Freud: Eagle-Vail’s Del Bosco wins regardless | VailDaily.com
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Freud: Eagle-Vail’s Del Bosco wins regardless

Christopher Del Bosco of Canada competes in the men's skicross competition at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2010. (AP Photo/Marcio Sanchez)
AP | AP

Boy, I’d like a drink right now.

Sorry, that was a little attempt a recovering-alcoholic humor there. (I am a recovering alcoholic – three years and counting.)

Eagle-Vail’s Chris Del Bosco finished fourth in Sunday’s Olympic men’s skicross competition, one spot out of a medal. He fell on the second-to-last jump while in contention for bronze when his ski caught an edge.

Of all the made-for-TV movies that the Olympics seem to produce, I wanted this one to come true. Del Bosco, the all-American kid who has talent to burn, manages to drink and smoke his way out of every athletic possibility, nearly killing himself, only to get a second chance, having sobered up, with a new country in Canada (his dad is Canadian) in a new and crazy sport, and goes on to win gold.

That’s the column I wanted to write and Del Bosco doubtless wanted to live.

Of course, no one also really wants to grow up to be an alcoholic either.

Without violating the Anonymous of Alcoholics Anonymous, I wouldn’t call myself a close friend of Del Bosco’s. We’ve played a few rounds of golf together – I nearly killed him on Eagle-Vail’s 11th two summers ago, sorry, about that, Chris – and, of course, I’ve seen him in meetings when he’s in town. (Del Bosco went public with his addiction battle more than a year ago.)

I root for him because he’s our guy, not just a local who’s made good and is at the Olympics, but because he’s “our guy,” one who knows how difficult it is to put down a drink.

Del Bosco’s personal battle has gotten a lot of ink and air time. It’s compelling stuff, especially with how he managed to live a relatively healthy life skiing and mountain-biking like a demon yet breaking is neck in 2004 without remembering how because he was so drunk.

Taking nothing away from Del Bosco, but there’s really nothing new in his story. Tales like this are told in A.A. meeting rooms throughout the United States and the world every day. The specific details may change slightly, but they are just variations on a theme – we’re alcoholics who can’t stop drinking. We have one drink, and there is no off switch, no “I’ve had enough.”

You can’t imagine a day without booze. Even if you know you’re an alcoholic, and know you have a serious problem, you have no idea how to stop nor do you think it’s possible. (That was certainly the case for me.)

Somehow, someway, the lucky ones – and we are damn lucky – get a wake-up call through a brush with the law (or multiple ones) or entreaties from family and friends or rehab.

Del Bosco is an “all of the above” kind of guy and has turned his life around. Just as recovering alcoholics go their offices, Del Bosco went back to his, which just happens to be an insane ski course with three other guys on it trying to go faster than you.

(One of many reasons I admire Chris is that I’d need a ton of scotch to work up the nerve to do that, and If I survived – not happening – I’d want a barrel of scotch after.)

As his recovery has continued – you’re never cured, it would be really nice if there were a pill you could take – he’s become one of the best in the world, winning three World Cup races and the X Games in just more than a calendar year.

Finishing fourth at the Olympics stinks for the obvious reason – no medal. Physically, he’s OK, his sister Heather Centurioni reported about an hour after the finals. Yet coming that close is so disappointing. (I have other words, but it’s probably not a good idea.)

But when he left the course, went to dinner, and did what ever else he did Sunday, Del Bosco didn’t have a drink Sunday.

And that is bigger than any medal.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.


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