The Chronicles Of A Sighted Guide And A Blind Skier

The Chronicles Of A Sighted Guide And A Blind Skier

I ski following a sighted guide and we communicate via Bluetooth headsets in our helmets.
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Whenever I tell people I am a World Cup visually impaired ski racer, their first question is always, “Well how do you ski race if you’re blind?” The answer is that I can’t do it alone. I ski following a sighted guide and we communicate via Bluetooth headsets in our helmets. My guide and I ski down some of the world's steepest terrain at speeds upwards of fifty miles an hour together. Guide/ athlete pairs have a very interesting dynamic that is based off of communication and trust. Most strong relationships depend on a foundation of communication and trust, so it is perhaps unsurprising that this is the case. The pair must be able to communicate efficiently while on course as well as off the snow. For example, my guide tells me when to turn as well as what types of terrain we are hitting and in response, I tell her where I am and how far apart we are. Trust is incredibly important because the athlete must be able to depend on the guide to help him/ her safely navigate down a course. For someone like me who is a little bit of a control freak, it can be challenging giving away all of the control to someone else. Guides have a lot of responsibility helping their athletes, but it’s also a really incredible experience for the guide as well. Whenever a visually impaired person wins a medal, their guide receives one too. Guiding gives people an amazing opportunity to travel the world and compete in huge races including world championships and Paralympic games. However, guiding does come with a cost. It is a huge time commitment to travel full time with a blind athlete, and it takes a really selfless person to be a guide because a guide has to essentially give up his/ her own racing career and be fully dedicated to the dreams of the blind athlete. Together an athlete and guide make up a team and in order to be successful the pair must be equally dedicated to the goal.

In my case, that goal is to be one of the best visually impaired ski racers in the world and to compete in the 2018 PyeongChang winter Paralympics. Luckily for me I have the most spectacular guide to follow around the world. My guide, Sadie DeBaun, is a ski racer from Park City, Utah who I started working with a little over a year ago. We developed a strong relationship after a short time together, largely because we became really close friends on and off the snow. It took us some time to get to know each other, but I trust that Sadie will communicate to me everything I need to know. Not only when we are skiing, but on any adventures we may take on. Whether it be navigating through a buffet dinner in Europe, or finding the finish line of a World Cup, we are in it together. Without this trust and communication, it would be impossible for us to succeed on the World Cup circuit. Ski racing is unpredictable and challenging, and one of the reasons we are such an accomplished team is because no matter what situation we get into we know that we can work together to get out of it.

As we travel around Europe for the start of the International Paralympic Alpine Skiing World Cup circuit, I am continuously reminded of how lucky I am to be following someone who is so dedicated and committed to our goals. In ski racing there are a lot of ups and downs. It isn’t about always winning, it’s about being able to learn from all the falls and getting up stronger. Every day we go out to ski with two priorities; to have fun and to be better than we were yesterday. Regardless of the medals we end up with, Sadie and I will always share the memories, which is arguably even more valuable.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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20 Signs You Were A High School Cheerleader

You got really tired of hearing, "Point your toes."
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Cheerleading is something you'll never forget. It takes hard work, dedication, and comes with its ups and downs. Here are some statements that every cheerleader, past and present, know to be true.

1. You always had bobby pins with you.

2. Fear shot through you if you couldn't find your spankees right away and thought you left them at home.

3. You accumulated about 90 new pairs of tennis shoes...

4. ...and about 90 new bows, bags, socks, and warm ups.

5. When you hear certain songs from old cheer dance mixes it either ruins your day or brings back happy memories.

6. And chances are, you still remember every move to those dances.

7. Sometimes you catch yourself standing with your hands on your hips.

8. You know the phrase, "One more time, ladies" all too well.

9. The hospitality rooms were always one of the biggest perks of going to tournaments (at least for me).

10. You got really tired of hearing, "Point your toes."

SEE ALSO: How The Term 'Cheerlebrity' Destroyed Our Sport

11. If you left the gym at half-time to go get something, you better be back by the time the boys run back out.

12. You knew how awkward it could be on the bus rides home after the boys lost.

13. But you also knew how fun it could be if they won.

14. Figuring out line-up was extremely important – especially if one of your members was gone.

15. New uniforms were so exciting; minus the fact that they cost a fortune.

16. You know there was nothing worse than when you called out an offense cheer but halfway through, you had to switch to the defense version because someone turned over the ball.

17. You still know the school fight song by heart and every move that goes with it.

SEE ALSO: Signs You Suffer From Post-Cheerleading Depression

18. UCA Cheer Camp cheers and chants still haunt you to this day.

19. You know the difference between a clasp and a clap. Yes, they're different.

20. There's always a part of you that will miss cheering and it will always have a place in your heart.

Cover Image Credit: Doug Pool / Facebook

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Tiger Woods Looks To Eclipse Remarkable Comeback With A Win This Weekend

In the final event of the FedEx Cup, the Tour Championship, Woods could complete one of the greatest comebacks in sports history with a win

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Even though I may be over 4000 miles away and five hours ahead of schedule, the fanatic fan that I am for Tiger Woods has not died down one bit. Entering the Tour Championship, the final event of the FedEx Cup and essentially the Superbowl of professional golf, Woods has a chance of eclipsing one of the greatest comebacks ever with a win this Sunday.

Woods, who hasn't played in this event since 2013 is still in search of a coveted first win in his comeback tour from injury. With a win here, on arguably one of the toughest golf courses in the world and against the top 30 players on the PGA tour, the legacy of Tiger Woods will forever be cemented in golf lure.

So yes, as I am in London studying for the fall term as an abroad student, my heart and soul are still intertwined with one of America's greatest sports icons. To demonstrate my commitment as a fan, I will share a little tale with how I have been able to keep up with Woods' play. On Thursday, the first day of competition, I strategically planned my day around when Tiger would tee off. Making sure to have computer access, I was able to watch his first three holes of the round. To say the least, I was mildly unimpressed. Starting off with a bogey and finding himself in the bottom half of the field, I figured I was only hurting Woods' performance by watching. I backed off, shut the computer down and went out for a meal.

I made a conservative effort to not stay glued to my phone for updates, feeling that if I let Tiger do what Tiger does best, then, sure enough, he would come around. I was right. Woods was able to turn around his bad start and with three holes left in his round he was tied for 2nd place and only two shots back. I had to see him finish out, I knew the good mojo was there.

I quickly made my way back to my dorm and was able to log onto a live feed just in time for Woods to tee off on the final hole of the day, a par 5. Sure enough, Tiger landed a beautiful shot on the green in 2, with a chance for eagle and a tie for the lead. It was all but too good to be true until it wasn't. With 30 feet to the hole, Tiger lined up his putt and gracefully took a tap at it as the world, and myself from the United Kingdom, watched him knock it into the hole and take a share of the lead entering the second day of competition.

The crowd erupted nearly as loud as I had from my dorm room. The energy was palpable and with a signature fist pump from our man, he took a gigantic step in the right direction towards capping off this unfathomable comeback.

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