It’s been an incredible 3 months snowboarding in Colorado. We’ve spent over 40 days on the slopes together as a family. And one of the things I know is that I will never forget or regret the times cruising behind my family and seeing us all shred down the mountain together. It’s surreal for all five of us to enjoy beautiful powder, make lines, try out tricks and ride a lift back up together.
I always ask myself as a dad, “What wouldn’t you regret?” Time is ticking, and these kids don’t live with us forever. I can feel it in my bones. So, I want to equip them with everything they need to go out in this great big world and make things happen.
I know they would not regret all the amazing adventures or the time spent together. I also know that they would not regret learning to dig inside themselves and compete.
Sonya and I are both athletes, and we come from a background of sports. It’s a real core part of our marriage. We live on the same plane many times because we know that challenges require perseverance, focus and a desire to win.
Life is far from fair. Some people try to game the system and make things fair. That’s a fairytale. It’s both elusive and unreflective of the vast differences in people’s ambitions, backgrounds and talents. We teach our kids that life is unfair. And we have to work very hard at what we want for success to happen.
They have discovered this on the slopes with the Team Summit freestyle snowboarding team. They’ve had to persevere through a lot of bad landings and risks as they learn new tricks. But they are dramatically different for it and have raised their game.
Today, they competed in Boardercross for the first time. It was a giant unknown, and they went through a lot of practice for the event. But I especially loved the mental focus they had. They approached it with the competitive drive to do well and had to conquer some of their fears and nervousness. Gabe and Isaac even asked guys at the starting gates if they were nervous and found that all the kids were! The whole event reminded me of my cross-country days with the thrill, drama and nerves.
They all did very well for their first time racing. Jadyn caught a kid at the end for a first place finish. It filled her heart to find out what she was made of.
Isaac was competing for the lead and skidded out on a patch of snow before the finish. He did not get to advance to the next rounds. But, he is thinking about what he did and has that desire to do it again and win.
Gabe was in a tough heat. He is extremely fast on a snowboard, but there were a couple kids faster than him. They advanced. He took third and missed advancing. But the experience has him wanting more of himself.
Sonya and I are proud of how the kids are working through the mental side of the competition. They are all competitors at the core and are learning how to push through adversity and win. I’ve seen it in all their sports, time on tough trails and working through so many problems on a daily basis.
For me, I just want to see my kids embracing competition. If they know that they can dig down and find ways to win, it applies to so many facets of life.
We can get comfortable. This Freejourner journey has been wonderful to open their horizons and choose to do the uncomfortable continually. Sure, we change locales, adventures and all the things they are used to. But they are also learning to adapt, push in and find out what they are made of.
Competing has been a fabric of our family, and I’m so grateful for what it has done for their inner conviction and confidence on this journey.