The first time I Alpine skied I was thirty-six years old, retired from playing professional basketball and living in Truckee, California, the Gateway to the Sierras. The NBA did not allow players to ski, so I had never tried it. After retirement, I was under no league constraints. I told myself I was a pro athlete, how hard could it be? Harder than I could have imagined. Muscles I had used to play contact sports were not the same muscles I needed to ski. The instincts that I relied upon to play basketball did not help me on the hills. Yes, I had taken lessons and conquered the bunny hill, but now I was on an intermediate run.
I felt as if I was looking down from the top of Mount Everest. I must have started at least a dozen avalanches as I tumbled my way to the bottom. I did not give up, but I'm afraid the mountain gave up on me. At the end of the day, I threw my rented skies into a ravine, wrote the ski rental folks a check, and left the lodge, never to down-hill again. Later, I did learn to Nordic ski, a sport that requires the mental attitude and stamina of a long distant runner. Again, not my cup of tea. Still, you can't live thirty-five years in the mountains without learning to appreciate all forms of Alpine skiing.
The last two months have been wet. As I write this blog from Alameda, California, worrying over the state of the Golden State Warriors, the snow is falling in the Sierras, and men and women, boys and girls are shushing down the ski runs oblivious to seven foot tall Andres Beidrens having a problem being a consistent rebounder.
Years ago I came across this poem, which is one of the best I've ever read about skiing.
Skier by Robert Francis.
He swings down like the flourish of a pen
Signing a signature in white on white.
The silence of his skis reciprocates
The silence of the world around him.
Wind is his one competitor.
In the cool winding and unwinding down.
On incandescent feet he falls
Unfalling, trailing white foam, white fire.
What my musings are all about...
Blogging might well be the 21st century's form of journaling. As a writing teacher, I have always advised my students to keep a daily journal as a way of organizing their thoughts for future writing projects, a discipline I have unfortunately never consistently practiced myself. By blogging, I might finally be able to follow my own good advice.
The difference between journaling and blogging is that the blogger opens his or her writing to the public, something journal- writers are usually reluctant to do. I am not so reticent.
The trick for me will be to avoid cluttering the internet with more blather, something none of us need more of. If I stick to subjects I know: sports and literature, I believe I can avoid that pitfall. I can't promise that I'll not stray from time to time to comment on ancillary subjects, but I will make every attempt to be interesting and perhaps even insightful.