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I was heading to the top of the mountain. Nothing could get in my way.
“Alex,” Alice called out, “you ready for the race?”
“You bet.” My whole life I’ve wanted to be a professional skier. I’ve always wanted to be in the Olympics and compete all over the world. It’s always been my biggest dream. Mikaela Shiffrin and Lindsey Vonn are my role models. They always inspire me to do what I love and I always look up to them.
I can now see past all the trees, the big poles stuck in the ground, and the skiers and snowboarders down below. I see the top of the mountain and the end of the chairlift. As Alice, the two singles, and I get off of the chair lift we all skid across icy path below us. Once we part our ways, Alice and I zoom through the crowds at the top of the mountain. We notice the tourists out of the corner of our eye. They are taking photographs and looking at the unbelievable view ahead of them. I see the family’s who are getting ready together. People are making sure their straps and buckles are all on correct and getting prepared for the slopes they are about to shred on.
Alice and I have reached the start. Racers from many other mountains are gathered here. Nashoba, Bradford, Pats Peak, Wachusett, Sunapee and many more that I don’t even recognize. Everyone is now waiting for the four-runners to head down the course. The people around me shiver as the icy air whips around us.
“Racer ready,” I hear one of the coaches say to the first four-runner, “5, 4, 3, 2, 1, go.” I instantly heat up. I can feel the excitement and the rush of adrenaline coursing through my body.
I unzip my jacket a little to see my bib. I see the number 32. I pop out of my ski’s carefully to not ruin the new layer of wax on the bottom. I zip down my snowpants from one side to the other so my GS suit is now showing on the bottom half. I unzip my jacket the rest of the way so I’m just in my suit top to bottom and my bib number is showing.
“Racer ready, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, go.” coach says to the racers who is now onto her third gate speeding through. I notice her bib number before she is out of sight, 16, I think to myself that I better get in the number order so I won’t get a DNF. Coach Kacey comes to me and places the big, fuzzy, and warm coat around my body to warm me up and make all my muscles warm. It feels like a giant blanket is around me which reaches all the way down to my feet.
I am now up to the giant mound where all the coaches are giving racers pep talks. My feet are now behind the wand. I can hear people cheering and cow bells ringing. I try not to smile with all this excitement in me but my smile overpowers. My smile is wide, stretching across my face.
Once again I hear “Racer ready, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, go.” I have a powerful start through the wand and I am off by skating through the first three gates to get a powerful start. My blood is rushing through my body fast. I speed through the tourists and some of the racers parent that have hiked up on the side of the course. I am approaching the hairpin ahead of me I think to myself, in on the woods side, back through the other side, and then exit through into the woods side to get back into the rhythmic. I am one turn away from it.
I make a sharp turn to get into the hairpin. I am rolling my ankles back and forth and then….. I am down. My resting body is covered with snow, my face, my helmet, my suit, and even in my boots. My mind starts to go blank. I lose my vision.
“She’s down,” I hear from a distance, “somebody call the ambulance!”
“Doctor,” I softly hear, “she’s waking up! Alex, honey, can you hear me?”
I try to get up but I find that I am having trouble. My body is strapped down and my bed feels unusual. I start to see clearly again, I’m not in my bed, I am not in my room, and I am most definitely not in my house. “What’s going on? Where are we?”
“Alex thank god you woke up! We are in the hospital, everything will be ok.” My mom says with a tone of relief.
My memory starts to jog. I remember what had just happened previously. I feel the same though, nothing hurts. I replace myself on the bed before my doctor comes in the room. My body starts to ache, I try to ignore it because it’s probably not important.
“Hi Alex, my name is Doctor Hayden, I heard you took a pretty big hit when you had whipped out, you are doing better since you took your hit. Although, there is a chance that your lower half of your body will be paralyzed.”
“What!? Did I really take that bad of a hit? Does that mean I won’t be able to ski?” This is too much to take in.
“Try not to think about it too much because it’s not final yet,” Doctor Hayden says to keep me calm. I want to trust him but I’m just doubtful of that little possibility.
Even though I was told not to think about it, I can’t seem to get my mind off of it. When I start to think about something else it will connect to not being able to ski in the future or how it will effect me. I don’t tell anyone what is going through my head. Nurses are coming in and out to come and check on me, my siblings and parents make sure I’m ok. Lily is the only one that can see that I’m not doing well. Lily is my youngest sister who is five. She is the last person I want to get involved in my thoughts. I just ignore Lily and what she says. Once she realizes that there is nothing to make me feel or act different, Lily finally decides to leaves my room.
The only sounds in the room is the obnoxious din of all the machines around me and conversations going on the other side of the door. I am all alone. As I’m thinking about my whole situation, I ignore all my other possible future problems like getting place to place. The only thing that I am still petrified about is not being able to ski. I can not imagine giving up such a big part of my life. I lay back down flat on the bed to rest. As I start to doze off I hear a faint voice talking.
“Hi, um, Alex, are you there?” I hear coming from the door. I look up a see a little blond girl at the door.
“Hi Lily, what are you doing here?” I say confused.
“I just wanted to make sure you are ok because you are acting weird.” Lily enters my room by taking baby steps. I gesture her in to come and sit next to me.
“Thanks for checking in on me, I’m just a bit upset right now.”
“Why?” She asks like she has no idea what’s going on, which might be possible since she is five.
“I just don’t know what I’m gonna do with skiing,” I choke up a bit and feel my eyes watering. I turn my head away from her.
“Well what are you gonna do if you can’t ski?”
I don’t know. I don’t know what to say or do. I tell Lily exactly what I’m thinking, “I don’t know but I’m sure I will figure something out.” Lily exits my room.
I think about what’s gonna happen if I really can’t ski. Am I gonna be able to do anything physical? What am I gonna do when I’m older. Then I take my mind off of it. I stare into space and then all of a sudden I realize, I’m only 15, I have so many years to figure out what I’m gonna do. I shouldn’t be worrying about my future now and I have to live life to the fullest, no matter what happens.