My dad started us early with the water skiing. Around age 10, we were bobbing with instability in the lake, barely able to keep the tips of the skis upright.
We had seen our dad ski so many times and it looked so easy. He would zip across the lake and lean against the boat's pull to spray up water, recovering at the last minute. And so, despite the initial wipe outs and frustration, our efforts were relentless--we wanted to ski like dad!
At different points, it clicked for each of us, which bought us bragging rights for the summer.
Once we could reliably get up, the world was our oyster and we would spend the annual trip to Wisconsin working on new goals. When we bored of two skis, we tried dropping a ski. When dropping a ski became sooooo last year, we tried getting up on one ski. When we grew into our bodies, getting up on one ski was no longer challenging, so we started leaning to spray up little walls of water. Ever so slowly, we improved.
I set my sights on walls, or the water that sprays up when you're outside the wake and lean against the pull of the boat. I added the goal to my bucket list, the requirement being that the wall of water would have to be taller than me. My walls got incrementally bigger with each summer, as my confidence and strength grew.
Then came the set backs. In 2012, I ruptured my ear drum during the first few days of our family vacation. With instructions not to go in the water, I was "benched". Despite the doctor's orders, I put an ear plug in my bad ear, duct taped it shut, and tried to ski. Things just weren't the same, though. I skied once post-injury and, due to the fear of getting hurt again, made very little progress.
In the year following the ear drum rupture, I stopped lifting weights in favor of distance running. At the time, it didn't seem like a big deal: I was fit, I was active, and I really enjoyed running. What I didn't realize was how much NOT lifting would impact my skiing. On the maiden run the next summer, I strained my forearms so badly that I couldn't grip anything--let alone ski--for the remainder of the trip. I was crushed!
In the wake of 2013 (pun totally intended), I started lifting again, specifically focusing on my upper body and forearms. I refused to have another year of disappointment and I definitely wasn't ready to give up my hobby.
As 2014 rolled around, I was much stronger and ready to ski again. The pictures below document some of my skiing highlights, after a nearly 2-year hiatus. I was a woman possessed, I could not get enough. I took advantage of glassy water and really pushed myself, uninhibited by injury. It felt incredible!
The walls of water I sprayed were taller than I was, so technically this bucket list item has been achieved. However, I've decided to keep it on the list, as I know that I can only improve from here. The walls can get even bigger, great big walls of water that will swallow me whole.