Spare Rounds: So You Dropped Out of College

For all you North Americans out there I’m sure you are familiar with the great piece Chelsea Little put together for FasterSkier this spring on US biathletes and school… For all you who are not familiar with these articles you can find them here, here, and here... and well also here AND here.  (reading all those links might successfully eat up your entire afternoon)

As a newcomer to the sport it gave me a lot of background and history on my team mates, and made it clear that none of us have taken the same path to get where we are today.  What went through my mind you ask? (humor me okay)  “ Wait!  Hold up!  You mean they weren’t born as 26 year olds with rifles on their backs?  They were kids once too!?”  Mind blown.

It also brought up a lot of questions.  Like…  What choices have I made that got me to where I am today?  College? No college? Going back to college?  Is this really what I am suppose to be doing? BlahBlahBlah.  *It should be noted that these articles started to come out as I was going through a major decision making process with our USBA staff about my own future in the sport and where school may or really may not fit in.

So what gives? 

Well I sort of got here by mistake really…  You could even say it was a long string of fortunate accidents that landed me on the national team.

My secret formula is not every parent’s dream, and although I have an unbelievably supportive family I’m sure they worry.

Here it goes.  I’m giving out my secrets. So take notes.

Step One:  Get hurt frequently.

Step Two:  Get as late of an introduction to skiing as possible. Almost.

Step Three:  Don’t quit.  *Thank you Mr. Burger

Step Four:  Turn down a full ride to college to move out west.

Step Five:  Turn down another full ride to ski instead of run.

Step Six:  Drop out of school forfeiting your academic scholarship for a sport you’ve never done.

Tah-DAH!

It might not be the most finically sound or safest plan out there. But it’s mine.  And now coaches can say things like, “Alright now remember kids, that is what you get with 60% of a college degree!” as you try to lead clinics.  Dream role model, yes? …No? …at least I have passion and grit on my side.

When the going gets tough…

You have an amazing ability to second guess yourself.

Last year didn’t go as planned.  I was ready to bust onto the senior circuit.  I was ready to gallivant around Europe and maybe even kick a little butt here and there.  I was ready…until I wasn’t.  When you are sidelined by injury and sickness perspective is hard to come by.  And when you’re left alone in the states to train all winter you have a lot of time to question everything you’ve done. Doubt can drown you.

I looked at my options.  I even re-enrolled in school.  Coming into the first training camp of the year I was 98% sure I would be heading to Bozeman in August ready and excited to tackle one of my few remaining semesters of college.  That was… until I told my coaches.

Word trickled back to our high performance director and soon enough I was on the phone with him discussing my commitment to the sport.  Discussing the Olympic cycles, discussing what is ‘truly best for me.’  Discussing my underlying motivations to want to head back to college in the first place.  Would I feel such a strong desire to go back to school if this year had gone well?  Honestly… probably not.

We are very lucky to have a staff that really does care about us as people.  They understand that we are not going to perform well if we are not happy.  Many conversations ensued.

“We see potential in you!”

“I know…”

“No I don’t think you know.”

and

“School is not going anywhere.  It will always be waiting for you.”

or

“Well now you’ll have some money to buy a mountain bike since you aren’t spending it on tuition!”

I understand that bad years happen.  I understand that by non-normal people standards  2014 is just around the corner. But most importantly I understand that this is really what I want to do.  That although I may get frustrated at times biathlon makes me happy.  I know there will be days when I feel like an ‘unproductive member of society’, days where I day dream about other things I could be doing.

It is so easy to get caught up in worrying about, “am I making the right choice?”  But that’s the thing… There are not ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ choices… There are only options.  Lots and lots of options.

So I might be a college drop out, but at least I’m living the Olympic dream.

 
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I’m alive!  I promise!  Today I finally finished up another round of college courses.  Six credits in Six weeks.  (and to think at one point I was considering trying to take nine!)  I’m exhausted.  After a hot morning on the roller-loop a two hour final and finishing up an eight page paper were waiting for me.

But I made it.  I’m alive!

Celebrating?  …oh yes!

A well deserved night on bikes tomorrow to the allure of boxed wine.

Yes I will wear a helmet.

No it will not be going in my training log.

I’ve been busy.  Living in a virtually ceaseless cycle of  training, studying, eating, and sleeping.  We finished up another training camp.  Completed an unbearably hot time trial (or as we like to call it, the hardest race of the year).  Shot 90% in the time trial.  Went on some good adventures.  Finished second in another running race (more on that later).

Now a little thing I like to call….

Things People Never Say to Me: The First Edition

  • Cereal is the best type of dessert don’t you think?
  • I love your crocs!  I’ve always wanted a pair that color.
  • No I get it.  It’s not a fanny pack.  It’s a ‘drink belt’.
  • How do you keep your ski boots smelling so fresh?
  • Biathlon that’s shooting and skiing right?

 

22 and old as dirt… well sort of?

 “22 going on 80: A Whole Lot of Ways Biathlon has Made Me an Old Lady”

  • I have a bed time. And it is early… like… ’10pm is hours past it’ sort of early.
  • All my injuries are related to falling down.
  • I get cranky if I miss my afternoon nap.
  • Velcro waist bands.
  • I have, in fact, cried out, “Ow ow oooow! My hip! My hip!!!”
  • I am always cold. Seriously why am I always so cold!?
  • I am only capable of knitting really ugly things.
  • Most foods are too oily, salty, or sweet for me… but I will never turn down ice cream.
  • My joints frequently ache, creek, and pop.
  • I can’t touch my toes. 
  • One drink and I am just like your Grandma Betty at Thanksgiving… asleep on the couch.
  • I understand the convenience of velcro shoes.
  • At the first sign of the sniffles I will proclaim to everyone within ear shot that I have most definitely “caught death.”
  • I appreciate foods that do not need to be chewed. Apple sauce, yogurt, mash potatoes… 
  • Walking up a flight of stairs is frequently a challenge.
  • I have a strange affinity for really ugly (but oh so cozy) socks.
  • The only thing separating life in the OTC from assisted living is a curtain between you and your room mate and a emergency button by the toilet.
    *Seriously, all your friends live down the hall, hot meals are served three times a day, and alcohol is not allowed on campus. 
  • It is way past my bed time.  Goodnight.