Wednesday, December 5, 2007 - LatestNews
Haywood Report: Life from the Sidelines

- By: Brittany Webster


Haywood Securities


The Haywood Report is powered by Haywood Securities Inc., proud sponsor of Canada's National Cross Country Ski Teams.

Now that the race season has started, I’ve gotten to see it from a bit of a different perspective. As many of you know, I broke my leg in late August and since then haven’t been able to join the team on their travels.

Over the past few months, I’ve done a bit of traveling on my own- more so in my adventures to get back on the path of being a skier than literally going anywhere. When it happened, I found myself quite lost and unsure of what to do. My once concrete and ever so vivid aspirations for the upcoming season suddenly vanished and I felt like I had nothing to lean back on. This is a fear that many of us face as we try to make it as skiers. We put so much commitment and effort into our goals that it seems to consume many of us, and we find ourselves thinking, “What would I do if I suddenly had a career ending injury and had to stop skiing? Who would I be?” This was the fear I was suddenly faced with. I had become a skier. That was my bumper sticker, and without it, I was lost.

At first I went into a total state of denial- actually, in truth, I lived the first 2 ½ months of my injury in total denial. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to let go of the fact that maybe this season would be non- existent. After 2 weeks of sitting on the couch with my leg in the air, I became so sick of staring at the ceiling and feeling about as stale as a mothball that I began to crack. In my mind all of my friends were out training and getting faster and stronger, while I was inside shriveling up like an old prune- or at least it felt like it. I set out to “train”- not the smartest thing now that I think of it, but I am one of those people that seems to have to learn from experience.

To start, I used Dan and Tasha’s double pole machine- and I had one pristine set up. The machine featured a seat accommodated with a pillow, a bench for my leg, and believe it or not, a computer screen loaded with world cup videos that I could watch while doing my workout- oh and speakers for music. This worked out great until I used it so much that I rubbed one of the strings raw and broke it. So on to the next idea: wheel chairing. At first it was satisfying, but I got a little bored of the same flat loop and decided to be adventurous. I went down a very big hill in attempt to discover some newfound pavement. At first I thought I was brilliant, but neglected to consider the fact that I had to go back up the thing. I learned that wheelchairs aren’t the best climbers and when it gets too steep, they like to topple backwards. To make a long story short, I inventively found my own way to get up and left the wheelchair to fend for itself at the bottom of the hill for a few hours. Apparently that was long enough for someone to steal it, so… no more wheel chairing. In my search for new ways to get a workout, I discovered that if I crutched around town fast enough, I actually got a great workout.  I began to crutch everywhere and anywhere, but eventually got caught in the act when I was crutching up the infamous “Mount Silvertip” (I had made many friends doing this, among them was the owner of the Calgary Flames team who offered me a game of golf and a ride down in his limo). Of course news traveled fast. Soon everyone knew, including the doctors and I was put on major spy patrol. I was actually somewhat relieved because I had made my right hand go permanently numb. These adventures took up a few weeks and by this time I was given the ok to do some more decent forms of training like strength, the double pole machine, spinning and swimming.

I think I was a little optimistic at first, because looking back on my journal I had managed to convince myself that I would be running 8 weeks after my injury. I just recently mastered walking (which has even been taken away due to a recent surgery I had). Although it has seemed like a long time, I have kept myself positive through the little improvements I’ve made: the first time I did a mini squat, the first time I could balance on one leg, the first time I put weight on it, and the first time I took a step were among some of my top ones. I also never stopped dreaming. Every day I think about how nice it will be to watch the snow travel over my skis, or how it will feel to complete my first race. The little mixes of reality and fantasy that I’ve been able to conjure up over the time I’ve been out have kept me positive. As the dreams slowly become reality, it only makes me realize the importance of dreaming- something that every athlete needs to be able to do to become successful. They not only allow you to appreciate the moment when it happens, but I truly believe that if you dream them with enough clarity and conviction, eventually they must come true.

Brittany Webster is a member of Team 2010 on the National Ski Team. She may be sidelined with an injury at the moment, but Canada is looking forward to her return to dominance on the Canadian scene.

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