That used to be my bio on Instagram. It also says “still pronounce my R’s despite living in Boston for ten years.” That part I’ll have to change soon because the word “habar” has come out of my mouth recently!!!!!
I recently changed it recently to “skier, photographer, giver of hugs.” I put skier first now, because I like to brag like that!!!!
But here I’m going to focus on the giver of hugs part. That part took the longest to develop. For once, this wasn’t a lesson I got from skiing. This I got when I started being a teacher and from church. Empathy or comfort was not natural for me until I started being a teacher and I had to cope with a million emotions a day from the students. It made me grow patience and empathy.
Well I guess skiing had a little to do with it too. When I started going skiing, I saw a lot of adaptive skiers at the different places I went. I remember how shocked I was the first time I saw a guy wearing a sign that said “BLIND” and he’s zigzagging down the hill. One of the ski instructors told me the blind skiers go faster than the sighted skiers.
I remember another time seeing a skier wearing a special Olympics lanyard. He was in line with the rest of us and he had about 50 ski tickets attached to his jacket. There he was, the same as us, in line waiting to zoom down the mountain. I was even envious of all of his ski tickets!!!!
What also really got my attention were the paraplegic skiers or those in the adaptive sitting skis. Skiing has been such a psychological life line for me and I can imagine it is very much the same way for a person who has a disability. I am always happy to see an instructor going up on a chair lift with one of those skiers. Not only is the person on the adaptive ski getting to learn about an amazing sport but they know that the instructor is going to be there for them for the entire day.
Skiing has given me so much over the years. Most of all, it has given me a feeling of confidence. In the pictures below, there is one of a trail at Loon I skied. It was very steep but I assessed it and handled it. When I see myself handling the bumps and the steep parts of the mountain, I know I can pretty much handle everything else too. Because life is full of black diamonds, some easier to handle than others.
I’ve heard within the past few days that Betsy “Ten Yachts” Devos, that empty hairdo in a pant suit, tried to get federal funding cut for the Special Olympics. I’m going to leave further ridicule of her to the late night talk show hosts. I try to stay apolitical up here. What I will say is that it takes a really special kind of a cruel person to deprive people whose abilities are different than ours the chance to experience sports. For a person like me who is abled and is privileged enough to go skiing, the sport has given me confidence beyond measure. I’m more accountable and more organized, thanks to skiing. It has made me care about my own well being and fitness level to an extent I never had before. I can only imagine what skiing or any other sport can do or mean for a person who has been told their entire life that they will never live the life that we all take for granted.
Thanks Loon for this unbelievable season. And I got to ride the little train!!!!! I might be a little excited about that!!!!