Rippers and Readers,
I am currently 35,000 feet above the Earth and peering down and seemingly endless snow capped mountain ranges. Given that temperatures broke 100 degrees the past two days at the Sac Town Gold Rush tournament, seeing snow is truly trippy. Being homeward bound is a warm and comforting feeling, which is especially helpful, as the temperature in this airplane parallels the scenery below. Moreover, I’m returning renewed. I cannot decide if I’ve picked up some meaningful, internal souvenir or simply shed some figurative, excess baggage along this trip. In either case, I’ll be returning to Bumpass with refreshed clarity, focus and outlook.
This rejuvenation is right on time, as tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday are completely booked! Sweet! Also, my good friend Shawn Shoresky will be coming all the way from Canada to stay and ski with Paul and I for a week, beginning tomorrow. I met Shawn last year at the Diablo Shores Pro Am and aside from being great company; his influence was central in my decision to give up drinking alcohol this year, which has been a purely positive change. I find it amazing how the need for change can, at times, be so clear and even glaring to others, yet invisible to he who needs it. During my last trip to California, I made the decision to quit drinking. This California getaway has also allowed me to remove certain blinders that I’ve been wearing and recognize the necessity for more positive change.
Before getting to ski in the “Sac Town Gold Rush” this trip to Cali was already worth it’s weight in gold. Flying out struck me as my first real opportunity to enjoy some quiet time and reflect on the long and busy season in Acapulco, as well as the quick transition to reopening the Peace, Love & Waterskiing Training Center for the summer of 2011. With such a broad time period to reflect upon, the details moved to the background and the patterns begun to emerge. I realized, fairly quickly, that in pursuit of my ski dreams and with the full blast coaching schedule I’ve been keeping for over a year now that I have been living life unsettled. I have been in hectic scrapping mode rather than calm, calculated and planned mode. A fitting analogy may be my skiing style vs. say, Nate Smith – scrappy vs. clean – reactive vs. prepared. Digging deeper, I found that this unsettled nature in my life comes more from the imbalance I’ve slipped into than the sheer volume of work or intensity with which I am pursuing my goals. Thus, I have decided that I am in need of some restructuring and reprioritizing.
A wise friend recently told me that he keeps a sign on his desk, reading “Start Anywhere.” I certainly have not mapped out a grand harmonizing strategy but know a few areas that can use some immediate attention. My first priority in the rebalancing act is a commitment to friends and family. In my private ski-quest and as a first-time business owner, I have let those closest to me take a back seat, despite their unwavering support. I suppose I remained blind to this reality, because I didn’t want it to be true.
Along with strengthening the most important bonds in my life, I’ve come to realize that I need just a little more time to connect with myself – the idea here being to avoid such imbalance in the future and to preserve harmony and happiness without compromise. I feel that I’ve been sprinting through my life, the vitality of which, I find preferable to loping, crawling or even strolling. However, sprints are unsustainable. They are meant to be limited and narrow in focus. When one sprints it is impossible to take in and enjoy all of the surroundings and the oxygen pouring into and out of the body. I’m thinking that living at a jogging pace is much more sustainable and would also be inclined toward “stopping to smell the roses.”
I remember my exuberance starting this humble water ski haven. I didn’t write a mission statement because the mission seemed self evident – to grow Peace, Love & Waterskiing (as stated on last summer’s T-Shirt). I was stoked to be my own boss and to go to work in my favorite attire, flip flops (or not) shorts, T-shirt and backwards hat. Charging full speed ahead just seemed to make sense. A year later, I am seeing that sustainability is the greater part of passion. So I’m aiming to re-strike that mark where I can hardly tell work from play, which will require that there are designated times for work and separate time for just play. In essence, I’ve caught my breath and decided to take up jogging (with the occasional sprint, as well as the occasional stroll or even pause).
In the interest of “starting anywhere,” I’ve decided that beginning on the 4th of July (when I will be spending some wonderful family time at Lake Gaston, where I took my first ever ski ride), I will be taking Monday’s off and the Bum Pass Water Ski Club will have a day of rest. I debated it with the CEO, President and Founder of the BPWSC and it just seemed to be perfect. I also plan to introduce some time frames for the other days of the week and my right hand man, Paul, is going to help me get a calendar on the website to show available dates and times, and possibly even begin an online booking process. I aim to remain fully committed to growing the sport and getting every eager skier the chance to slash the awesome waters of Bumpass. My objective is to do this in a far more efficient and streamlined manner, contributing to the quality of the entire training center experience. I’ll keep everyone abreast of these revamping efforts as they take place. With this new strategy in place, I feel that the culture of “Peace, Love & Waterskiing” is set to grow stronger and thus ripple out more profoundly. Be sure your ripple is felt!
Okay, finally, some news about the tournament….
1) A HUGE thank you to the tournament organizers and sponsors (Krista Rogers, Steve Garcia, Dr. Mike Morgan, the Militia Clothing guys, Girls That Fly, Centurion and HO) and to the officials and tournament volunteers. A lot of people worked really hard at quite thankless jobs to make this awesome event possible and I hope they know how much it means to someone in my position.
2) A major thank you to the Goldman family, who were kind enough (or crazy enough) to put me up AGAIN! Their warm hospitality and their cool air conditioning made my enjoyment and success this weekend possible.
3) Shortline Lake is just plain awesome. I can’t imagine a nicer lake to ski on. Will Bush designed this place to a T. The new Centurion Carbon Pro boat pulled all of the slalom skiing and I was highly impressed.
4) The men’s slalom event was one of the most exciting I’ve seen or participated in yet. Nate Smith lit it up (and won) running 41 off twice, leaving a sizeable gap between himself and the rest of us. Chris Parrish finished second and had an impressive 4@41 off, as his high score. T-Gas took third also seing 4@41 in round one. John Travers took 4th, running into 41 all three rounds, with a high of 2.5. Jason McClintock edged me out of 5th place by ½ a buoy. His 2 @41 topped my 1.5 (lesson learned – stand up when you won’t make it to 3), leaving yours truly in 6th. 5th definitely sounds way cooler but I am pleased with my skiing and finish. This is my highest finish in a pro event and the first time I’ve taken home any $$$! I guess now I can really say that I’m a pro skier – ha ha. This tournament was a great tune up and a perfect way to start the season. I feel all the more prepared to reach for the top 5 in the coming tournaments this season.
5) Women’s slalom was a fierce battle. Whitney McClintock held her ground and took the title, holding world record holder Regina Jaquess and former world record holder Karina Knowlan off with some impressively strong skiing.
6) The women’s jump podium was an all-international crowd. Natalia Berdnikava stood atop, England’s Jacinta Carrol and Denmark’s Maj Jepsen.
7) In the Men’s jump Ryan Dodd (3rd) and Zack Worden (2nd) tried to outdo the NIGHTMARE but by the third round, Freddy Krueger had already solidified his victory to remain king of the air. For an athlete who has dominated Jump, like Andy Mapple did slalom, Freddy, like Andy, is as humble as they come. Freddy is also a great ambassador for the sport of waterskiing and was also among the pivotal people who made this tournament happen.
Finally, new T-Shirts will be arriving this weekend! I’ve also got baseball hats on the way and later in the summer should be getting some other fun goodies like water bottles, coffee mugs, floating key chains, stickers, etc. If you won’t be coming to Bumpass this summer but would like this years Peace, Love & Waterskiing T-Shirt, I’ll be happy to ship them out. If you’d like to see them first, I’ll work on getting a picture in an upcoming newsletter and/or on my website.
Thank you, great friends, for being a part of my journey, which is continuing to lead me to new and great places. Also, if you’ve read this far, you may have gotten a little more acquainted with me than you intended and may be emailing me to have your email address removed from my list. However, this list has primarily grown through personal connections and encounters and I consider you all dear friends. As such, I guess I’m now saying, thanks for being there.
P.S. I won’t mention Slappy or Crappy in this email.