It's all about how you look at things...
Last Friday I competed in the Visa Grand Prix at Copper Mountain. It was the first time that skiers were involved in the 15 year-old event, and we were very well accepted. There was an excessive, but exciting, amount of buzz regarding the FIS sanctioned Grand Prix being an opportunity for skiers to showcase their talents to the International Olympic Committee- could this be a "grand" opportunity to help our sport make that final step into the Olympic Games?! Hard to say. I've felt that every contest I've done over the last few years would help us earn inclusion into the Games, so the Grand Prix didn't seem that different to me. None-the-less there was quite an audience on Friday and the event was turned into a 30 minute show that aired on NBC, Sunday at noon. Hopefully the right people were watching! As far as the event goes and my performance, I placed 2nd. Never a bad way to start the season, except that I tweaked my knee in training (my right knee, the pseudo "good" knee, though I alternate that term between my knees depending on which one had surgery longer ago...) and I didn't ski quite up to my standards. Placing 2nd wasn't the frustrating part for me, that was perfectly fine, but not feeling great or skiing great was frustrating. I vented to my parents about my feelings after the event. "I work so hard, why do I work so hard if I still get hurt?" My knee pinched severely when I landed an alley-oop 5 very low in transition. There was no crashing involved, just landing- a very imperative part of the equation. Later Friday evening I received an email from my mom and her words struck home.
Overheard a bit of your conversation with Dad last night. I get that you are disappointed about yesterday's contest, but as the exhaustion and aches pass I want you to reflect a little bit from a different angle. You said, "I work so hard". That hard work let you stand up your run when you easily might have fallen. That hard work let you create enough speed in a snow-covered pipe to be able to do the 720. Your determination to win got you from 10th to 2nd place -- just what you needed to qualify for World Championships. Mission accomplished.
Sure you can ski better. Yeah, you've nailed that run a zillion times, but just not yesterday. First contest. Got what you needed. Expecting nothing but to ski the best you can on a given day in the conditions that there are -- all you can do. Sorry that your knee is hurting, sorry that your shoulder is whacked out. Sending you big mommy hugs, but most of all, wishing you the ability to feel the sunshine and enjoy the snow (understand that you're buried there). Try not to put so much pressure on yourself -- you won't win every contest this year, but you are an awesome competitor and you'll be great.
Love you, Mom
It's quite strange how you can lose sight of things when you are so closely involved in them. I saw my hard work as inadequate, not as what enabled me to still finish a run and place 2nd. I felt dissatisfied that things weren't coming together perfectly, when there is huge opportunity in imperfection. We often get so distracted by the things that are lacking in our life that we forget to enjoy the plentiful pleasures right in front of us.
I will stop hunting for more 1st place finishes and start enjoying making it through another fun day on the hill. I will stop my concern that we are not yet in the Olympics and begin to be more grateful for being able to compete at events like the Grand Prix, Dew Tour and X-Games. I will stop worrying about what is wrong with my knee and start appreciating all that is right with my knee.
"Between stimulus and response there is space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." - Victor Frankl
How can you shift your perspective and turn inadequacies into sufficiencies? It's all about how you look at things!