Sunday, March 20, 2005 - Perspective
NSDT Update: A Fine Balance

- By: Shayla Swanson

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I have been trying to think of a stimulating topic for this article, not just the usual update. However, I have noticed that all the articles in the recent past that aren’t updates, have generated lots and lots of heated skifaster debate. I hope that this article doesn’t generate too much discussion because I really can’t handle any type of debate, conflict or controversy… I mean really, can’t we all just get along?

Some of the discussion posted after Shane’s article, “Searching for seconds” made me think about my place on the “24 hour athlete - recreational skier” continuum. I came to the conclusion that although I have made the step towards 24 hour athlete, I still feel very well rounded…maybe slightly off circular, but close!! The oval shaped balance that I have attained has allowed me to accept that skiing is my priority at this time, and realize that that’s ok!

When I think back to my first two years on the Junior Team I am amazed at how many things I tried to accomplish each day. I was trying to be the one who could do it all…the most balanced girl around!! I was trying to be a student, university party girl, skier, employee, seamstress, fast-pitch player, intramural basketball team member... and the list goes on. Everyday was literally a whirlwind. I remember days where I would play a baseball tournament all day and train in between games, or when I would drive to Canmore for a strength workout at 9 in the morning with smoky hair after a night at the bar with my friends, or bringing flash cards on my run to study for an exam, or rushing back to Calgary after doing an afternoon workout in Canmore to be at work for 5 o’clock. I think that I was having trouble accepting the fact that to be a competitive skier I was going to have to attain a fine balance. This meant keeping enough out-of-skiing activity to be happy, but staying focused enough to do a GREAT job of being an athlete.

I decided that this year I wanted to make that change, and spend a greater amount of my time thinking about skiing. But please don’t assume that because I am trying to be a 24 hour athlete that I sit idol all day and twiddle my thumbs, go to bed at 9:00 every night, and never eat junk food! I still manage to be quite busy, working, studying, starting my own sports-wear business (Shayla On Skis) and generally enjoying life. However, I no longer have any excuses not to stretch after workouts, or not to do the other things that make a great athlete. I have found that by putting a few things on the “back seat” for the time being that I am much happier and feel as though I am making some really great steps towards accomplishing my greater goals.

I am not trying to spread Shayla propaganda or say that what I am doing is the “right” thing to do, but I know that it’s working for me. At this point in my life I am ok with putting some other things on hold in order to pursue my dreams. And as long as I am still happy and having fun, that is how it will stay.

This new balance has helped me acquire a new skill that I didn’t count on. I have gotten quite good at making fun of my life as an athlete. When asked by a fellow employee what I was going to do for Halloween, I replied, “I’m going to a party…but it’s a skier party, so that means we won’t get drunk, we’ll probably play charades, and then after a group stretching session we’ll all head home to be in bed by 10:30” What’s funny is that it’s almost the truth and I still love it!!

Signing off for now
Shayla On Computer (HA HA!!)

P.S. Remember no debates!!


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