January 22, 2008

First time and a failure

The body is an amazing thing! It is made up of millions and millions of different parts, working together, telling it how to work. Bodies breathe subconsciously, blood flows smoothly throughout the whole system, food gets digested, minds process and store information. Well, it just so happens that when my body was put together, it didn't get it's snowboarding gene...

To begin this story, let me take you back a month and a half. Someone in my ward sent out an email saying that a group of people were wanting to plan a trip to Brian Head up in Utah to go snowboarding. I have never had a burning or incredibly strong desire to go snowboarding, but it's always been there in the recesses of my mind as something I would like to try someday. Well, due to a number of factors: money, needing to take time off of work, the trip being planned for the same week as the beginning of school, the cold (my body and the cold do not get along-not one bit), the excruciatingly long drive (okay, it's not THAT bad... I mean I once drove to Canada...), and the FEAR OF FAILURE, I decided to pass and try my hand-or should I say feet-at snowboarding some other time, when another opportunity arouse. Well, I talked to my Brad brother and after telling him about the trip and what a good deal it was, he decided that we HAD to go.

Okay, let's jump ahead to the ski resort. We got to Brian Head, got our gear, lift passes, and headed to the slopes. I decided to go to the bunny hill to start off. Mckenzie Wright and decided to ride up on the lift together, but due to my shaky start on my board I couldn't move fast enough and missed the seat Mckenzie got on and had to ride up alone-which was okay... it was peaceful (probably the most peaceful part of my day to be honest). My peace, however, was swiftly disrupted when I had to get off the lift. That blasted lift DOESN'T STOP! Thankfully the lady 'manning' the lift exit talked me through it a little (but I still had troubles). I thought I had my footing okay, but boy was I wrong, that slippery little devil (known as my snowboard [this was only the beginning of my trouble]) slipped RIGHT our from under me and I fell right on my face! It didn't hurt, but about 5 people from my group were all right there watching me quite closely. And thus began my adventure. I scooted over to the side by Mckenzie, Tanner (he's my fabulous boyfriend of 3 months for those of you who don't know), and a couple other beginners and near-beginners. We clipped our boards on and everyone but me took off. I got my board on, but for my life I couldn't stand up!!!! It's so slick that every time I tried to stand up that blasted board just slipped out from under me. I look all around me and NOBODY else was having any trouble... After about the ninth failure I have a flash back *******I was about 10 years old and one of my cousins had a skateboard at my grandma's house. Everyone was taking a turn, catching on real quick, and having so much fun. They asked is I'd like a turn and I said, "Sure! Why not..." I mean everyone else was doing it and it looked easy enough... Well I stepped onto the skateboard and tried one little push. I don't know WHAT happened, or HOW it happened, but that thing and my body felt like they were made enemies!! It is a miracle that I didn't get killed: I came awfully close... It was then that I realized that I was meant to have both my feet wheel free, separate, and on solid ground-I guess I had forgotten*******

At this point something in the back of my mind was telling me "Why are you doing this?! You can't even STAND UP!!! You're pathetic... Just give up, go back and try to get your money back. You have been trying to get up for almost 10 minutes and you can't even do that, for Pete's sake!" I almost listened, but then a louder, stronger voice in the front of my mind said, "Who are you kidding?! You're a BURNHAM! You don't give up!!! Suck it up... You can do it!"

It was then that I looked over and saw Brian and Lisa Coleman fresh off the lift: they could have been angels, the way it felt seeing them! [You will know how bad the situation is if you know two of them because they are not angelic in the least bit... haha] Well, Brian was good enough to come over and help me up. It's amazing how much easier it is to get up when you have someone to help you! Brad Brother happened to appear right after Brian helped me up and being the kind, good, teaching, patient brother that he is (yes, Brad IS all those amazing things!) , he gave me a little mini lesson and helped me out. I felt real bad because I was doing such a crummy job and I can only imagine how much Brad wanted to go out and throw some sweet jumps and what not. Well, he told me the basic things I needed to know, and then he physicallt helped me a bit. He help my hips and we boarded down the mountain. The only problem is, it's hard to navigate 2 people at once-we were losing control and gaining speed: a bad combination! We took a tangled, tumbling fall! It was the first one of the day, and I was in the company of one of my favorite people, so it wasn't too bad. Some of our friends saw, however, and said it looked pretty painful...

Brad helped me out for another 15 minutes or so, but then with my encouragement went on his merry little way. Together we had made it 60% down the mountain in 20 minutes; the next 40% would take me almost an hour!

I tried to stay positive on that freezing, lonely mountain, but it was hard-and with every passing minute it I got increasingly colder and it got increasingly harder. 30 minutes later I was about 50 feet farther down the mountain, 5 degrees colder, 5 times more discourages, and had fallen nigh unto 25 times!!! I decided that I needed to just take a little break. The problem with this sort of situation is you can't relax and take it east, you can't sit in a soft, warm chair till you're ready to try again--if you want a break all you can do is sit on the cold snow strapped to your board. As I sat there (for a good 20 minutes) I watched all sorts of people go whizzing past me: teenagers, adults, old people, and (this was the most frustrating...made me want to curse, to be honest) small children! I'm not kidding, there were 8-year-olds who were skiing and snowboarding down that mountain like it was a piece of cake... and there I was--a 21-year-old, and I could hardly stand up on my own! It made me think how unfair the world was...
(This is how I felt...)

Well, after the 20 minutes passed i realized that my bum was numb and losing feeling and that if I didn't stand up soon, I might risk getting frostbite, and i didn't think i could take that--not in the state I was in. So I tried probably 10 more times, and fell about 20 more times (mot sure how that worked, but I feel confident that I fell many more times than I got up... [It was at this point that I decided that I was SO GLAD--beyond measure--that I wasn't born a mermaid or a seal or something of that sort: I diffidently need two separate feet, which can move separately!]) Well, that was all I could take! I decided to unclip half my board and then sort of 'half walk' the rest of the way; I was so close... I unclipped one side and was even MORE clumsy than when I had both feet on the board--no good. I would have to unclip the other side as well and just walk down, like a failure. I got my second foot free, but before I could get a good hold of my board it started sliding down the snowy mountain. I mentioned earlier how slippery those boards were against the snow. Well, that thing went sliding toward the lift, and consequently toward a whole lot of people. With it's great speed it slipped into the mass of people and lift equipment and out of view...

Less than a minute later a worker--a sturdy man in his mid 20s--appeared holding my board, waiting for the owner to fess up. I contemplated running away and not claiming the board, but thought that they would find me eventually (especially seeing as they had my name and number on the paperwork that matched up with that thing). Well, ashamed as could be I walked over to get my enemy--the board. (One of the reasons I never got in trouble in school as a child is because I hate for people[esp. superiors] to be upset with me, and I detest confrontation... Well, no luck of escaping either of those things...) The worker asked me if that was my board.

"Yes, sir."

"Miss, you need to be more careful... there are a lot of people down here and someone could get hurt." (Does he really think I did it on purpose?!)

"I understand"

"You keep a better hold of that in the future, you understand"

"Yes sir, it won't happen again."

I walked away on the verge of tears...

I walked around for a few minutes, glad to be on two feet and in control of my movements again. I spotted Mckenzie and we chatted for a bit. She needed to go inside to find a screw driver to tighten her bindings, and I was happy to tag along. I killed some time with her inside and then she said she would love to go down the bunny hill with me...

The second time I actually got on the same lift bench as her, and coming off at the top I didn't fall--I was actually quite pro (well I didn't fall...) We both got in our boards and started. Sure enough I started with a fall and Mckenzie took off down the mountain--just me and the mountain once again.

I looked around and was pleased to see that there were more beginners this time down (it seems that only people who are hard-core go right when the resort opens... so the first time down I was surrounded only by 'pros'). There was an instructor giving a lesson near me and he could see that I was struggling so he had pity on my and let me listen in on the lesson he was giving. On my opposite side there were two girls about my age: one was okay, one was struggling. We started chatting and I learned that they were called Amber and April. They were going my speed and falling just as many time as me, so we stayed together for a while. Well this time down wasn't as bad as the first time, but it was still rough. I fell a LOT! I was gaining more speed, so the falls were a little more painful... One time I turned backwards, fell on my back, landed hard on my wrist, and hit my head real good.

Once again when I was nearly at the bottom of the mountain I was SPENT! I just couldn't go on... I unstrapped again (this time being super careful with my board) and just as I was getting ready to stand up a tall, blonde, attractive instructor about my age said, "Hey, what're you doing?!" I told him that I was ready to take a break, that I was going to walk the rest of the way down and give it another try later. He said that I had already paid to be there, and made it that far, and I couldn't give up. I told him that it was too late anyways, my board was already off and I couldn't get it back on... "Well, it's a good thing you had an extra set of hands!" he replied, and helped me back into my board. I got back up and rode pretty good before falling next to Amber and April. After crashing, the two of them congratulated me, and I said thanks, thinking they were referring to my snowboarding skills. They could tell I didn't understand what they meant and said, "No, we mean GOOD JOB" and motioned over to the ski instructor who had just helped me out. "Oh! That... Uh, that was nice of him..."

Well, I eventually made it down that second time. I decided to chill in the lodge for a while, and as soon as I sat down I realized how much my body hurt! My head was POUNDING from that fall I took, and my legs were shaky from all that squatting and up and down motion. Once I realized how much my body hurt I decided to just stay in the lodge for the remainder of the day... I visited with everyone I saw, and just killed time. It was fun to hear everyone's stories: victories, injuries, and tragedies.

(Once it was all over... there's the lift in the background)

The next morning when I woke up, I was SO SORE!! Sore places I didn't even know I had muscles! The saddest thing was that my neck was so weak that I had to help lift it up with my hand... I felt like a little baby--like a newborn that can't lift his head on his own; it was pathetic!

But now it's done and over, and my muscles are no longer sore. Now I can look back, think how pathetic and silly I was and laugh about it. People ask me how it was and I simply tell them, "It was an adventure!"