It’s been a while since I have written, not because I don’t have much to say, but because the world is busy and we all have our lives filled with ups and downs. I’ve had many in the recent months. The latest was winning the first day of a world championship and losing the second day. It is never easy to achieve your goals.
Sometimes, actually, most of the time, I am all about playing to win. I do not make any bones about it. I do what I believe in. It leaves little room for regret and “what if.” It sounds good and we can all relate to regret or trying to do what we think is best to avoid any regrets. Often, the result is a consequence of an action or reaction and our emotional response is either happy or sad. The best part of either one is that we get to feel emotion in our body and mind. It is a rush either way. It makes us feel alive.
We all want to be happy, but to enjoy happiness we need to experience sadness. Right now, I feel no regret, but sadness and happiness all in one. I am happy because I tried my best and gave my all after training to be the best at what I do over a two day period in February 2012. I am sad because I failed, even at my best, because I lost focus and lacked the ability to be mediocre. I haven’t any regrets because I put it on the line and didn’t only want to win and be the best, but be my best. It cost me my second World Championship title in “Para-Snowboarding.” On a day that I was the fastest, I made a mistake and I did not win; I lost.
Mistakes can’t always be erased by flipping a pencil. I am devastated right now. I am dealing with the pain of failure. Let me draw you a picture.
It is a cold sunny Sunday in the Southern Alps of France. The day before, after my best two of three races down a snowboardcross course, I am ahead by more then a second, which is a lot. I don’t know that I actually have a second lead before my first race, just that I am ahead. I am racer 34 and my main competition are racers 5 through 9. One of main competitors comes up and complains that the two guys who are in 2nd and 3rd place laid down very fast times. At that moment, I decide to race as fast as I can and eliminate any doubt of winning. The course is fast and I have a near perfect run.
The speed is fast and I hit the second last feature, I pyramid box but neglect to pre-ollie the up-transition and fly way over the downside transition into the flats. I bounce and and wipe out to the left of the up transition of the last step-up roller jump to the finish line. I realize I have to hop like a frog to get up and around the last flag into the finish. I am shaken up and lost my lead. My give away race was just given away.
The next race the order is reversed and I go near the front, I have a mediocre and safe run. It wasn’t pretty but it was competitive. The faster guys get to run twice before I run again. I go and re-wax my board because the conditions have changed substantially. The men race their runs but I am unsure how they have done and I am ready to put it all on the line and do my best.
I am in the start gate and ready to go, relaxed and focused. I come out of the gate and everything is perfect, I race an almost perfect race for me. I come out of the last turn to hit the pyramid feature and this time I pull up my legs and pre-jump the top of the transition. I am going very fast and although I don’t get a lot of air, I fly over the down transition. I am so excited as I look to the last feature, I feel like I am on the ground and and crossing the finish line. I wasn’t looking at the landing, I was looking at the finish line, happy and excited. I am sure I have won the World Championship.
I hit the ground still looking at the finish; not at my landing. Next thing I know I am spinning up the next transition. I am wiping and out and I didn’t even see it coming. I am going so fast I am almost at the top of the next jump. It is over. I was my best until I lost focus and forgot to look where I was going. I was heartbroken. What had just happened? I had it in my grasp. The only thing I can say it is like, is when you are wide open in football and you turn to get the touch down but forget to fully catch the ball or the net is open in hockey and you get too excited and fan on the pass to win the game. I forgot to finish my landing and caught an edge. The game was over. I lick my wounds and congratulate my competitors. I lost what I had fought for and now I deal with the consequences.
It is always difficult to deal with the truth. The truth in this circumstance is i lost focus on what I was doing. The consequence was failure. Nobody is as hard on my ego as I am. Friends and family don’t care if I win or not because I am living out my dream and they support me. Yet, the government, papers and Snowboard Federation and the general public, only really care about the win. I am in their boat. I care about the win and I am still devastated. I need to learn to let go and move on but it is hard. Life is hard and falling short of your goals is disappointing.
Hard work pays off. I worked hard training for this World Championship. I was in first place after the first day; which would usually mean a World Cup victory for that day. The second day of races, I did not win because I a made a judgement error and a technical error by losing focus while racing at top speed. I have learned from this experience and although devastated because I didn’t win, which was the main goal, all of my other goals to give me the best chance to win were met. This is why I haven’t any regret.
Thanks for listening and for your support.
“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”