Monday, March 27, 2006

To board or not to board

I have a dilemma.

I've been invited to go with a group to Mammoth next month. Get a hotel for a couple nights, hang out and drink & such, and, of course, do some snowboarding. Seems fun, right? First, let's take a closer look at what "snowboarding" will actually mean to me, aside from some beginner lessons and a lot of falling down.

I am not athletic. At ALL. I never have been. As a kid I used to ride my bike around, play a little tennis and, being a Hoosier, play a little basketball. I also ran track for, like, a week. That said, I can hit about 50% of the shots I take, but I never really could run & dribble at the same time. "Tennis" was actually me and my friend Stephanie running all over the damn court hitting whatever we could no matter how many times it bounced or how out of bounds it was. I never learned to serve overhand. Track was a joke - you can only get last place (by a lot) so many times before you get tired of your team mates calling you "Minute Maid," and quit. And when I try to ride a bike these days, my knees hurt inside of 5 minutes.

I don't run, I don't jump, and I don't play in any kind of athletic way. The only exercise I get is the hateful, forced variety that I impose upon myself because I'm trying desperately to reduce the mass of my ass. I consider this to be torture, despite having tried all varieties, both at home and the gym.

The last time I went on a hike, I got so dizzy I almost passed out and scraped the shit out of my shin and by the way, I still have a really ugly scar from it and it was almost a month ago.

I've tried downhill skiing. It took me 2 1/2 hours to get down a green slope and I wanted to cry and shove one of those god-awful robot boots right up my so-called "friends" asses one by one for convincing me it would be fun.

I've tried cross-country skiing--what a miserable fucking day that was. I never got the hang of it, so mostly I was moving forward inches at a time, sweating my ass off in the cold (go figure that one), slowing down the group and basically feeling like a loser all day. Thank god I at least had mAc on that trip to entertain me, although the poor guy got an earful and a half after I fell through a particularly nasty patch of icy snow.

I've tried snorkeling and "snuba" diving (a cross between snorkeling and scuba, but I'm sure you figured that out on your own). That was actually really nice and the snuba instructor told both mAc and me that we were fairly natural at it. Mind you, that was in Maui, so I doubt it's an experience I could replicate in the cold, polluted waters of southern California's Pacific, even if I wanted to.

I feel like I've tried a lot, you know? Hell, I even joined my company's softball team in 2003 knowing all of this about myself, and I practiced throwing and catching and hitting and I even got a little better.... but I hated every game. No one wants to be the loser that drags the team down. So that was that.

So what the heck was I thinking when I said I'd be interested to try snowboarding? It's cold and slippery and everyone who learns falls down all the time when they first start: ALL THINGS I HATE. Plus, I'll suck at it. I don't think I'm being negative when I say that; I have sufficient data. I WILL SUCK AND I WILL BE MISERABLE.

But as much as I hate subjecting myself to the physical pain and social humiliation of trying new activities, I hate being the negative whiner even more. It's stupid pride, but I constantly feel compelled to at least try. Maybe just so I can say that I tried? I don't know.

There's also the issue of the gear. I never have the right gear. I used an old, heavy, wooden hand-me-down tennis racket when everyone else had light-weight metal ones. My downhill skiing ensemble was a yellow, red, and black hodge-podge of ugly, borrowed crap. At least when I tried to ski cross-country, I was able to borrow something sassy from my stylish snowboarding friend who's my size.

What do I do now? Do I waste money on gear for an adventure that I'm 99% certain I am going to hate, and then be stuck with it? Or do I try to borrow something so I can suffer the humiliation of wearing/using someone else's crap for the bazillionth time in my life?

I wish I could be one of those people who's confident enough to just say, "I don't do athletic activities, thanks." And move on. But I can't. I can't say it without imagining the listener thinking, "Well, maybe if you did, you wouldn't be so flabby and out of shape, Fatass." You can't tell me no one is thinking that. You've thought it at least once, I bet.

At this point, the invitation is on the table: to board or not to board. That is the question. We need to commit, like, today in order to reserve the room.

Do I succumb to my fear and past trauma and take a pass? Or do I push past one more time, try one more new thing, and get my ass kicked again? That, my friends, is the REAL question.

No, really. I want your opinion.


Jeffery Evans said...

You know, most ski resorts are resplendent with bars and hot tubs. That's why I go.

Dinah said...


Mike Daugherty said...

hmm. snowboarding. a worthy endeavor.

1. Snowboarding as Learning.

The Truth about Mammoth: You're going to be on your ass for much of the weekend. However: the joy of having someone (maybe even a friend) teach you something new, of watching your body do new stuff, and getting a better idea how amazing the sport is, is more than half the fun. I am a Learner, so being on my ass is much more than worth the fun problem solving of trying to figure out something new. Learning for Learning's sake. If you feel like it might be the same with you, read no further. You're going. If you're not sure *ding* please turn page.

2. Snowboarding as an Investment.

Goddamn it sweetie, you live in one of the most amazing areas for winter sports in the whole world, and it just might be that, given 6 days (not even consecutive, let's say over the course of a season) you have an inner badass snowboarder chick waiting to get out. Riding (the colloquial gerund/verb form for snowboarding) is not AT ALL like skiing. You spend 2 or 3 days falling and getting up, and then you just start *doing* it. so: Beginners who can see through to the end of a season invariably get high returns--linking turns, real technique, and minimal falling. So if you like to get out of town, you like mts, and you like being active and then snuggling by the fire, this is a beautiful little project that requires only a few days and pays massive dividends. Now, you might want to start your snowboarding-with-two-days-on-ass kickoff at some other venue, with some other crew, at some other time. If so, right on, decline and say you'd like to start at the beginning of the season, so you can go a few times and get good. But why not now? 1. Analysis complete, Trip Planned. 2. You'd Like Some More Information. Please Turn to page 37.

3. Snowboarding as Hedonism.

So this one trip I took to Snowshoe in 2002 was really all about drinking and dancing in the cabin and group sex in the hot tub.

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