It always looked so easy when my dad did it. He cutsmoothly, his shoulder leaning so close to the water that his body lookedparallel to the cool glass. I had been itching to be free of my yellow trainingskis and ski on my own. I wanted to learn to fly over the water just like my dad,but water skiing isn't as easy as it looks. I had been trying for almost a month.First I tried two skis, but my seven-year-old stick legs weren't strong enough tocontrol them, so Dad suggested simplifying things by using one ski. Simplify?Slalom ski?
My first attempts at slalom skiing were disasters, but Irefused to give up. When we took a family trip to a lake, I couldn't wait to tryagain. After eating a big lunch on the deck overlooking the water, we went outfor a ski. I was the last to go. I reluctantly slipped into the foreboding water;this lake was a lot bigger and rougher than the one back home. The frothy waterswirled around me and I was terrified. How can I get up in this mess of whitecapswhen I can't even get up in my calm little lake? I wondered. I crouched in thewater, pulled my legs to my chest and waited.
After four attempts Iaccepted defeat - but only for that outing. I was determined not to giveup.
The next morning my dad's friend suggested another way of getting meup, and I said, "Sure!" I would try anything to get the chance to ski.He had me sit on the lower portion of the dock, skis in the water and rope inhand as he pulled the boat away. As I sat, I thought about falling like an anchorinto the dark water and getting splinters in my butt.
"Ready?" he asked.
"Yeah!" I replied, shakily. Iheard the boat roar and my teeth clenched. I felt the rope gently tug my arms andsuddenly the cool air was tingling my legs and the water was splitting to let methrough. I was doing it! Success at last! I couldn't wait to get home and showoff my new skill to my friends.
It took seemingly endless gallons of waterup my nose and aching, heavy arms, but now I can fly across the water almost aswell as my dad. I gained this confidence through persistence and courage -qualities I plan to apply to my life once I reach the big lake of college andeven the ocean of real life.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.