Doin' What You Love
Over a week ago now, I, along with Jesse Hope and my friend David Rabin, had the pleasure of meetin’ up with the Bump Club at the Corner House Grill to watch the Olympic women’s freestyle moguls event.
It was bittersweet. I couldn’t help but get nostalgic for my own Bump Club days, traveling with the team, joking together over meals, talking freestyle. It was hard because it made me realize what I left behind when I left Telluride for boarding school; the people, the camaraderie, but mostly the passion. It’s an invigorating and rare experience to be around a group of people who are all so passionate about the same thing.
It also reminded me just how small the freestyle world is. Caleb Martin and Kris Pepe, both Telluride freestyle coaches, cheered half-sarcastically whenever a U.S. Team coach, all of whom they knew, came on the screen. Joe Discoe, a Telluride freestyler turned U.S. Teamer, told us funny stories about each American skier. It made me feel like I was part of the event; brought me back into the freestyle world.
That was the sweet; the bitter is that not-so-deep-down I know that I left that world six years ago. I can only kind-of float through it now, and that’s sad to me. My time on the Telluride Freestyle Team was the best of my life, and now it’s long gone. I can kind-of reconnect, and the documentary has definitely helped with that, but it’s not the same. Being in the Corner House with my former coaches and teammates, Joe and Wade Parkinson, and new faces like Zak Watkins, and some of the younger guys and girls who have come up, Ryan Parkinson and Keaton McCargo, I envy them.
As I touched on in my first blog, I lost the passion my freshman year of high school, and I had to move on. To devote yourself to something like freestyle skiing, it has to be about the passion. You have to love every second, the training, the successes and the failures. You have to want it, but it has to be about the passion because there is so little room at the top.
The Olympics are a poignant reminder of just how little room there is; it is the fleeting culmination of all that passion and devotion for everyone involved in the sport. Four years of work and anticipation, and it’s over in an afternoon and night, aired between rounds of short track and luge. Each run is over in less than 30 seconds, botch the first and you won’t even get a second.
Most skiers will never make it. Even Caleb, ranked third in the world and first in the country at his peak, never skied in the games due to untimely injuries. Aside from tremendous skill, passion and hard work, it takes a bit of luck. You can’t devote your life to that kind of crapshoot unless you love it.In our interviews so far I’ve been struck by each person’s infectious love for skiing. From Caleb, to Joe and his brother Jimmy Discoe, both on the U.S. Team, and Wade Parkinson and Zak Watkins, both currently on the Telluride Freestyle Team hoping to earn spots on the U.S. Team next year.
So, if I’m being honest with myself, I can always wonder what if, dream of the path not taken, but I know it was the right decision to leave competitive skiing. It’s just not worth it if you’re not completely sure it’s what you want to be doing. And life has led me in a new direction to this documentary. I’ve found a way to reconnect with competitive freestyle skiing in a way that I’m truly passionate about. Because if you want to do something and do it well, you have to want to commit yourself entirely to it. You might as well love doing it.Check out more ski coverage and opinion on Ski Watch.