Wipe Out...

By , Colts Neck, NJ
“I don’t know what I’m more nervous for. The tryout, or water skiing.” I said to Roselyn. Today, I try out for the Jersey Intensity softball team. Tomorrow, I try water skiing. Both of which, are very life changing experiences. Tryouts come once a year and when you get to the U-18 level, you travel all around the country in front of all the college coaches. Water skiing always has that element of injury that hangs in the air. You hear stories of major wipeouts and crashes. I prayed I would not be in the next headline.

After the three-hour tryout in Neptune, I got in Roselyn’s car and headed to South Jersey. I would stay at her house and then the next day we would go water skiing.

“Well. I got the first part out of the way. Now I just have to work on the second part. Ok, how do you water ski again?”

“Okay Mary. For the five hundredth time, you stand up slowly when the boat pulls away.” Roselyn answered. She had been water skiing since she was seven. She just turned thirteen last month. She made it sound so easy, and it was…for her. But then again, the last (and first) time I saw my dad water-ski, he almost went unconscious when he hit the wall of water. Face plants really don’t look that much fun.

The next morning was the big day. When my dad got there we had to wait a few minutes for Rose’s mom to get off from work. At noon, we got into the boat and went out in the Mullica River. (p.s. great place to go kayaking J ) Rose went first.

“Let her rip!!!!!!” Rose yelled.

She was jumping wakes and dropping one ski. Man, she was good. She just seemed to glide over that bumpy water. Wow, the boat felt fast. How does she look so comfortable back there on those skis? Don’t get me wrong; I am comfortable on skis… when they are on snow. When tens of thousands of gallons of water are rushing under the skis, I am not as comfortable. Don’t make a fool of yourself I thought to myself. Rose was done and now it was my turn. I jumped off the side of the boat and tried to put the skis on. That was a struggle. Once I finally got the skis on, I went out to the end of the line and got in “ready position” (I was still in a softball state of mind)

“Okay. Squat with your tips sticking out of the water. Don’t pull the boat, let the boat pull you.” Rose’s mom advised. I was ready, but I needed a few minutes to take a few deep breaths. So when I was mentally ready, I finally gave the OK. I hear a deep rumble ahead of me. Then, the water churned and went from a murky brown, to a quick moving white. The rope tugged at my white knuckled-hands. I, inadvertently, started to gradually rise.

“You’re up!” they all yelled from inside the boat. And as quickly as I went up, I came back down. Whoa!!!! I almost got up. I almost made it up on my very first try. I mean, it would have been a lot better had I actually stayed up, but it felt just as sweet knowing I could do this. I tried a couple more times, each with their own consequences, rope burn along my legs from one of the many wipeouts, or their own rewards, jumping the wake.

By the end of the day, I was able to go for miles. Ok, I exaggerated a little bit. But I must have gone at least for half a mile on one run. Mostly because I couldn’t figure out how to stop. Wouldn’t you think that would be more emphasized when people are teaching you how to do something, considering that seems to be the biggest problem with everything?
My next run was going fine. Nice and smooth. Then, in the middle of the run I realized what Mr. Johnson was trying to do.
“Oh!! He is not!” I said loud enough for only me to hear. He was trying to get me to jump the wake!
“If he thinks I can do this, I probably can. Let’s go!!!” I bore down and got ready to take a hit. There was absolutely no way I’d make it over this thing. Let’s just try it. You never know. You get hurt, you get hurt. Oh well. Get over it! I turned and bent my knees. I clenched my fingers even tighter around the rope. I thought they were going to tear the skin on my hands they were so tight. I wanted to close my eyes so bad, but then rethought that. I felt my ski’s go up…. And back over. I made it! I made it over the wake!! Wait….
“How do I get back in?”





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