A Love Lesson From…the Olympic Halfpipe

I hold a special respect for Olympic skiers and snowboarders. Especially after watching skier Lindsey Vonn and snowboarder Shaun White win their gold medals last night. Man, they rocked it, didn’t they? I could watch them smile and listen to Lindsey cry tears of joy for days, which Bob Costas so perfectly described by saying: “those emotions a combination of joy, pride, relief, thanks, appreciation, all rolled into one.” Which, to be honest, is what meeting your half-orange feels like—or will feel like—too.

I credit my personal awe of those guys to a skiing experience I had a few years ago during a trip to the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

Are you LIVING a good run? (Image: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Like Shaun White: Are you LIVING a good run? (Image: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

I was staying at a friends’ corporate-sponsored chalet that was nestled high on a mountain and accessible from the intermediate ski run. Me being a gal from New York, I’d grown up skiing some small mountains in New Jersey and just north of the city.

“Intermediate?” I said, “No problem.”

It turns out, however, the intermediate hill in New Jersey is the bunny hill in Utah. And the intermediate hill in Utah? Well, let’s just say that once I got off the lift, I felt like I was looking over the edge of a cliff. Egads, I was in trouble.

As with many things in life, it wasn’t the hill that was the problem as much my sheer lack of confidence that I could tackle it. And so after a few wobbly-legged attempts, completely pointless snowplowing and a few tumbles, I eventually took off my skis and clomped sideways down the hill in my boots, whimpering the whole time. It was, I’m sure, a hilarious sight to behold. God bless my friends who didn’t laugh at me until I was ready to laugh at myself. (And God bless you if you’ve already read about my surfing experience in my past post Get Blue Crush Brave and still hold any respect for my sportiness!)

Which is why I gaze in wonder when I see the Olympians tearing down the snowy mountain and doing flips in the halfpipe. But I’m not just impressed by Shaun White’s moves, but by his attitude. Shaun had these words to say just before he competed in the halfpipe qualifier on Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver last night:

“I’m looking for, basically, some good runs. I just, uh, I don’t think it’s about one trick in the run, I think it’s the whole thing, so I’m just trying to put down solid runs all night and, uh, we’ll go from there, see what special stuff I got in store.”

You know what I liked about that? Shaun wasn’t bragging about the one specific move that was going to lead him to his goal—yes, of course he had some serious tricks up his sleeve that he’d invented just for this big international show. But he also knew that without a good first run overall, one big trick wouldn’t mean a thing.

And that’s how I see our lives, especially in love and dating: without a good run overall, you won’t get to show your big tricks. So often, when we want to be in love, we put aside everything else to get the relationship. But if you’re not living a good full life overall, if you’re not having a good run overall, then you may not get a chance to show your big tricks to the right person in the first place. Don’t let your fear freeze you like mine did on a Utah mountain. And don’t let your anxiousness about getting into a relationship take over the life you’re living now.

Look at dating the way Shaun White looks at that halfpipe: Aim to have a good run overall. Smile and enjoy the whole thing—the nights in, the nights out, the so-so dates, the funny set-ups, the time with friends, the ways you grow. If you’re having a good time with your life, then your dates will want to see what “special stuff” you have in store.

The tactic sure worked for Shaun White: After the first of two finals runs last night, he scored 46.8. He didn’t even have to take another run to get his gold, but Shaun knew that by putting down those good runs, he’d earned his chance to pull those tricks out of the bag. And so he took a second run—how very Mary Lou Retton of him—and showed off his special “Spiraling Double McTwist” that earned him a 48.4 and, of course, that gold.

It’s a medal that’s round and kind of orange-looking, come to think of it. Just like the half-orange you’re looking for.

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Big love and good runs,

Amy Signature 4