8 Questions I Get Asked After A Ski Race

8 Questions I Get Asked After A Ski Race

How do you think my run went?
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I have spent the last month and a half skiing around on the International Paralympic World Cup circuit. The Paralympic alpine world is so small and I honestly love getting to know not only my American teammates but competitors from all over the world. I love that I can learn something from all of my competitors, and I have gotten to know a lot of them quite well from our conversations during race days. Here’s a list of the things I always get asked directly following a ski race.

1. How’d your run go?

This is kind of the question everyone asks right after the race is finished. Whether they actually care about how I skied or if they just feel the need to make some sort of conversation I kind of always answer with a very general “good” or “eh not great” depending on the day.

2. Did the course run well?

Because I am a visually impaired female I always run very early in the race. A lot of times when I come down after running there are male mono skiers sitting at the bottom waiting to head up the mountain for their run. Often the boys will ask us how the course is running. Even though everyone gets to slip through the course at the beginning of the day it’s sometimes hard to predict exactly how it will feel when you are actually charging full speed.

3. Did you see that huge rut in the middle?

This one’s a little ironic because I am blind so no, no I probably did not notice the minimal snow coverage by one of the gates… unless of course it caused me to land on my face, then I probably found out it was there pretty quickly.

4. How far back are you from first?

In some alpine events the racer’s combined time is taken from two race runs. I get this question a lot between the first and second run of the race. I am the type of person that really doesn’t like to look at times in the middle of runs. For me, numbers can be distracting and I find it better for my performance if I ignore the times until both runs of the race have been completed. Because I don’t focus too much on times during the race, I often answer this question with a “well I am not really sure actually” or “you should ask Sadie she can see the scoreboard better than I can.”

5. Are you on the podium today?

To be honest most of the time I have to answer this by saying something like “no didn’t quite do it today” but I guess that makes all the times I get to say “yes we did it today” just a little sweeter.

6. Did you get late in that middle section?

Ski racing is comprised of both technical and tactical perspectives. Technical is the actual position of the skier whereas tactical is being able to execute the fastest line in the course to bring the racer from the top to the bottom as quickly as possible. When racers inspect a course, tactics are often the primary thought and certain courses leave racers prone to different mistakes. I often get asked by other racers how we ran the line or if we had issues in certain sections. I never really know how to answer these questions though because for me I just follow Sadie.

7. How about that finish area?

In order for a race to run, the track on the course must be maintained enough that it is safe for the racers. However, the finish area tends to get overlooked and often does not have very good snow or space to stop after the finish line. One time I came through the finish with some heat and hit bad snow and totally wiped Sadie out! It was funny in retrospect but it can be scary! I think every athlete has their own humiliating finish line stories, so now we make it a point to talk about how we will stop every time we run a race.

8. Did you have fun?

I love when people ask me this question because it is so easy to get caught up in the emotions of ski racing, and forget all about the fact that we do all of this for fun. Having fun ski racing is something Sadie and I strive for every day, and I think it is really important to reflect on. As an elite athlete it is so easy to forget why you fell in love with a sport. I want to be able to have fun skiing for the rest of my life, so if I ever feel like my racing career is ruining skiing for me I will retire. I feel incredibly fortunate that I still love ski racing. Regardless of the times on the board, I almost always have a great time when I get to do what I love.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me

We can't blame you completely, but no one has ever stood up to you before.
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I know you never gave it a second thought, the idea that you're the reason I and many others, never went any farther in our athletic careers.

I know you didn’t sincerely care about our mental health, as long as we were physically healthy and our bodies were working enough to play. It’s obvious your calling wasn’t coaching and you weren’t meant to work with young adults, some who look to you as a parent figure or a confidant.

I also know that if we were to express our concerns about the empty feeling we began to feel when we stepped onto the court, you wouldn’t have taken the conversation seriously because it wasn’t your problem.

I know we can't blame you completely, no one has ever stood up to you before. No one said anything when girls would spend their time in the locker room crying because of something that was said or when half the team considered quitting because it was just too much.

We can't get mad at the obvious favoritism because that’s how sports are played.

Politics plays a huge role and if you want playing time, you have to know who to befriend. We CAN get mad at the obvious mistreatment, the empty threats, the verbal abuse, “it's not what you say, its how you say it.”

We can get mad because a sport that we loved so deeply and had such passion for, was taken away from us single-handedly by an adult who does not care. I know a paycheck meant more to you than our wellbeing, and I know in a few years you probably won’t even remember who we are, but we will always remember.

We will remember how excited we used to get on game days and how passionate we were when we played. How we wanted to continue on with our athletic careers to the next level when playing was actually fun. We will also always remember the sly remarks, the obvious dislike from the one person who was supposed to support and encourage us.

We will always remember the day things began to change and our love for the game started to fade.

I hope that one day, for the sake of the young athletes who still have a passion for what they do, you change.

I hope those same athletes walk into practice excited for the day, to get better and improve, instead of walking in with anxiety and worrying about how much trouble they would get into that day. I hope those athletes play their game and don’t hold back when doing it, instead of playing safe, too afraid to get pulled and benched the rest of the season.

I hope they form an incredible bond with you, the kind of bond they tell their future children about, “That’s the coach who made a difference for me when I was growing up, she’s the reason I continued to play.”

I don’t blame you for everything that happened, we all made choices. I just hope that one day, you realize that what you're doing isn’t working. I hope you realize that before any more athletes get to the point of hating the game they once loved.

To the coach that ruined the game for me, I hope you change.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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The Warriors' Fans May Need To Be Concerned About Stephen Curry

The six-time All-Star point guard's PPG has dipped over the past few games.

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The Golden State Warriors have been the most dominant NBA team over the past five years. They have claimed three NBA championships in the past four seasons and look to pull off a three-peat as they currently hold first place in the Western Conference more than halfway into the 2018-2019 NBA season. Warriors point guard Stephen Curry has been one of the primary reasons for their sustained success and is regarded by many around the NBA as the greatest shooter of all time and one of the best point guards in the league today. However, his points per game (PPG) total has dipped over the last few games. Should this be concerning for Warriors fans?

Curry got off to a hot streak early in the season and has had a few notable games like every season. He scored 51 points in three quarters while tallying 11 three-pointers against the Washington Wizards in the fifth game of the season and has delivered in the clutch with high-scoring games against the Los Angeles Clippers on December 23, 2018 (42 PTS) and Dallas Mavericks on January 13, 2019 (48 PTS).

However, Curry's consistency and point total have slipped over the past few games. He only put up 14 points and had a generally sloppy three-point shooting performance against the Los Angeles Lakers on February 2, and only 19 points four days later against the San Antonio Spurs, who were resting two of their best players, Demar Derozan and Lamarcus Aldridge due to load management. In addition, he only managed 20 points against a hapless Phoenix Suns team who made an expected cakewalk win for Golden State much harder than it should have been.

Perhaps Curry's numbers have dipped because he is still adjusting to having center Demarcus Cousins in the offense, or maybe I am simply exaggerating because Curry's standards are so high. The Warriors have won fifteen of their last sixteen games and are currently in cruise control heading for the top seed in the Western Conference. Perhaps the Warriors will ask more of Curry if the situation gets direr.

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