Sunday, December 04, 2005

I'm Too Old For This

I used to hear this phrase when I was younger and think, “baaa- you’re never too old for anything!” Well I’m here to tell you – WRONG! Today I learned the hard way that for the first time I actually AM too old for something.

Something called snowboarding.

Here’s the thing. I’ve been a skier since I was about 10 years old. I’ve skied a lot and am good at it. But at the end of the last season I realized that my skis had exceeded their lifespan. The flex was gone and the edges were shot. Plus, they were the “old” style of ski, without the hip new parabolic curve.

In the meantime, all three of my kids have become ace snowboarders and have been bugging me for two years now to “convert” from skiing to snowboarding because, as they put it, “it’s way cooler!”

So this was year I had a choice. I could either invest several hundred dollars in new ski gear and commit to that sport for the rest of my life - or pick up a used snowboard and give that a shot. If nothing else just to see how I liked it. If I hated it, I could resell the snowboard and keep doing the ski thing. And if I loved it, I could upgrade my snowboard next year. I’m so logical that way.

And so I figured what the heck, what have I got to lose? What harm could possibly come from a 44 year old man trying something brain injury-threatening for the first time?

I wish I had a video tape of how far my wife’s eyes rolled up when I walked in the house yesterday with my snowboard. It was the most sarcastic roll I think I’ve ever seen. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen one simple eye roll imply quite so many statements. Here's what I saw:

1. Paa-leeeeze.
2. How old are you?
3. This outta last a whole week.
4. Please don't let the neighbors see you hauling that thing out of the house.
5. Oh great what's next, a red Corvette convertible?

Anyway, after my wife had finished her jokes I grabbed the kids and headed out to the slopes. Now don't forget, I had been watching the kids snowboard for the last 2 years so I was certain that I had it all figured out. I mean how hard could it be? If a gazillion little kids can do it I most certainly can do it too.

the killer snowboardthe unsuspecting victim ...................................the unsuspecting victim

the killer snowboard

So when we arrived I headed up the hill, sat down and strapped on my board and stood up. "So far so good!," I said to myself. Next I pointed my board downthehillward and immediately started picking up speed. Suddenly I heard the survival instinct part of my brain yelling, "HELLLLLLP!!!! Are you nuts? What the hell do you think you're doing?" followed by "ABORT, ABORT abandon mission!" followed by a pathetic attempt to do something about the speed I had now accumulated.

SLAM! Down. Face first, into the snow. "Shit," I said (and not to myself), "that hurt like hell!" But no problem, just a slight miscalculation. I'll just stand back up and try it again. So again with the pointing myself downward and again with the immediate SLAM! Also again with the "Shit!"

And so on for the next 10 attempts until the logical part of my brain became jarred loose and came up with an idea. "Hey you dumb shit, why don't you take a lesson?"

Hmmm, that's just crazy enough that it might work, I thought.

Enter Allisa, my teenaged ski instructor. "Good luck," I said when we met. But Allisa was a professional and insisted I would do just fine. "I'll have you boarding in no time." HA! That was going to be a good trick.

But the reality was, she DID help me. Much like a Marine commander she was relentless. "Get back up and let's try that again," she ordered. "Don't stoop over, you look like an ape," she demoralized. "Chin up, chest out," she demanded. Ok, she didn't really say that last one, but here's the most common things I did hear her say:

"Steer with your back foot only"
"Center your weight over your board"
"Bend your knees"
"Stick your butt out"
"Try to retain control"
"Stop flailing your arms!"

The truth is, I did learn a few things yesterday - how to stop, how to steer and - how to fall down. Oh, and I also learned that the real pain doesn't kick in until the next morning. But the most important thing I learned?

I'm too old for this!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't know whether to stand up and applaud or give you one of those patented Charli eyerolls. I'd say you were crazier than me, but then I tried out for The Amazing Race. How did I think I would survive that if they picked me?