Sunday, March 2, 2008

Meltdown On The Mountain

I can't remember the last time I cried during, after, or as a result of an athletic endeavor. I've been injured, defeated, fatigued, and downtrodden while at various levels of play but, honestly, I can't remember cracking under the pressure to the point where I shed actual tears . . . until last weekend on the beginner trail at Mount Sunapee. Not one of my finest hours, you might say. Indeed, the bunny slope broke me. We're talking "cat. five" panic attack, in public, body strewn across the middle of the trail, complete with tear-filled goggles, bruised knee caps, and a meltdown rivaled only by Britney Spears. Mine lacked illicit substances, ripped fishnets, and a fedora, but it brimmed with just as much drama and heartache as the pop princess's weekly standoffs with the papparazzi, her parents, and anyone watching, which is, well, everyone.

Instead, my stand-off consisted of a grisly battle between me and my ego, and let's face it; that's a losing fight, every time, for any of us. With two snowboarding lessons under my belt (or, in this case, my bruised tailbone), I had high hopes of exhibiting some level of proficiency at my new recreational activity of choice. After all, I'm an athlete, a yogi, and a meticulous student. Surely I could pay attention to the teacher, and execute the lesson at hand, right? Not this time, friends. As my frustration level climbed, my patience plummeted. Good humor was nowhere in sight, likely forgotten at a Dunkin' Donuts rest stop somewhere along the New Hampshire boarder. I was angry and, even, forlorn. Here I was knocking on Snowboarding's door, asking if he wanted to come play, only to have the door slammed in my face. "Nope, sorry, sweetie. You're not my type," was the resounding response.

Admittedly, I was over-thinking the whole exercise, and I'm a perfectionist. Plus, I don't like to fall down (figuratively or literally). I'm competitive too . . . and excruciatingly self-critical . . . and, in case you've forgotten, susceptible to CRYING ON THE BUNNY SLOPE. Truth be told, I wouldn't have wanted to hang out with me either.

Okay, Snowboarding, I get it. "It's not you; it's me." Still, there's a lesson to be learned beneath all the layers of polar fleece and gortex.

Sometimes, life knocks you down on your knees. The unexpected hits you (or an 11 year old boy also strapped into a snowboard and equally as unskilled as you). At times, life hurts and humiliates; it doesn't follow a desired plan or any plan for that matter, and it teaches you that you need the help, direction, and suport of others.

I'm glad I took the chair lift up the mountain for the first time, that day, and even happier that I made it down. I wish I could report that after the meltdown, I had some sort of athletic or spiritual epiphany. I saw the light; the cogs in my brain clicked, and my muscles responded, allowing me to glide down the trail effortlessly. However, this wasn't the case. I did glide down the rest of the way- to a degree, mostly on my butt, yet, it wasn't my day to conquer the mountain. It was my day to learn, which means I'll have to go back some other time for the ephiphany (while wearing knee pads, perhaps).


Anonymous said...

I really liked this one Rebecca, I totally identify. This reminds me that I need to lower my expectations on both myself and others, especially when I don't have experience doing something. Peace out.

Luke O

Anonymous said...

This was a good weren't kidding when you said snowboarding kicked your ass, literally. You'll get it next time - clearly you learned something that had nothing to do with the snow or cold:) xo, jw

Alli said...

Ooh! Just read this-really really like it and I can identify too. Same thing happened to me water skiing, it is a good metaphor for life...thanks for posting!