The end of November is one of my favorite times of year. Partially because it’s the first time we’re back on snow and kicking off of the ski season, but also because it’s a time when many people look outward from themselves and give thanks to everyone for helping them throughout the year.
Professional athletes make quite a bit of sacrifice for their sport. Sacrifice and a certain amount of selfishness are required in order to perform at a high level. So much so, that often times the sacrifices other people make for us are overlooked or forgotten. I’m guilty of it too, being blinded to what the people around me are giving up so that I can race fast.
This year I want to give special thanks to those who have made sacrifices on my behalf:
The Coaches who I’ve worked with over the years have given up countless hours out on the trail and in the wax room. These are hours that could be spent with their families. No one wants to stand outside in a snow bank when it’s -10, gloves off, working a video camera; but our coaches do it because they know it will make us better. They sacrifice their health in the wax room and sit through countless monotonous coaches meetings. When things get hard they are on the side of the trail reminding us to “look up” and somehow make it to the finish line when we collapse. From pep talks to heated arguments we owe our coaches a lot.
This year I need to especially thank CXC’s Sponsors for their generosity. They have literally offered part of their company to CXC so that our team will have the best season possible. To think about how much burden it would be on each individual to acquire everything our sponsors have come together to provide us, is immense. It is true that we work hard for our sponsors, but nonetheless we would not be in the same spot without them.
We don’t usually think about it, but The Communities who host our races and training camps give up the use of their trails. This is especially true here in West Yellowstone. For one week the town is taken over by Nordic Skiers, the trails close for three days of racing, and despite all of the shenanigans that occur our hosts invite us back each year with a smile.
My Friends and Family have accommodated my persistent training and race schedules throughout the years. They’ve moved Christmas, postponed birthday parties and waited in hotel lobbies so I can finish workouts. With the holiday season coinciding with ski season it’s never easy to miss another chance to see loved ones. Eating pumpkin pie smothered in whipped cream just isn’t the same via Skype. Even though none of us like being apart, they understand that these things have to be done in order for me to succeed. Their never ending support is priceless.
Most of all, My Parents have made the greatest sacrifices to get me where I am today. In high school they would drive me to the local ski trails two, sometimes three, times a day. On weekends they’d place their plans on hold so I could attend races. They purchased my 1st pair of race skis and have given many more loans from the bank of Mom & Dad with negative interest rates. They’ve stood behind me as I chase unattainable dreams and are the first ones to congratulate me when these dreams come true. They’ve reminded me to keep smiling when I get too stressed. Even when I’ve specifically told them to “keep the _____ away from me” they’re always there when I need them. There are times when their persistence is really annoying, but I couldn’t be more grateful for their investment.
As a community, Nordic Skiers have a lot to be grateful for. As an athlete, I owe a lot to the people who have impacted my career. It’s been a fabulous journey and I look forward to someday being able to pay forward all of the kindness that’s been presented to me.