Monday, March 30, 2009


So, I'm done teaching skiing for the season. Next Saturday morning, I'll hop in my car and drive to MA for a long run on trails. I'm really looking forward to that. Next Sunday, I will sleep in and then spend a few hours skiing at a leisurely pace with my family. That should be fun too.

Teaching skiing can be stressful at times as well. The past two weekends, I had 10 students per day. Some of them were feeling the effects of a long season and they weren't skiing well and they didn't really want to be there. One girl in particular, who had perfectly well behaved all season, simply fell apart the past two weekends. She was physically tired, mentally tired, and she was not having fun. My job is to make sure she doesn't get hurt and that she has fun. So, for the most part, I dialed back the intensity the past two weekends. For some of the girls, though, this was not what they wanted. They wanted to push hard. The girls were arguing over which trails to ski. Some wanted only easy terrain. Others wanted only hard terrain. The past two weekends felt more like work than play.

Our season ended at noon yesterday. It was raining yesterday, so we didn't ski a whole lot. After our last run, we had a party for the kids. Yesterday was the 10th birthday of one of the girls in my group. We had a cake for her. I handed out end of season evaluations. For the most part, my group will return next year. But, I had to recommend that a couple girls change instructors for next year. One of the girls is amazingly well behaved. Her parents are involved and interested in her progress. She's my best skier. And, it's time for her to move to a more challenging group so that she'll continue to progress. I really like skiing with her. She really likes the girls in the group. I had a conversation with her yesterday where I told her all of the good things about her behavior and skiing. And then, I suggested she ski with a different coach next year. It wasn't her first choice, but I think she understood why I made the recommendation. But, after multiple seasons of skiing with a child, there's an attachment. It's tough to sever that bond.

So, I'm glad to have my weekends back. But, I'll spend the spring, summer and fall missing the kids with whom I skied for the past four months. And, next December, most of them will return to hang out with me for another winter.

One of the girls in my group asked me partway through the season what my most favorite and least favorite seasons are. I told her that spring is my least favorite season. She asked why. I told her that I loved winter for the skiing. I love summer for the racing season. I love autumn for the changing leaves, the first feel of cold in the air, and the trail running over fallen leaves. I told her that spring was my least favorite season.

She argued with me, giving me the "rebirth" argument - leaves, flowers, grass, etc. I understand that argument. What I didn't tell her is that every spring, I have to say goodbye to my youngest friends for the next few seasons, and that is a hard thing for me to do at times.

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