challenge ...a call to fight
Escarpment Magazine Winter 2013
He was. Two years later, I resumed... plus three
surgeries, someone else’s ACL, a staple, a cou-
ple of synthetic darts, 115 massages, 350 chi-
ropractic appointments, 540 hours of physio,
680 hours in the pool, 950 hours in the gym
and just 65 hours of skiing. In fact, two years to
the day, I won a NorAmGS race in Panorama,
BC. That was my second week back to ski rac-
ing. My first week was all Lynda. Lynda is my
mom. She retired from her chiropractic practice
just 2 days before I got hurt. She blames herself
that she created the opening in her schedule
and I got injured in order to fill it. Well it’s not
her fault, but it’s what happened. She rose to
the challenge. In fact, I think some nurses ended
up going home because she had the whole
ward covered. As the quarterback of my recov-
ery, she was always close by. So it was a given
that she remain by my side for my return to rac-
ing. But the night before my first race back, I
called her hotel room in tears. This time it wasn’t
the pain or the emotional side effects of heavy
hallucinogens. This was fear, in its purest form.
I was scared of the speed and the adrenaline
involved with racing down a mountain. I was scared of the idea that, after two years, it
just might not work out. I just might not have what it takes any more. So many books that
I was given from friends during my rehabilitation mentioned athletes that “always be-
lieved” or “never doubted” during an injury-related hiatus. I can assure you there was
doubt. Doubt with a capital D, bolded, italicized and underlined. Like this.
But I knew, with a flame still lit in my heart for this crazy sport, I couldn’t stop now. I had
to find out. So that night at the hotel, with my first race bib in my hand, Mom and I had
a closing ceremony for everything that was my recovery and welcomed the challenge
of the next chapter.
Challenge is defined as “a call to fight, as a battle”. I can say, candidly, that
two months prior to that night, I was one anti-inflammatory away from
quitting. The team was on our last training camp (in Chile) before the
race season would begin and I was depleted. By that point, I had
taken just one week off in 28 months. I had made gains in New
Zealand the month prior but the snow was soft and forgiving. So
when I showed up in Chile confident to build momentum and
close the gap towards racing, I was greatly mistaken. The bul-
letproof conditions and overall exhaustion was too much. My
sport psychologist told me never to make big decisions when
I’m tired or upset. By the end of the first week in Chile, having
skied just 3 days, I was neither tired nor upset. I simply wanted
out. I knew I felt passionate about academics and I knew it was
something that would offer me a direct relation between my ef-
fort and success... unlike ski racing, at that time. I had done
everything I was told and more to rehabilitate in the strongest
way... it just didn’t seem to be working.
I feel now, that the only reason I kept setting an alarm each day
was because of that flame. Though dimly lit, it still offered
warmth in my heart. Warmth and curiosity.
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