Saturday, September 03, 2005

Turn the radio up, for that sweet sound

A few people have asked about skiing and the state of the Wahoo. Well, I'm still frustrated with my skiing.

The other night I saw 'De battre mon coeur s'est arrĂȘtĂ©' (the beat that my heart skipped) at Electric Shadows. It involved a young man attempting a return to serious piano playing after along absence, engaging a coach to help him prepare for an audition. During the scenes of his piano lessons, I was reminded of my own years of piano lessons, and (oh!) the sense of relief when I finally let go and stopped taking lessons. I never really reached a particular standard of proficiency. I kept going, because that is how I do things, I don't quit, for a long time.

There was a specific scene in the movie was when he plays a certain passage, the teacher says "again", he plays it again, and then again, and then again. I just felt glad that I didn't have to do that any more.

Skiing has gotten a bit like that. During the afternoon lesson last Saturday, I found myself in a painful, familiar cycle of getting tireder and more frustrated by the minute. Taking off behind the instructor, trying to follow his tracks, getting further and further behind. Getting a couple of decent turns in, until the last few when the intructor is waiting and watching and my skiing degenerates into swervy Z-shaped things. Trying to be receptive as he patiently explains the just-one-thing that I should try emphasising or thinking of on the next bit of the run. Remembering how many times I've already thought I mastered that particular aspect, only to lose it the next day, week or year. Feeling like I know enough about what I'm doing wrong to fill a book, and being unable to make my body just do it.

Hell, people have bigger problems than this. My house hasn't blown away in a storm or washed away in a flood. I can probably even find more significant things in my own life to get worked up about, and certainly those close to me can. Still, 'the skiing thing' is a big deal to me. I've thought of myself as a skiier, and have aspired to be a good skiier, for quite a few years. I'd always rather spend my money on a ski trip rather than a beach holiday. I'm at the point where I'm deciding whether to spend a huge sum on a trip to Canada and an intensive bout of coaching. I don't want to do that if skiing's not going to be fun any more. I'm determined to believe that it will be, if I can just get over this hump. But the hump is starting to make me not feel like bothering to get on the snow at all.

I know I should keep in mind that although I've had quite a lot of lessons, I've only ever skiied 5 days in a row, and not many more total days than that in each year. And as I have observed before, that is really not much time to teach the limbs and muscles new tricks.

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