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Unnoticed Passion This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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As I ski down the hill, I see the boy lying in the snow, shivering and pale. A first-year patroller is with him, and the concern in his eyes shifts to relief when he spots me.

We discuss the boy's injuries, and I carefully support his head to ensure he doesn't injure it more. In a soft voice, I try to calm him. I exchange a look with the other patroller; we can't get the boy out alone. But before I can call for help, four patrollers fly down the hill and join our rescue crew. I am in charge. Even though I am at least 10 years their junior, they are asking for my orders.

“We have a ten-year-old male with head and lower left leg injuries. We're going to need a quick splint, backboard, C-collar, and some blankets!” I tell them.

They nod and begin to unpack the toboggan and tend to his injuries. I gently brush the patient's hair from his eyes and tell him he's going to be okay.

He whimpers, “Okay” and continues to shiver. His eyes are shut so tight, I worry they'll never re-open. Other skiers pass by, glancing for a moment but otherwise oblivious to the unfolding struggle.

We hastily place him in the sled, and one of the patrollers straps into his snowboard and grabs the handles. I pop my skis on and grab the tail rope. Finally, we soar down the hill, dodging other skiers along the way. When we reach the flats, I try to go up front to help pull, but my ski gets stuck and embarrassingly I tumble. The patroller turns to see what happened as I shout, “Go! I'll catch up!”

As I get up, I hear a call for another incident on the other side of the hill. I check on the boy with the broken leg and wish him well, then ski over to the lift to start the cycle again.

After three months, 18 weeks, 72 hours, two written exams, and two practical exams, I am an EMT. I take an unpaid shift at the ski resort every Saturday evening, often unnoticed, unappreciated, and underestimated. This is how management wants it – patrollers perform their best when their lifesaving efforts blend into the background, as if our red coats were actually camouflage.

Most seek recognition, but I do this because I love it. Year after year, I return, because this is my passion.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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