Vail Daily column: Club is about more than just snow sports
The season is off and running. Athletes and coaches are traveling locally, nationally and internationally for competitions. From the 6 year old experiencing his first Steadman Clinic Vail Cup to the high school freestyle athlete winning U.S. Selections in moguls and finishing eighth in her second World Cup in a field of Olympians, kids are achieving personal bests and bringing their sport to the next level. Months and months of conditioning, trampoline and water-ramp trick progressions, off-season camps and sports psychology sessions are paying off.
Among the most important lessons being learned as the season progresses are those of grit, determination and resilience. There are athletes battling back from injuries and those who are rebounding from early season disappointments. It is a sport where there is only one winner but every competitor can measure success by the quality of their effort. Failure and challenges are critical to the learning process from which new skills and confidence emerges.
TAKING SETBACKS IN STRIDE
Our young athletes learn to view these occurrences not as setbacks but as stepping stones to being a stronger, more resilient person, ready to take on all that life will throw at them. How can parents and friends help these young men and women move through this amazing journey?
First, as painful as it may seem, we have to allow our children to fail … to learn the consequences of their actions and allow the growth and confidence that arises from solving these challenges on their own. We must teach our children to look at each day as part of a long-term process and to focus on the process and effort that is under their control and not the outcome that is not.
Feel the joy of making two great turns or landing a new trick rather than the disappointment of blowing out of the course just moments before the finish. Successful and happy people have an uncanny ability to find and build on the smallest positives while those less successful dwell on the negatives and their disappointments.
Learning to apply these valuable life skills through the vehicle of sport carries over to studies, careers, relationships and the pursuit of personal potential in any domain. The friendships, life enriching experiences and lessons learned far outweigh the wins and losses that seem so important in the moment but are soon forgotten. It is not the medals won but the character of the athlete that is the true measure of success.
Imagine all that our children are learning about life through the avenue of snowsports! At the end of the day what do we really want to see for the children of our community — that they go on to lead successful and productive lives as happy, resilient adults with empathy and compassion for those around them. For over 50 years Ski & Snowboard Club Vail has influenced the kids of the Vail valley as they have grown up while pursuing their dreams on snow.
I encourage our community to come experience Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s first Hall of Fame Celebration on Feb. 7 at Four Seasons Vail and celebrate the stories of 13 individuals who have made a difference by inspiring and supporting our kids.