The Vibe, by Ben Harrington
It was an early start for halfpipe training on the frosty July morning. It was still dark as I dragged my stiff sleepy body out of the café onto the lift. I stood on the top the mountain, and breathed in the crisp cool air swarming around me. I took in my surroundings as the sun began to rise, basking the entire mountain in its blazing colours of yellow and red. I felt pretty happy to be alive.
I remember a time when I didn’t feel this good before an event. A time when I couldn’t tap into the vibe which felt that nothing could go wrong, nothing was impossible and nothing would ever dampen this feeling of pure joy.
It was a terrible day, one that I loathe to remember. It started with the wind. As soon as I opened the door I felt it pounding against my body, forcing me backwards. My heart began to sink; I couldn’t compete in these conditions, there was no way I would do well. Negative thoughts continued to cloud my brain. “I don’t want to be here” is all I could think. Even worse, I made no attempt to push them away.
Once I got on the slopes, nothing went well. It was cold, training was going bad and before I knew it, my name was called to the start gate, the wind pressed against my body, holding me back. Standing in the gate, I felt a sense of false hope. I finally pushed myself out, hearing nothing except the evil whistling of the wind and feeling the eyes of everyone watching me. All it took was the first jump for me to crumble; I felt the tears begin to run down my face.
At ten years old, failure was not part of my vocabulary yet; I had not planned for such an unexpected disaster. Even before my run had started though, I had already crashed in my mind. It seems crazy; there was a time when I couldn’t rise to the occasion, when I couldn’t ski to my best ability, or unbelievably, when I wasn’t happy to be skiing at all.
Beams of the sun began to slowly melt the ice of my goggles, putting a smile on my face. Looking down the halfpipe, I got that rich feeling of being alive. I feel so good and know there is nowhere else I want to be right now. I cross my skis, look at the sky, pat my chest, breathe in the fresh, cool mountain air, I am ready to compete.