bone? Still negative. Suggested remedy is to lay in the cold snow and hope for numbness to come quickly.
It’s amazing how fast I can perform an inventory like this when I have to. I think that took about 1 second to complete. The upswing was that I had all of the answers ready to go when everyone finally reached me. In the end, I spent some time laying in the snow waiting for the pain in my tail bone to subside. It didn’t take too long to start to feel better but even now I have some lingering pain in my tail bone. Overall, it was a fun experience but not something I’m going to be doing regularly.
At least I did it. If I’d have never tried, I would have never known. I didn’t let fear keep me off the mountain. I didn’t let gravity stop me. I probably wouldn’t have allowed the injury to stop me except our time was up and I wasn’t stupid enough to assume that I was capable of going out on my own and try to do some more. Eventually, the pain will go away (I hope) and the experience will be nothing but a memory. I kind of feel the same way about my weight loss. I don’t let me fear of the process or trying new things stop me. I don’t allow the pain to hold me back and eventually the experience of being morbidly obese will just be a memory too.
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