It was a fun route, and funny too, since they kept suggesting Slow Down seconds before you hit what I now affectionately call - the death drops. "Sure!" I yelled, "I'll be happy to slow down." As if that move was in my repertoire. Then it happened. I came to a death drop scattered with kids and lingering adults, and panicked.
For the record, I'm an OK skier. It's stopping that's my weakness. Specifically, stopping on a dime when a newer skier falls in front of me. I'm also not the best Pole Position player on the slopes (though I rocked that game when I was a kid;) so weaving in and out of slower skiers makes me nervous...for both parties' well being. Yet there I was, speeding downhill with my worst ski fear looming in front of me. I think my thoughts went something like this, "oh, Oh, OH!...OWWW!... F*^#!" Call me nothing if not honest;)
I feel I should warn those of you who have never been skiing - even though the snow is soft, at high speeds, that shit hurts! After the pain induced nausea passed, I was able to attend to the throbbing in my right leg. I quickly removed my ski boot and began stretching and rubbing what's left of my knee. I say "left" because most dancers are lucky to have anything resembling that particular joint by the time they're my age. (For my age, do the math on the aforementioned Atari reference;).
It hurt. Really badly. I sat for at least five minutes rubbing my knee. Finally, the ski patrol showed up and asked if I was OK. "I'm not sure," I confessed. "Let me see if I can put my ski back on." When I play this back in my mind, this is when the patrol says, "Don't Risk It!!" But, for better and worse, we have free will - and who is the ski patrol to take it away? The nice lady instead said she would ski behind me to make sure I was OK.
In three more feet, we had our answer. Going two miles an hour, I attempted my first turn. No sooner did I twist and put weight on it, than a loud "POP!" taunted me as I collapsed. This time, after my scream, my thoughts went a little like this, "SSSHHHIIITTT!" The genius skiing behind me came back with, "That didn't sound good." Really!?! I couldn't tell because the pop is still shaking my very existence, but you didn't think it sounded "good". Well, there we have it...it must not be good...if you say so. (They say hindsight is 20/20 - apparently mine is also bitter and immature).
As the genius kindly towed me down the mountain (an impressive bit of skiing, I must admit) - I silently harangued myself for my gross stupidity. Why didn't I let them take me down after the first fall? Why did I put my livelihood on the line? What a*^holes invented skiing in the first place?! Seriously, who thought this was a good idea? I can hear them now:
Guy #1: "Darn, we're stuck at the top of this mountain. How are we ever gonna get down in time for the square dance?"
Guy #2: "I know! Let's take these broken limbs, tie 'em to our feet, and slide down! We'll get down in a jiffy!"
Guy #1: "Heh, heh, heh. OK. You go first and I'll go behind you to make sure you're alright."
Side note: if anyone knows the actual origin of skiing off the top of their heads, write it as a comment to this blog. I'd love to know how close I am to nailing this one;)
Back to reality, somewhere between chastising myself and admiring the ski patrol's mad skills, it hit me - the most important part of skiing is stopping. I'd like to say, in that very moment, I related it to dance (because the most important part of turning is stopping) - but that would be a crock of shit. The only thing I was thinking that involved dance was, "When will I be able to dance again?"
Sadly, I don't have that answer. So, never take it for granted, the gift of dance. Hell, even the gift of walking. I went to the park today on crutches. I sat and watched as my husband and son had a blast together. Not that I'm complaining - I was happy to be outside on a gorgeous day with the people I love the most. But I'll be happier when I get to join in the revelry.
Unfortunately, for now, I won't see you on the hardwood...but I hope you'll be there.