Friday, May 6, 2011

Finally here....

Waterskiing is a sport I have done since I was 8 years old, and I started to compete in tournaments when I was 13.  Every summer, my dad would take me all around the state and southern region to tournaments on the weekends. We spent countless hours training on Jordan Lake at 6am, or down at Coble Ski School in Lillington.  As I grew older, skiing became more and more of a priority, which is usually not the case.  Most kids that ski usually start to fade as the social demands of high school, college, or marriage and kids demand their time.  There are not many of us that still compete from my Junior days.  I now train at Gresham Lake in Raleigh - located at 540 and Capital Blvd (yes, that is a concrete plant on the starting dock end), and at Badin Lake in Stanly County.  As I have grown older, my desire has actually increased.  I like to think that because I have more responsibility now as an adult, I am more motivated to ski.  You really appreciate things when you cannot have them - as is the case when you are working and can't find time to ski - so when you finally do have time, it's heaven.  Most springs, I start in April, at the latest.  This year, I didn't have time to ski until last Saturday - April 30.  Technically, I guess you can say I started in April...but that's borderline cheating.  It seemed like every day that I was off, it was either too cold, rainy, or windy to ski.  And of course, when I was working, it was beautiful.  I had planned on going to a judges and drivers clinic in Ahoskie, NC, but work had other plans.  I guess with students taking off for exams, etc...I did not get my name down fast enough to request off.  I was super pissed.  I had had a lot of trouble with requesting off lately, and this was the last straw.  I was determined to get my shift covered, and go to the lake.  Luckily, I did find someone to switch shifts with, and I am forever grateful to Caroline for doing it.  Saturday was, by far, one of the best days I have had in a long time.  After not skiing since October, and not seeing my "ski family" since then either...I couldn't wait to reconnect and get in the water. I can't explain the bond that we, as waterskiers, have.  We spend almost every weekend together in the summer, and we are an excellent example of community.  Because the sport is based on individual performance (wins are only important at State, Regional, and National Champs...), the support we give each other is tremendous.  We never wish anyone to do badly, and are always encouraging one another. We coach one another, celebrate with one another, and hurt with one another. Sometimes we have quarrels, but we get over it, and we are always, FAMILY.
Our lives are now entwined on Facebook (a good thing about social media!) and we have the chance to keep up over the winter.
Beaver Lake - Ahoskie, NC - April 30, 2011

This all being said, I got to experience this family after a long drought on Saturday.  We caught up on the winter and planned for summer.  I got to ski - trick and jump.  And I cannot explain how awesome it felt to be back on the water.  The air was cold (actually colder than the water), but it was exhilarating.  I did not want to stop, but of course, I could not be a water hog.  I left the day feeling like I had done exactly what I was made to do that day.  It was a peaceful and content feeling.  I loathed the fact that I had to return to normal life, and spent most of the 2 1/2 hour ride home brainstorming how we could move closer to our ski sites, and live a much simpler life - away from the traffic and consumerism.  Skiing has always been a social sport, but laid back and often in very rural parts of the state.  (New London, Southmont, Ahoskie, Lillington, Harmony...have yall even heard of these places?  well, they exist!)  Don't get me wrong, I love being near certain amenities, but they are not what's really important in life.  It's not that I want to ski more (and I do!), it's that I want to have land, space to sprawl out.  I want to sit on my back porch and not hear, or see, ANYONE.  I want to drive into a town where they know me, and know my family, and care about me. You can't really get that in Durham, if you know what I mean.
As we drove home, I gazed at the houses along the highways that overlooked fields and fields of land, and felt envious.  A few years ago, I probably would have thought to myself, "who the heck would want to live all the way out here...ugh!"  But now, I long for it.  Am I crazy?

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