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the Piste...

To be "home." As I confront my opportunities with PLS, my ability to move is challenged every day, requiring mental and physical focus with every step I take-- every move I take. With two broken elbows, a broken hand, broken collarbone and torn rotator cuff along this path, the cost of a fall can be significant.


Increasingly over the last 5 years, I am drawn like a magnet to a mental state, a mental place, and sometimes physical-- that I call home. A couple days ago, I went home to a place that could be any ski slope, anywhere, at any time. It is often a mental place, but this time it was mental and physical, at a small, family-owned ski area, Nashoba Valley, just west of Boston. Skiing was part of my childhood and a large part of my adult life. From the age of two, my 4 siblings and parents would ski anywhere. Snowstorm? Strap on the skis and ski down the road. After a day of skiing? Put on the cross-country skis and bushwack in the woods in the dark. Raining? Love to ski in the rain! Glades? The icing on the cake. And there were the family ski races, night skiing with a detour to the Tucker's for hot chocolate followed by more skiing before they shut the t-bar down. You get the idea... And that is how I ended up in the lodge at Nashoba a few days ago, struggling to get my ski boots on, so excited to be home. Yes, so excited, but also a bit afraid of what I didn't know--could I get on the chairlift? get off? How would I ski? Could I ski? Would my legs give out? Would I be able to balance or would I just fall over? It didn't matter, because I was home. Or maybe it didn't matter because I was able to ski and I was able to manage. I was living. I was in the same place that I am when I look the picture above, taken from a vintage European ski calendar that I get every year. Or when I watch or see any skiing or winter playground on a screen, see the snow fall or dream of taking my 3 kids to the legendary World Cup venues that I've seen from afar my whole life-- Kitzbuhel, St. Moritz, Cortina, Davos, Val d'Asere, Wengen, etc. to see races like the Hahnenkamm (the Streif!) and the Lauberhorn...


Or when I close my eyes and just imagine them. Yes, these places are my home. But I have others-- my kettlebells, the bike, the ocean, hiking, working out. It doesn't matter if I can still do them, but that I did, I can, and the hope that one day I might again-- the chance..."You might not," some brave (and wise) person recently responded when I told him that I sometimes tell kids that "I will get better." He's right. I may stay the same. I may get better. I may get worse. Yes, I may get worse. But he also said that the way I can beat this thing is "...to live a good life." And I have found that one of the ways I do that is to draw on energy, experiences, feelings that help me live today-- to live a good life. And one important concept and fire that burns within me is the concept of "home." My journey with PLS is my "Kitzbuhel," my "El Cap." Where is your "home?" your "El Cap?"

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