Friday, November 11, 2011

Just Give It One More Try

Today I'd like to share a story about myself that might not seem immediately related to horses.  But then again, it might...

I grew up on beautiful Paw Paw Lake in Southwestern Michigan, a picturesque place where many of the grand houses are owned as resort homes by wealthy out-of-staters.  My family lived there all year long, and as teenagers, in the summer, we hung out with other lake kids, both local and city kids from Chicago and the like. We all had boats of some type and spent many gorgeous summer days cruising around, or hooking up with other boats of friends.  We also did plenty of tubing, but water skiing eluded me.  We did not own a speed boat*, and somehow, I just never got the chance to learn.  A friend of mine from Illinois happened to be a champion ski jumper - he even had a ramp in the water in front of his house - so I spent plenty of time watching other people water ski, but I was honestly a bit nervous to try.  This particular friend finally convinced me to try it with him, and so one perfectly beautiful summer day, I found myself at the end of a tow rope with two seemingly huge skis on my feet.

Now, I was an excellent swimmer back then, and I had good balance and strength from riding horses for many years, but still, getting up on those skis proved to be pretty difficult for me.  I crashed over and over and over.  I shudder to think how much lake water I probably swallowed.  Go ahead and laugh - it was awful!!  I flipped, flopped and was dragged.  I kept track- I wiped out 12 times.  At that point, my arms were shaking, and I hurt all over.  I was ready to get out, but my friend jumped in the water with me.  As we swam, we laughed at my last 'landing' and then he said, "Try one more time.  For me.  You are so close, I just know it."  Aaaahhhh.  Ok, fine.

Well, wouldn't you know?  I got up, that very next time!  It felt amazing - flying over the water, past the other boats, full of sunbathers watching ME ski by!  I probably looked like a gum commercial, skiing by with a big grin on my face!!  My friends drove the boat in the most gentle and steady manner so as to keep me up, and we managed to go all the way around the lake before my arms gave out.  I let go, and gracefully sunk down into the water, completely and utterly satisfied with myself.  I don't think I stopped smiling either, for at least a week! 

I didn't water ski too much after that, and if I tried it now, it would most likely take me more than 13 tries to get up, but I have never forgotten this lesson.  DON'T GIVE UP. You may make it on your very next try!  How many times are you willing to fall on your face for your dreams?

*Over the years, we had row boats, paddle boats, pontoon boats, and jet skis, but never a speed boat.  When my sister and I would beg our parents for a boat that we could tube or ski behind, my dad would say, "Well, we just need to sell the horses and the trailer, and then we could have a really nice boat."  Yeah, that shut us up fast.  haha!