It is over.
The night before the National Championships, Daylen and I remembered back to last August when the first idea struck my mind. At that time, the impossibles seemed so vast. Now they're behind us...and they weren't impossible.
The day of the race, my nerves hit an odd wall of calm. I could almost call it excitement. The course belonged to me. I didn't feel like an outcast among the racers anymore, I was a racer. God brought me here and I wouldn't be afraid.
|Photo courtesy: My wonderful sister, Melanie Shea|
My family and husband hiked from the lift to the course. I trained. Time trials approached. My goal for Nationals? To make it into the brackets. Twenty-two girls were racing and only the top sixteen moved into brackets. I'd never made it to brackets before and I'd be racing the best in the nation. God knew the desires of my heart. In fact, He gave me these desires, way back in August. He knew best what would glorify Him. I trusted.
My dad and Daylen--my two coaches--waxed my board right before my run, pouring every bit of elbow grease into their work. When I strapped it on, sitting in line for the starting gate, I stood on waxed gold. My board never felt this good.
I slid into the start gate. Deep breath. Slow blink. My ten-second window beeped, echoing through my ears and into my fluttering stomach.
Jesus... I thought.
I pulled from the start gate with a grunt and attacked the mountain.
|Photo Courtesy: Melanie Shea|
|Photo Courtesy: Melanie Shea|
My nerves evaporated the moment I landed a perfect start. The snow had softened and I concentrated on my line down the hill. Half way through the course, I smiled and said aloud, "I feel so free."
Indeed, I did. Excitement and joy replaced any hesitation or doubts. I'd never felt so calm on a course, even though I had a little fumble at the end. I finished panting and went straight to the time board.
I only needed to beat six girls.
I beat nine.
My dad and Daylen met up with me. I couldn't stop smiling. Dad bought me a Snickers bar and we went back up to the top for my next race...in the quarterfinals. They re-waxed my board and I entered the gate with three other girls.
"Have a good run, ladies," I said. They replied with concentrated grunts...and they all had great runs. Except me.
I fumbled the start and lost my speed. I never caught up with them, but I still enjoyed the rest of the course. My family and husband still cheered with me. I still placed 13th. And God threw huge party.
This may be the end. Daylen and I think it is. The only way I'd continue is if I received an invitation to the World Championships, but it's unlikely and out of our hands. So how do we feel?
No, we didn't make it to the Olympic podium, but we dreamed like professionals. We went for it anyway. And this story is ours forever. No one can every take it. Living it inspired us. Sharing it will hopefully inspire our children. God took Daylen and me to completely new levels of trust and relationship. He showed us the beauty of living a crazy story for Him. I discovered His joy in adventure.
This one may be over, but it's certainly not the last one. Already, Daylen and I wondered aloud on our 10 hour drive home,
To read the rest of our snowboarding story, visit the separate snowboarding blog!