Artful Escape

In this section I will attempt to convey my ability to form sentences in a way that tells a story that does not involve reporting on sports. Reflections, current events, or random thoughts are what you will most likely see here. If anyone has any recommendations feel free to leave them in the comments section. Enjoy!

Most of my life revolves around sport. Whether it be playing, watching, reporting, debating, scheming, coaching, critiquing, or criticizing, it never ends. And while most people use sport as a way to escape from their normal lives for a few hours, any of the aforementioned activities take more in-depth thought than my day job. While I love sports, I also need to escape from it for some periods of time. Whether that be 45 minutes or an entire day, the length doesn’t matter, the getaway does. Obviously an escape needs to be something that eases your stress, brings you peace of mind, clears your head, and constantly entices you to stay lost forever.

I am lucky enough to have two. In the winter it is snowboarding, in the summer it is surfing. This is not to say that playing sports is not relaxing, but for an overly competitive person it is usually more important to perform well and win than to relax during game play. When taking into account the prerequisites for an ‘escape’, sports simply do not fit the bill.

There are no words that can describe what it is like to glide down an untouched forest of pure powder as the sun comes up over the mountains in the distance. As the brightness and warmth of the morning sun combine with the frigid mountain air and heaps of snow a feeling of oneness with the earth uncontrollably washes over you as if you were simply breathing in happiness. I understand that not everyone has a connection quite like that. Some people view snowboarding as a nuisance to their skiable terrain, others are frustrated with even learning the activity and often choose to quit after landing on their rear-end a thousand times during the first two days, rendering them unable to sit down comfortably. But for those that stick it out there is a love affair that cannot be achieved through menial tasks.

Some people choose to view snowboarding as an art, and it doesn’t have to be the ‘Shaun White’ version of snowboarding that involves multiple in-air spins while traveling at 40 miles per hour while simultaneously grabbing sections of the board that many people can’t reach while sitting; it can be viewed as art when you carve your own niche into the side of a mountain that was there millions of years before you and will be there millions of years after you leave. It can leave you with an added realization that the world does not revolve around you, so don’t take it for granted. Don’t take any of it for granted.

While the two seem similar the feelings created during the acts of snowboarding and surfing are very different, which is not necessarily a bad thing. What would be the point to copying the same task when there are so many others to enjoy?

Surfing brings with it new sensations, new challenges, and new goals. The next wave you catch is guaranteed to not be the same as the last. Much the same way that a golfer is said to never hit the same shot twice a surfer will never catch the same swell. Each wave breaks a bit different, bringing with it immediate actions required in order to actually stay up and continue the ride. For a true surfer these reactions become instinctive and reading the wave is more of an art form than an assignment.

There are few things harder to do than catch a wave that Mother Nature created (well technically the moon), stand up on a fiberglass board, and ride it longer than 4 seconds down the line. This is why most memories are created while sitting in the water and waiting for something to come in, instead of the swift process of surfing.

There are perks, some of which are visual, some of which are not, and others that are personal to each surfer.

On the East Coast the ability to watch the sunrise over the horizon is offered. A precious moment that causes the water to glisten as far as the eye can see, something that is a mainstay for morning surf sessions and often overlooked. Most people are more interested with watching the sunset than watching the sunrise. However, to me, the idea of watching the day start is more exciting than watching it end.

Sometimes the possibility to see a pod of dolphins or a school of fish comes about; other times its just miles of water that can be glassy, clean, rough, weak, or huge. At that moment all of the stress that one can carry is replaced with an idea; that nothing can come close to bathing in salt water, freezing your toes off, and knowing that there is one good wave that can immediately help you forget all about that, all you have to do is catch it. When you are pulling enough seaweed out of your hair two days after the fact to start a small colony you will be hard pressed to not smile, even though it’s rather gross.

Given the amount of people that make up our world, and the affinity fellow humans seem to have for doing things together, it is tough to whittle out some time for singularity, but it is only in those moments when we can truly appreciate everything and nothing at the same time.

    • Nadine Holman
    • July 15th, 2011

    Very poetic, although I have to say this is still technically sports related as both snowboarding and surfing are sports.

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