Monday, February 19, 2007

Successful weekend.

Great weekend all around - Friday night I went by the "Marathon of Notes" event at the University of Ottawa to drop off a bit of cash for leukemia research and watch a show. I saw the University of Ottawa Percussion Ensemble play, and they are terrific. Mrs. Miskell told me that when Allan went to Ottawa U, that was one of the things he loved doing the most while he was there.

By the end of the 24 hours, Caitlin Cope and the rest of the organizers had managed to raise about $3,500.00 for leukemia research, and had put together a wonderful event.

Then Saturday I went up to Mount Pakenham for the big snowboarding competition. I arrived early, got signed up, and took some last minute lessons courtesy of Jeremy, the owner of Riders Village. By the time I went down the bunny hill three times, I felt far more comfortable, and ready to tackle the competition head on.

We had worked out a bit of a gag, because my friends at Spectrum Sound and Vision were filming the whole thing, and we thought it would look great on camera if the stretcher came to take me off the hill. Of course, I was going to fall quite a bit, and we decided that if the first fall didn't kill me, I'd pretend that the second fall did.

As it turns out, I was not hurt, but I was still incapable of getting up after the second fall. You see, I needed to get to the starting gate by a certain time, and I was late. I had taken the chairlift up, and on the way down I missed the turn and ended up at the bottom of the mountain without ever getting to the judge's table.

So instead of trying again, I walked up the hill. I could at least see the starting area from the bottom, and I figured it would be easier than taking the lift again and maybe missing again. But by the time I had trekked up the hill for 20 minutes and got to the table, it was time for me to start. They rushed me up to the starting gate, which meant that I had to jog the last hundred yards up the mountain to the starting gate.

By the time I got there, I couldn't even speak, I was so out of breath. They were nice enough to let a couple of riders go ahead of me to give me a slight chance to catch my breath. But then it was down the hill! Go! Go! And off I went. The lessons paid off, in the sense that I didn't embarass myself by falling down before I even got to the first jump. I was even able to hit the jump the way I wanted to.

For a moment, I thought I could make it. This was maybe the fifth time in my life I had actually gone down a hill on a snowboard, and I was thinking "how will I land this?" as I hit the jump. And I really believed that I could figure it out in the air. It turns out I couldn't, and I had a highlight-reel spill down the hill. I managed to get up almost right away, unharmed, and headed straight for the second jump. Of course I had very little speed this time, and I just fell over the jump. But, out of breath and incapable of moving my limbs any more, it was time for the stretcher to take me down the hill.

Our little "gag" may have worked too well. I went inside to see Mara, from the Children's Wish Foundation, to see how their silent auction was going. She was stunned to see me, having been informed that I had some kind of spinal injury and was likely on my way to the hospital right now. She questioned me insistently, making 100 percent sure I wasn't broken and that my assertions that my bones were fine weren't just some kind of false bravado, a brave face so she wouldn't think I was a sissy.

Of course, that was part of it - I had an enormous crush on Mara in high school, and she was way out of my league then. In point of fact, she still is, what with being married and all. So I didn't tell her how sore I really was. But as it turns out, I was not sore at all from the falls I took, it was from all that damn walking up and doen the mountain. At least the Children's Wish Foundation made some money. And I learned something.

Take the chairlift.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Eric! i was at the competitiopn that day too, (#122) and i had a pretty good view of your run from the top. you should have seen everyone's faces when you hit that first jump... it was priceless, no one knew who you were at the time either, which kinda made it even funnier. we actually got some of your run oin video, damn you're good. haha keep rockin it