Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sunday thoughts on teaching...snowboarding

Yesterday I went to Seven Springs (PA) to snowboard. Conditions weren't the greatest: slushy, a tiny bit of mud on some runs, and a million people waiting in line for the lifts; but I am an Ohio girl so I cannot complain about weather.

I had a great time with my friend and her son. They are still in beginner mode which forced me to stop and dissect how it is that I snowboard in order to teach them.

My friend seemed gracious toward my teaching, but I'm not sure I taught her much of anything. When it comes down to it, what is teaching, really?

Sometimes it boils down to something quite simple. I can tell you how I snowboard. I can tell you what other snowboarders would say. And then you have to take that wisdom or stupidity and figure out what works for you. Sometimes it works like that in poetry as well.

I tried to explain to my friend's son that one way I learned to snowboard was to ride with people who were better than me. That forced me to have to keep up and push myself to limits I didn't anticipate were even possible. This is similar to how poets constantly read other poets.

My friend (tailbone on fire, knees black and blue) kept getting angry, slamming down the board and using some four letter words. I got a little Zen on her, tried to elaborate on the spirituality of snowboarding. You must respect the mountain as something much greater than you. And the board, well it must become an extension of your own body.

Really, my friend hasn't yet fallen in love with the art of it yet, but I hope that she will. As for me, even though I am 30 and according to my mother I need to be thinking about mortgages, there is just about nothing in the world that makes me as happy as snowboarding does and I need to do it much more often than I do.


Sara said...

teach me! teach me!

Jennifer Sullivan said...

Anytime, Sara. You got medical insurance?

Meagan said...

None of that for me. My knees wouldn't take it. I liked what you said about respecting the mountain and letting the board become an extension of your body... it sounds new agey but it's the same thing with a fencing weapon.

Sara said...

I do...but after hearing that question, I'm not sure I want you teaching me anything!

Amy said...

Put off the mortgage, doll, and keep boarding! I used to was lovely. Never tried the board.

Jennifer Sullivan said...

Amy-Let's go snowboarding.

Sara-You'll love it! What's a broken wrist.

Meagan-Just fall on your butt instead of your knees. Who cares about injuring the tailbone:)