Saturday, August 23, 2008

I Can Still Water Ski**

(pictured above is a UT Water Ski Team member, NOT me!)

Ladies and gentlemen, the results are in... I can still water ski**. I started skiing when I was about 5... if you define skiing by nestling between my mom or dad's skis while the boat pulled them up and then I'd stand on their skis while they balanced and moved them around. I first learned to slalom (on my own) when I was in 6th grade. I kept trying all summer by using my double skis and trying to drop one. It wasn't working, so finally I borrowed my high school-aged sister's professional slalom ski and popped right up on the frist try. After that I was hooked. I can't tell you how many hours I would ski. It was my favorite passtime.
By the time I went to college, I felt enough of a pro to try out for the University of Texas' Water Ski Team. Much to my surprise-- and EXCITEMENT!-- I made the team my freshman year. We had tournaments almost every weekend, playing big public universities from Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. We had to practice at least twice a week too... it was quite a time commitment!
Ski Team Tournaments were comprised of 3 events: 1) the slalom course (my event), 2) trick skiing, and 3) the ski jump. This is the website that describes the rule of tournament "play". For the slalom course, basically, as the boat went up the center of the lake, I was to zig-zag back and forth, looping around bouys that were pre-set a certain distance apart from each other. When you finished your first pass at the course-- without error-- the boat turns around and you make a second pass, this time 2 miles/hour faster... and so on and so on until a certain speed and then they start shortening the length of your rope. I was decent. Before the team, I thought I was a rock star water-skier. After being around seriously good teammates, I realized I was just okay. But is sure was fun! I was only on the team for a year before I decided (sadly) that partying was a more important time commitment in my life. I quit the team, but I still skied-- just with family and friends.
When Andy and I were dating, we would go skiing some, but I was embarrassed to ski in front of him (I am not exactly sure why), so I kind of stopped skiing. Then 2 summers ago we had our "motorcycle" accident and my foot hasn't been the same since. It was my left foot that was crushed in the accident, which was my frontward ski foot. I never regained complete control or balance in that foot and was certain that it would mean I wouldn't be able to grip my foot well enough to ski.
But today, I went into Andy's office and declared: "Let's go skiing this afternoon!" Shocked, but up for the adventure, he agreed. After my frist attempt, I realized my foot was not as much of a problem as my complete lack of arm strength to hold on to the rope as the boat pulled me up. I didn't get up. But on the second try, I managed to emerge from the water. (Now this is where the ** comes in) I stayed up for almost 45 seconds. I stayed inside the wake the whole time. My arms were getting weaker by the mili-second. I dropped. But I did it! Now I know it CAN be done... I'll just need to start working on my stamina! It has only been an hour since we went skiing, but the backs of my thighs are already killing me, and my arms shake whenever I try to hold them up. It was worth it though!

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