Monday, May 9, 2011

delayed reaction

So, for those of you who don't know, I was unsuccessful (the politically correct wording equivalent to failed) at a pretty tough ski instructor exam this year.  It's the last one really - the one that means you get to be a full examiner some day.  I didn't expect to make the team on the first try - I also didn't expect to be as low in the scores as I was.

Disappointed.  Frustrated.  I walked away pissed off (at myself) and thoroughly motivated to bring a better package to the table next time.  The following week, I showed up for some coaching with one of my favorite ski teachers, and he was surprised to see me - I guess most people bug out for the rest of the season when they miss the cut.  The feedback I'd received didn't match the picture he was seeing.  Until it did.  But we talked a lot about performance anxiety and training for performance.

I led some clinics.  I goofed off with friends on the snow.  I went to Utah with Shea for some powder skiing on the big mountains.  The snow melted.  Cycling season started for real.

Somewhere in there, a dear friend also succeeded at maintaining their current certification standard (another way of saying unsuccessful). They were bitter.  Thought the process was unfair and stupid.  I balked that the certification process is stupid but agreed that the group dynamic was weird and a few examiners had been less than perfect.  The question of why go to a certification exam lingered.  This friend, in part, felt the peer pressure to go, facilitated by a ski school in which 80% or more of our returning staff values PSIA certification as a personal and professional goal.

It got me to thinking what my motivation is to be on the examiner squad.  I love the movements of skiing.  I love sharing them with others, and in the East, some of our most motivated and knowledgeable students are our fellow instructors.  I value what I've learned from ski teaching about communication, learning styles, and interacting with students and think it's important information to convey. I love the camaraderie of my development team peers and fellow PSIA staff members when we're out on the road, having "date night" after being cooped up indoors all day due to a tornado warning.  Or just having a beer.

But... I rearrange a lot of other my other important priorities in the winter to get time to be a part of PSIA.  I get less done in lab.  A lot less sometimes.  I don't ride nearly as much.  I eke through weeks without groceries.  I skip days at my home mountain**.  I forgo trips that I might otherwise take.  I skip date nights, girls nights out, seeing my mom except in passing to pick up or drop off our furry monsters.  I don't get to spend as much time as I'd like integrating what I learn out on the hill - either for teaching or personal skiing.  I tiptoe around the politics of a group of people who pride themselves on being the best ski teachers out there.

**My home mountain recently won the "Conversion Cup" for the best beginner's program in the nation from the National Ski Areas Association.  How cool is that?  I'm thankful for many of my mentors there who developed the program and proud of all of us who are out there, taking groups of 6 on a busy Saturday and teaching them how to turn to a stop.  Simple.

The problem, or perhaps it is a good thing, is that this delayed reaction is happening at a time when there's only rain - snow season won't come back for 7 months.  Maybe the sting of disappointment will drive me again, as it did right after the exam.  Maybe.

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