Wow, it has been a year since I last wrote in my blog and I am in Antholz again. I guess that is probably a good thing because it means I was too busy with real life to sit down and write about things. Writing is still how I process ideas and thoughts, but sometimes it is hard to know where to draw the line in a blog. On the one hand, I am not interested in writing about day to day stuff and/or training for biathlon, and on the other hand, writing about some of the things that I think about and experience are just too personal to share with anyone who might want to read it.
But when I first created my blog, I decided that I would do it with the idea of writing a letter to my father and perhaps that is where I should start again.
I really liked the last email you sent me where you told me to throw my rifle in the woods because it the only thing in my life that causes me such great frustration (alluding to the fact that I have had terrible shooting in the last World Cups and am in a slump that has gotten progressively harder to come out of). It was quite funny to me when you called my rifle the “demon stick of the anti-Christ”, or the “thunderstick”, and the “weapon of mass destruction” and told me “it don’t mean shit to a tree” whatever that means. My teammates and I had a good laugh over that. I guess your empathy about seeing me struggle with biathlon is pretty strong and I both grateful and sorry about that. It is pretty amazing how sad a few little black dots can make you feel. But, when you turn it around, I am really lucky that the only thing in my life that really causes me problems are a few little black dots and a “thunderstick”.
I realized that the last post I wrote in my blog had much to do with the same subject- which is how to pick yourself up when biathlon is not going well. It would seem that not much has changed in the last year. But! That is not true.
For starters, I bought the purple house this summer. It is next door to my older sister and her family and across town from you. This gives me great joy, because it is a life dream of mine to find a way to be close to my family. I had the best time dinking around my house, painting things, struggling down in the crawl space to cover the pipes with heat tape, and putting up nasty insulation. It was overwhelming at times because I would go down there and breathe in nasty shit, get a stiff neck from holding up insulation that wouldn’t stay, and wrestle with chicken wire and staple guns. But the cool thing was, that when I started to get that panicky frustrated feeling most people know about, where you kind of want to cry and you kind of want throw a tantrum and stomp your feet, I would tell myself to keep trying. And then I did it. I figured it out and it made me so proud of myself. That is what biathlon has taught me. I find that this stubbornness comes in handy much of the time and gives me the confidence to challenge myself because I feel like I can eventually figure something out. I’d much rather decorate my house and make things cozy, but I have noticed an increased willingness on my part to get involved in the types of projects that I would normally stay away from. For example, trying to figure out how to fix the circuitry in a car for the windshield wipers. This is new for me and it is because I realized that if I really wanted to figure something out, I could probably do that.
So, I will keep applying this principle back to biathlon. I believe in myself and my ability and my coaches do too. When things go south, then I start asking for help, I talk to friends, I talk to my parents, I write a couple of frustrated letters and then delete them, I drink a beer (or two) with my wax techs, play a practical joke or two, and then try to keep my head up so that I don’t miss all the other cool stuff around me.
I am sorry that it is sometimes painful to watch me compete and not quite “hit the mark” so to speak. But, it’s okay. Someday, skiing in circles will end and the perseverance and thick skin that I have developed with this sport will carry me through other challenges.