Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Why am I doing all of this anyway?

My First Snowboard Jacket
In the process of repairing my crash pads, and tending to a small bruise in the one area not covered by the pads, the question flashed through my mind: why am I doing all of this? I also wondered why my butt pads keep ripping during crashes, but ignoring the jokes I'm sure are to come from my brothers about "the caboose being loose," I'm focusing on the first question...

Why am I doing all of this? 

I remember walking into the northern California skate shop during high school with my family. I was one of the most angst-ridden 14-year-olds ever (and apparently didn't smile in photos, see snapshot below), trying to be cool while picking out my first setup, completely focused on snowboarding (the rest of the family wanted to ski). We traveled back to Chile with all of our equipment and I loved every moment in the Andes. Then we moved from Chile to North Carolina, I went to college in New Jersey, fractured my neck during freshman year while riding at Killington during a college trip, and didn't ride for 10 years.

I still have my Burton shell from high school (ca. 1993), complete with a corduroy collar. During those ten years, every time the temperature hit the right number and the air had just the right humidity, I could smell the snow coming. Also during those ten years, I never could put the Burton jacket in the "get rid of" pile when moving (even though I sold my board after college, thinking I'd never ride again). I discovered a passion for environmental research during college and grad school, and chose to pursue a career protecting the environment, which landed me in the Pittsburgh region. I currently work on research to ensure the safe development of energy resources.

Why am I doing all of this now? 

Because it's who I am. 

[A Red Bull commercial just played on tv and the following statement stopped me in the middle of my typing: "the challenge of my life is to find out how far I can take it." Appropriate timing, thank you tv.]

In the same way I've pursued my passion for protecting the environment, I'm pursuing my passion for the snow and for riding and for riding very fast. The videos and the training and everything else may just seem like good times, but all of this is hard work. Through this hard work I've developed a focus, I'm sticking to my line, attacking features...with racing, with my research, with the people I love, with everything.

This is who I am and I'm taking this life as far as I can.