Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Regaining Confidence

Throughout my life I have memories of trying to overcome hesitance in one sport or another which usually came from a misstep of some sort. Yesterday I talked about how tough it was for me to actually pull off a back handspring in gymnastics but how I managed a double axel on roller skates. It took a bit for me to figure out that I wasn't cut out for gymnastics but could skate like nobody's business. In addition, it became clear that water sports came naturally to me. I taught myself how to swim in one afternoon at my cousin's pool and then even made my high school swim team years later without even one hour of formal instruction. Basically, when I was a kid I could do any sport that I decided to play. Tennis, track, basketball, and even football with the boys also came to me without the "hard work" or "sacrifice" that one attributes to playing sports.

Then I got older.

A couple of months ago I got crushed pretty badly at my favorite surf spot. A really big set came in and I had to ditch my board and dive for cover. Even though I was held under for a bit I was really no worse for the wear. On Sunday I had another experience with a big set in which I did not win. For some reason this ended up being much scarier even though the waves weren't quite as big. I was on an unfamiliar surfboard (surf company demo that day) and there were three others quite close to me. It was one of those situations where the break started happening faster than we thought and we were getting pushed together by the current. I didn't want to toss aside my board in fear of hitting someone so I tried a turtle roll just a bit too late. While being held under I couldn't tell if a board "softly" hit the side of my face or if that was the force of the wave. After surfacing I realized that one of the guys next to me, our boards, and I were dangerously close to each other. We immediately asked if the other was alright. We were both fine but I did get out of the water for a moment to compose myself and then got back in. My time didn't really last long out there after that as I couldn't shake the dazed feeling I had.

I wasn't going to let a bad session ruin my confidence so I got back out yesterday. I paddled out on my favorite board but the muscle stiffness and memory of being slapped by Mother Nature taunted me. Half an hour later I came back in after catching only one wave. It was only then I realized how badly shaken I was from the day before. Ugh.

I'm not going to beat myself up about being a big baby yesterday and I plan to get back out tomorrow morning.

I spent the rest of the day shooting nine at a little executive course in the Valley. This turned out to be a great confidence builder. I played with two guys, hubby and my cousin, that are much better than I. They had a less-than-desirable outing and I easily kept up with them in distance and score. This was just the ego boost that I needed.

All of my personal surfing falls and wipeouts can't possibly be as nerve-wracking as a spill by an Olympian in a medal event. They can't go out the next day and try to redo where they faltered the day before. All of this should have been dealt with in all the years of practice that led up to that moment.

I'll be rooting for Lindsey Jacobellis tonight when she attempts to remove the memory of the spill in 2004 that cost her a gold medal. GO LINDSEY!!


Heather said...

You are seriously the bravest gal I know. I keep acting like I'd let you teach me how to surf, but I'm really terrified of the thought.

Go get 'em! Lindsey too!

Apryl DeLancey said...


I always beat myself up because I am not as brave as I was when I was a kid. I wish I still had that fearlessness!

Trust me, you wouldn't be afraid to learn to surf with me. I know the best beginner spots!