The Breckenridge Beacon·Sunday, May 1, 201694 Reads
Wow gang! I look back and realize that it’s been two months since I wrote anything other than clinic outlines, letters of intent, or season synopses. Sadly, I had let my faltered journey toward Examiner Selection get in the way of writing for The Beacon… when, in reality, writing is exactly what I should have been doing. It may have kept me along a little more focused path!! Oh well, live and learn, I guess.
As many of you know, my bid toward E1 didn’t quite pan out as well as I’d hoped. I was relying on my previous experience as a Freestyle Examiner to carry me over the top. (In MANY ways, it did!) I felt very strongly that my experience as a clinic leader, the positive feedback that I had received from participants, and my rapport with other Ed Staff members would be enough. But it wasn’t. I had fallen into the trap of believing I was ready, and stopped preparing! I didn’t sufficiently familiarize myself with the job I was applying for. I also spent too much time preparing for task-oriented skiing, and fell short on precision skiing. Both were painfully brought to light throughout the selection process.
In addition to my own failure, and before I got to go through any “process” to help me cope with all of it, I watched some very good friends wade through their own private messes. Instructors who failed their Level III exams, Fellow E1 Candidates who also were not selected, and National Team Candidates who got sent away with no coin. In an effort to be supportive for them, I missed my own opportunity to make some notes while my wounds were still fresh.
So now we are here. How do I forge a path toward next year’s selection? Where do I find the desire to put myself through all that again? When do I make the time? Do I even WANT to? Who do I reach out to for help? Why is this goal so important to me? To others?
All questions that have needed answers over the last 3 weeks. If you’ll indulge me, I’ll make an effort right now.
“Do I even WANT to?”
You bet. My time as a Freestyle Examiner has been amazing. I get PAID to travel to ski areas, and help other ski instructors develop their skills in eye-opening, and fun ways. I get to do what I love to do, and meet like-minded people from all over the region. It’s opened doors to some international opportunities that I hope come to fruition…. But Freestyle has a shelf life. At age 44, I’m starting to feel the physical effects of years of jumping, sliding rails (and colliding with them!), old injuries, and tweaking my joints time and again. Becoming an Alpine Examiner represents an avenue for me to keep doing what I love to do without beating myself up too badly.
“Why is this goal so important to me? To others?”
I feel that if I’m to bring to my ski school all the things that I say I want to… I need to validate them by putting in the time and the work. I do a lot of certification training for my ski school, and it’s important to me and the organization that the training I offer is current, and accurate. I can’t get that level of accuracy by only attending RM’s Fall Training. I gotta stay in the mix as a member of the Education Staff.
It’s also important to me that I honor the people who have helped me in my career as a skier. South Dakota, New Mexico, and Colorado. Everywhere I’ve taught there have been skiers and snowboarders who have served as mentors and examples to follow. I consider myself a melting pot of all those people, and I’m eternally grateful to all of them. Every single one. To stop, or even stall, my journey at this point would only serve to disrespect their skiing, their leadership, and the work they all did to help me when I was a new instructor!
“When do I make the Time?”
This one is tough. I’ve made myself a busy person! I seem to be able to carve out moments in the summer time, and in the evenings to write, and to document thoughts on high-level skiing/teaching. THOSE moments are why I was so successful with on-snow presentations at both the National Team Selection (2012) and this years Examiner Selection. Without a doubt I feel pretty unstoppable when it comes to engaging and challenging a group of skiers to become better. My real challenge lies in the skiing itself…
…And there lies the rub. I am challenged with finding time to SKI. No. Not just ski. SKI UNDER SCRUTINY. My winter schedule is a tornado of travel, training, teaching, guiding, and training….. and training. So it falls upon me to find a segment that I can put aside for a season. I’ve yet to decide which, but the result will be that I find a day a week to grab a mentor and put some miles on precision skiing. It simply has to happen. Those who grew up with me know that I was a middle of the road athlete, so it’s no easy task for me to push things to this level. I have the work ethic to put in the time, but along that rationale, I’m perfectly capable of becoming pretty competent at the wrong thing!
“Where do I find the desire to put myself through all of that again?”
Well. Skiing is what I’ve done for a living my entire adult life. I have to be honest here. I’m not NEARLY as good at anything else in this world. Skiing is it. So it only makes sense that if I want to improve my skills, solidify my place in the business, and make more money… I have to continue to try. I’m closer to this level than I was 4 years ago by A LOT, and some of the feedback I received from respected leaders in this region keep me moving forward. One thing I learned in my home town? The worst thing you can do in a fight is stand there with your hands in your pockets.
So there it is. I’ve sufficiently talked myself into standing in front of the E1 Selection again next Spring. My hope is that my journey here will encourage others! If you are on the path to the next level of certification, or going to a job interview, or getting over a failure of any sort, figure these few things out:
1. The destination must be worth the journey… and you must make that determination before you embark.
2. The opportunities for improvement lie in the failures, not the victories.
3. You are not your skiing. Feedback that suggests that you improve your skiing skills is not a naked attack on your personality.
4. Keep your strengths sharp, but REALLY put into the areas that you know you need to improve. In my case, I need to put aside pride, ski on skis that I don’t really want to ski on, and let someone rip into my skiing. I don’t want to. It’s going to suck for a little while. It won’t be fun. I’m going to do it anyway.
5. Don’t lose “you” in any of this.
Thank you all for letting me vett some of this out. It means a lot to me that I can put my thoughts out into the world. Maybe, just maybe, you see yourself in any of it and realize you’re not alone. Perhaps some of you can find some semblance of motivation toward your own goals. If either of those things happen, this page is worth the effort!
Kevin “Spag” Eddy
“We cannot achieve perfection. But if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”
The Breckenridge Beacon