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The Race Before Us | Oklahoma Sports & Fitness, January / February 2015 Issue

Face down in the snow, I lay paralyzed by frustration. I calculate that I have traveled a mere thirty-two feet in the past hour. My skis lay somewhere north of me, likely lodged in the mogul I miserably miscalculated.

By now, my fellow spring breakers are relaxing at the picturesque log cabin lodge at the bottom of the mountain. They’ve already had their perfect buffet lunch and are contemplating stepping into the hot tub, as I lay motionless on the frozen tundra. Soon, the forecasted blizzard will sweep over me, and my head will be buried. Choppers will begin circling this evening, but it will be too late. On my tombstone, it will be written: “He just made a wrong turn.”

Forgive the theatrical interpretation of my first ski trip. Too many dramatic movies, and too much time to daydream.

You see, after my first two successful trips down, I was anxious to try something a little more challenging (and point those skis directly downhill), and I somehow missed the big solid black arrow pointing down and the fat words “double black diamond.” This wrong turn could have quickly transformed a day of fun new experiences into a day that I (and my knees) will never forget.

Arriving at the base of the mountain, I find that I have not missed lunch at all. It’s just that my friends were able to make 212 trips up and down the slopes while I fought with the extended family of moguls. Now safe and warm in the lodge, we can laugh about my predicament, and look forward to a full afternoon of skiing together.

On our way up the ski lift, I appreciate the sight of clear, smooth ski slopes like never before. I not only aged five years on that double black diamond mountain, but the circumstances rapidly taught me some ski control.

I was proud that while still on Mount You-Might-Die, I gave my best effort and took whatever action I needed to get down. I didn’t sit and weep about the unwanted circumstance (mostly because those tears would have froze to my face).

What if I had not encountered that untimely black diamond slope? I would be void of the confidence of overcoming such obstacles, and the afternoon experience would not be as rich.

One of the greatest American sprinters of all time, Michael Johnson, once said, “The only one who can beat me is me.” The eight-time World Champion and four-time Olympic gold medal winner overcame his fair share of obstacles. Today we can look back and see: a stress fracture before the 1988 Olympics and food poisoning prior to the 1992 Olympics only fueled his fire for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics where he was dubbed, “World’s Fastest Man.”

In this issue, you’ll read of outstanding Oklahoma athletes who have had nothing handed to them. They’ve had their fair share of moguls to overcome, and continue to battle and shine even brighter.

Whether or not we make a wrong turn, 2015 will inevitably bring us those obstacles of life. We can bank on it.

What will be your response when you encounter the bumps in the road? Will you lay face down at the foot of the moguls? Or will you attempt to move mountains?

Sean M. Call, Publisher/Editor
Oklahoma Sports & Fitness

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