Ski Bums, Babes and Bros,
When I heard the news that Japan had a devastating earthquake, my
heart skipped a beat for the affected residents. It was the 7th
largest earthquake ever recorded and has continued to produce over 100
tremors registering over 5.0 on the Richter Scale.
When I heard that it produced a Tsunami that was heading across the
Pacific and toward me in Acapulco I thought that the skiing may be
ruined for the day (which it was as a safety precaution) but it may be
a good day for my newfound hobby: surfing. Then I remembered that I’m
not very good at surfing yet. From the safety of Gordon’s Villa at
over 1,000 feet, I thought this break from routine would make an
excellent opportunity to check in with my ski friends far and wide.
Since my last newsletter, I got my sights set and hopes up for going
to the 52nd Masters Tournament this May. Earlier this week, I learned
that the qualifications/invitations don’t work the way I hoped the did
and I won’t be going to the Masters this year. On the bright side,
this means that the Bumpass Ski Club will be rockin’ in full force
over Memorial Day weekend! It also means that I will recommit to
experimenting with ski set ups, fins, bindings and drills rather than
measuring my practice by how many buoys I run. I also have a head to
head against Andy Mapple scheduled in April, which I am totally pumped
I’ve enjoyed seeing a group of familiar faces this week in Acapulco,
as the Whitlock family came for a week of R,R&S (Rest, Relaxation and
Skiing). Ellie, Charlie and Johnny shredded the Lagoon this week and
their form looked as good as ever and were able to progress in this
short week. Seeing young skiers take extended breaks and then come
back full force always makes me jealous. I’ve been working out hard
and racking my brain for ways to improve since November yet they can
equal my improvement in one week on spring break. NO FAIR! The
Whitlock crew’s presence has also made me think ahead to the summer
skiing and all the great times and skiing to come on their lake in
As these friends leave, a new familiar face will be leaving with them.
Michael Friedman is a 71 year young skier and retired lawyer from San
Francisco. Michael is also a TALKER. I’ve met some chatty folks in
my day but this guy is NON-STOP. When Gordon told me he would be
staying for two weeks, I wondered how I was going to keep my patience
in check. When I found out that he would be staying for multiple more
weeks I began to question how much I really like my job… (Just so
everyone knows, Michael is sitting next to me right now and I have
told him that I am raging on him – as usual). And what I’m getting to
is that over these last five weeks, despite hearing the same stories
and jokes over and over, I have grown to truly like and admire
“Miguelito.” Michael is one of the most interesting and kind hearted
people I have ever come across (despite the constant monologuing). I
am proud to say I have made a great new friend these last few weeks
and I will be sorry to see Michael leave tomorrow. Fortunately he is
coming back in three weeks for another three weeks!
Now for those of you who have read through all of that, I have a REAL
TREAT! The Trailer/Teaser for “The Adventures of Buoy Wonder” (the
movie I am starring in with Marcus Brown) is OUT. Thanks to Joel
VanRysselberghe for his editing talents, the trailer is great. The
trailer can be found on my website PeaceLoveandWaterskiing.com in the
“Photo Gallery.” Be sure to check it out and feel free to leave a
comment. I’m working toward making my site more interactive. I’ve
also added my article on “Water Skiing vs. Lame Olympic Sports” which
you can find under the “Recent News” section on any page. Also in
this section there is a Poll called “What will be the Most Popular Ski
of 2011” that you can vote on, if you would like. In this section you
will also find this newsletter and the other most recent newsletters.
Every newsletter since July can be found at the bottom of each page in
the “Monthly Archives.” Whatever you do, check out the video, it’s
going to be a YouTube sensation!
We haven’t seen the Tsunami roll in yet but it has been nice to enjoy
a quiet afternoon with all of you skiers of the world. I hope
everybody has a great weekend.
P.S. Taylor and Maddie and Heather Miller are down in South Florida
ripping up the waters at Okeeheelee and the Palm Beach Training
Center. Tay and Mad fall into the same category of young slashers who
haven’t practiced since October yet can pick right up where they left
off! NO FREAKIN’ FAIR! It’s also no fair that I haven’t seen them
since X-Mas time and I miss you guys!!!!
There is no event in the world like the Olympic Games. The best athletes from across the globe gather to compete for the highest honor of all sports. Who couldn’t enjoy watching these competitors draw from a lifetime of training and hard work to represent their homeland and strive for glory? Watching the 2010 Winter Games reminds me what I love about the Olympics: the rivalries, competition, pride, defeat, elation, speed, agility, brute strength, stamina and pure adrenaline.
Glued to the television; my heart pounding; I feel like I am standing right there as the thrower delivers the stone from the hack. The sweepers start sweeping vigorously as the skip starts calling the line. One sweeper’s hand slips on the boom, while calling the weight and, oh no, they burn the hammer before it reaches the hog line!
Yes, curling really gets my juices flowing. Watching non-athletic individuals play an intense version of shuffleboard, to me, captures the essence of the Olympics. All of this excitement has pushed my mind ahead to the 2012 Summer Games. With more events and more participating countries, the Summer Olympics provide constant opportunities to get lost in the type of exhilaration curling provides. It is really no surprise that water skiing has not gained its place in the Olympics when you consider the other summer events that are clearly head and shoulders above it in the “excitement” category. Consider these heartstoppers:
Rhythmic Gymnastics was introduced to the Summer Games in 1984 as an individual event, with the group event being included in 1996. If you can see through the sequin outfits and whirling ribbons, hoops, balls, etc, you will notice the technically demanding elements such as pirouetting and artistic effect. Thus, the event is a combination of extreme cheerleading, ballet and jazzercise. Talk about a mind-bending mesh of disciplines – the Ancient Greeks could never have conceived of such a competition.
Also, introduced to the Olympics in 1984, Synchronized Swimming has become a popular contest. Perhaps its popularity is a result of the fact that almost everyone can relate to this event. Most people have swum sometime in their life or even swim frequently. Also, many have at some point in their life taken part in some form of line dancing and felt pretty cool about it. It is also easy to imagine doing at any age. For example, picture your grandma’s water aerobics class doing the “Electric Slide” in the pool and you have low-grade synchronized swimming. Once again, we see how much we have advanced from the simple minded Ancient Greeks and their concepts of “athletics”.
Rumors are spreading that the 2012 London Games may include Ballroom and Poll Dancing. Ballroom Dancing began to make a push for entry and I recently heard on the radio that Poll Dancing is going to try to ride in on Ballroom’s coat tails. These would be two great events to show once and for all that the modern world has a greater understanding of the Olympic Spirit than the Games’ ancient founders. Clearly, all those ancients ever cared about was who had the most endurance, strength, speed or who could will themselves the adrenaline needed to rise above their humanly abilities in heat of competition. The ancients didn’t understand the importance of style points, choreography and I’m pretty sure sequins had not been invented, leaving competition togas blank.
Events such as Equestrian have gotten smart and changed with the times. In ancient times, speed, jumping and agility were paramount. When Equestrian made its official Olympic debut in 1900 it held onto its legacy and held Polo and Jumping events. After being dropped from the 1904 games, Equestrian changed its tune and added the events of dressing, eventing and show jumping. Since this time, Equestrian has evolved to be more glamorous and less gutsy – a smart move.
Unfortunately for our favorite sport, it’s just a little too “old school.” Water Skiing embraces those ancient ideals of extreme fitness, raw power, blistering speed and sheer adrenaline. With everything from badminton to wrestling, the Summer Games just don’t have any more room for a classic style sport like water skiing, in which competitors go head to head in a “do or dye” type format.
The modern events we’ve discussed seem to have one thing in common. They are not sports. They are all highly skilled, pseudo-athletic events but seem to be more related to the arts than to athletics. In no way does this make them less difficult or less worthwhile – it just means that they take a different type of talent. Just like NASCAR (sorry fans) is not a sport. It takes loads of skill and training to become a great NASCAR driver but it is not athletic skill. It also requires incredible skill to be a world-class tournament tow boat driver but we skiers don’t give trophies and the prize money to the driver.
Perhaps we should push to enter show skiing into the Olympics first. Show skiing involves the athletic skills of balance, strength, teamwork and coordination but crosses them with the artistic appeal the Olympic Committee seems to be going for. Plus, I’m pretty sure sequins can be involved, which always helps. Maybe then, three-event skiing can poll dance in behind our show ski friends. It’s a pyramid scheme; I admit it. What are your ideas?