In my first year of teaching, the Ski Club director asked me to be a chaperone. It was a volunteer position, and I didn’t know how to ski, so I wasn’t really interested. When I told her I had never skied, she told me I could take a lesson. I replied “I don’t have enough money.” She told me it was free. When I told her I didn’t have equipment, she told me I could rent. I replied “I don’t have enough money,” and she told me that was also free. Same with the lift ticket.
It was impossible to argue with the math. So, there I was a few weeks later, taking my first lesson. I was nervous, but I remembered what I had learned from my stick-shift odyssey: new things are difficult, but anxiety only makes them harder.
I knew I would fall. And I did. A lot.
But I also knew I would not fail. I would learn, little by little, and eventually, I would be a competent skier. I allowed myself setbacks, I smiled through frustration, and I got better.
Four years later, I became Ski Club director. By then I was an OK skier, but I remember the day that changed.
I led a trip to Mt. Tremblant in Canada. I was skiing with my girlfriend and the former ski club director when it clicked: suddenly, my hips were doing a flowing, back and forth movement. It just felt right, and I knew for the first time I was really skiing.
Maybe I would have gotten to that moment with my old attitude, but I would not have had nearly as much fun getting there.