For the first time since I was about 12, maybe 13 years old, I decided to hit the slopes and give snowboarding a try this past weekend.
I had only been snowboarding twice and each time was over a decade ago. My buddy has been wanting to get into it all winter and all winter I either had work or other plans, but finally, this past weekend I carved out some time to make the trip.
My performance was atrocious, but looking back on it, I am so happy I went.
My first mistake was trying to dive right into one of the main trails of the mountain. I was at Wachusett Mountain in Princeton, Mass. About halfway down the mountain I had to pick up my board and finish on foot. I went straight to the bunny slopes from there.
I certainly improved throughout the day, and had I had just a little more time I probably could have given an actual trail another go. My day pass expired and I had to settle for my mediocrity.
I’d be lying to you if I said there were not times of frustration. I took a number of falls, some pretty hard. I left with bumps and bruises throughout my body and am still pretty sore.
As the damage began to build in the later portion of the day and as I felt the energy get zapped from my body, I had a moment at the top of the hill that gave me a second wind.
It was a cloudy, cold morning. We arrived at 8 a.m. and the temperature was at a bone-chilling 10 degrees. That’s not including the drop in temps at the higher elevation.
In the early afternoon though, there was one point where I took a breather and just sat at the top of the hill. During the break, it began snowing, and I spent about 15-20 minutes just overlooking the valley and forest below while the snow began collecting on the treetops.
It was then that it hit me that although I was tired and beat up, I had made the right decision. I went on to board for another 2-3 hours and soaked up every second of it.
Do I miss the summer? Do I miss sitting on the beach, watching the ocean? Do I miss the warm nights sitting by the campfire with just shorts and a hoodie? Of course, but this was a different scene that I have grown out of touch with as I have aged.
I never reached my peak performance and I wish that I prevented a few of the falls I took. But ultimately, I gave snowboarding a chance, improved, spent time with my friend, but more than anything, I got a chance to enjoy the great outdoors and say that I was active during the time of the year that I am usually sedentary and huddled inside.
Now, would I recommend snowboarding for anyone that is interested? I would, but I would tell you to proceed with caution.
Unless you having skiing experience or are an exceptional athlete, you will fall, you will get hurt, and you will get frustrated while learning. However, if you go into it with an open mind and some patience, and truly appreciate the outdoors, then you will absolutely have a good time, especially once you get the hang of it.
The biggest lesson that I learned was to try new things and to remain patient during times of adversity. We have all heard that plenty throughout our lives, but there are times where it is nice to have the reinforcement.
I definitely will be snowboarding again this winter, it’s kind of pricey, and I am no longer that young kid that can take a beating and keep bouncing back, so I will pick and choose my battles accordingly. But, I am excited to say that I tried it and am looking forward to getting better the next time I hit the mountain.
One more topic that I want to touch on from the past week.
Prior to the start of the high school basketball season, a big question that I had was whether or not the Bishop Hendricken Hawks would be able to recover after graduating Bobby Fiorito and Andre De Los Santos, and also losing Tyriek Weeks after he transferred to Pilgrim.
Hendricken coach Jamal Gomes, in my opinion, is the best coach in the state and has a program that churns out wins every year. Although I felt that this team had a high floor, I was pretty unsure about the ceiling.
Now, as we approach the second half of the regular season, it is clear that Hendricken will be right in the mix for a state championship, and that is much thanks to junior guard Sebastian Thomas.
There was some buzz surrounding him going into the winter as he began to emerge late last year. However, the jury was still very much out.
Gomes expressed confidence in Thomas in the early going, and has officially handed the reigns to him as the leader of this team on the court. He has been their best player so far, and arguably the best player in the state.
He is truly a do-it-all guard. He can score from the inside or the outside, work on the glass, shoot from distance. He’s an efficient passer, can call plays, contribute on defense, he truly has been outstanding to watch.
Hendricken also has guys like Angel Sanchez, Helio Souza, Sebastian Basilio, Jason Onye, this team has some legitimate talent and depth.
It is clear though, that Thomas will be the x-factor moving forward, and this team will likely go as far as he can take them.
The Hawks had their biggest test to date last night when they took on the defending state champion North Kingstown Skippers. The results were not available at press time, but I am excited to see what the rest of the year brings for this club.