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.

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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17 Hidden Gems At Ohio State

It's a big campus, there are always cool places that very few people know about

With a campus as big as Ohio State's, there are so many different places to study and hang out with friends. There are also so many places that people don't know exist that are so beautiful or just a good place to study.

1. The Wexner Center for the Arts and Heirloom Cafe

While the Wexner is a fairly well-known place on campus and in the Columbus area, a lot of people don't know that students can get in for free and that the exhibits rotate every semester. The attached cafe serves unique and healthier foods than most places on campus; however, they don't accept the OSU meal plan.

2. Orton Hall

This unsuspecting building not only houses the bells but it is also home to the geology museum and library. This rarely visited place on campus has full fossils of a couple animals, not just gemstones.

3. Sullivant Hall

Home to both the Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum and the Barnett Theatre that hosts dance performances, Sullivant Hall has a ton of great opportunities to see the arts in action. In addition to these two attractions, there are also great study spots, and it is fairly empty most of the time.

4. The Ohio Union Study Rooms

Everyone knows where the Union is, but there are a ton of rooms that many people don't know exist, like the study area near the Resource Room and the study lounge on the third floor. Sure, it's one of the most populated places on campus, but there are places where it can seem more private

5. Basement of SEL

Even people who frequently study in SEL don't know that the basement exists. There are classrooms made especially for studying, and there are also a lot of tables that make it a good meeting spot on campus.

6. The Drake Performance Center

This building is out on west campus near the towers, and if you're not a theatre major/minor, odds are you've never felt the need to spend time there. However, the main floor looks out over the Olentangy, and the Department of Theatre puts on most of their shows there.

7. Fine Arts Library

Tucked back in the Wexner Center for the Arts area, unless you're an art major, you probably have never visited it. If you can find it, then you can have space essentially all to yourself.

8. Eleventh Floor of Thompson

While it's not so hidden, the eleventh floor of Thompson is one of the places that have the best view of campus. It's a good place to study and a way to see campus from a new angle.

9. Buckeye Grove

A good place to hang out on West Campus when the weather is nice, it's also the way that the Heisman trophy winners of Ohio State are honored on campus.

10. Chadwick Arboretum

A part of Agriculture campus, the arboretum is not only a beautiful place on campus, but it also teaches students about the different types of trees and plants on campus.

11. Curl Market's Upstairs Dining Room

Sometimes you don't want to study in a library, but you also don't want to eat in a place like Scott where they are a ton of people and noise. Curl's Dining Room has floor to ceiling windows, and it normally pretty empty and reasonably quiet.

12. Biological Sciences Library

If you're looking for a library that is practically always empty, Bio Sciences is for you. It's located on Med campus, so there are fewer people there in general, and there are very few that are studying there all the time.

13. The Columbus Coffee Trail

Near campus up and down High Street, there are tons of coffees shops, so many so that they made it a game to try and visit every single one. Sure, you probably have your favorite, but there are so many in the area and they all have their own charm.

14. Olentangy River Trail

Right out behind the Towers, there is a trail that gives you a chance to get off campus, while still staying close. It's a way to spend time outside and exploring a new part of campus.

15. The Planetarium

The Planetarium is housed in one of the classroom buildings, Smith Lab, and there are different shows about the night sky. It is a wonderful resource on campus but one that not many people know about.

16. The North Market

While it's far from campus, North Market is a good place to visit if you want to try something new or have a large group of people who don't know what they want to eat. It is one of my favorite places to eat in Columbus, and it's not too terribly far from campus.

17. The Younkin Success Center

While this isn't one of the most fun places on this list, it is one of the most important to students. Not only is this a quiet place to study, there are also so many resources housed here, like student counseling and resume review. There are so many ways to take advantage of the resources on campus.

Cover Image Credit: The Ohio State University

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4 Atlanta Sports Programs And Their Desire To Break My Heart

As the naive fan I am, I want to provide a false hope when bearing a sense of shame and embarrassment.

My whole life I've pledged allegiance to every professional team that claims Atlanta as home. But unfortunately, as a fan of Atlanta sports, it has become a never-ending wave of disappointment and pain. From the atrocity we call the Atlanta Hawks to the gut-wrenching losses of the Falcons, it hasn't been the smoothest ride for Atlanta sports fans.

But as the naive fan, I want to provide a false hope when bearing a sense of shame and embarrassment. So I'm going to do just that! I'm going to present to you why I cry every time these teams are on television.

1. The Atlanta Braves

The best thing about the Braves is that it's one of the few teams in sports that don't have a racist logo with an American Indian moniker. Other than that, the Braves are in the dreaded rebuild process. And nobody on this earth knows how long that will take. We made the playoffs in 2012 but lost to the Cards. The Braves is one the longest tenured teams in Atlanta's history and there has been a lot of talent to take us to the promise land. But deep down I long for a dynasty like the Yankees or the Giants. Unfortunately, we're using the farm system as a crutch and are hoping for the best.

2. The Atlanta Hawks

I remember the month where the Hawks starting five were named the players of the month back in 2015. At that time, Atlanta was finally a force in the eastern conference and LeBron James didn't seem so scary. Well, LeBron James turned out to be very scary in his return back to Cleveland and single-handedly destroyed a franchise's, and my, hopes and dreams. We had a failed experiment with Dwight Howard whose specific style of game is going extinct and we had a lackluster run at the draft in recent years. At this point, I'm totally fine with tanking so we can draft the next generation of superstars to Atlanta. As long as I don't feel guilty when I cry in the newly renovated Philips Arena...

3. Atlanta United

The newest sports franchise to call Atlanta home. But coming out the gates in their inaugural season, Atlanta United proved that people care about soccer in Atlanta. The franchise set attendance records and even went to the playoffs to only be kicked out by the Columbus Crew. Atlanta United has a bright future and could be the new light in this dark space in the Atlanta sports world.

4. The Atlanta Falcons

Oh, The Atlanta Falcons. I equally love all the sports in Atlanta, but the Falcons toys with my heart the most. In the past five years the regular season has been a new kind of fun, especially since the Michael Vick incident. But on the sad side of things, the playoffs have always ended in disappointment. From Losing in the NFC Championship to the Kaepernick and the 49ers, to earlier this year losing to the eventual super bowl champ Philidelphia Eagles, it's been full of heartbreak. But nothing compares Super Bowl 51 and seeing Tom Brady literally take my heart and throw it down the field to have Julian Edelman catch it.

Atlanta means a lot to me, not just sports but the city as a whole. Growing up these teams were a way I could be represented to the world as someone who cares about a group of people and not just my own self interests. Forever an Atlanta sports fan, I just want to win a championship for the city of Atlanta. But the thing Atlanta can really boast about is Donald Glover and Migos.

Cover Image Credit: instagram/atlantafalcons

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