Clubhouse Chronicles: And just like that, the spring is suddenly here at AVSC
AVSC executive director
Chances are, if you live in the Roaring Fork Valley, you were a competitive athlete or have been close with one at some point in your life. You’ve witnessed firsthand the ups and downs of an athletic career, whether at the little league or major league level. The preparations and setbacks. The wins and losses. The teammates and competitors. The ebb and flow of on- and off-season. The hard work.
Our primary motivations for our children’s participation in sports are fun, camaraderie and personal growth. Yet, for many of our athletes, the real driver is the chance to test themselves, perform their best and receive the benefits that come along with a strong performance at end-of-season championships.
For the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club’s competitive athletes, March is the crescendo. Momentum builds throughout the season with each passing training day, free ski run, layer of wax and video review. Athletes prepare to compete at the highest levels within their discipline. These competitons take many forms; national or international events that give athletes the chance to secure a spot on a college team or a national team, or simply a chance to compete head-to-head against the best in the country and the world. There is no doubt that life for everyone has changed drastically in the last week alone as the world tries to make sense of COVID-19 and the challenges it presents from a health, economic and social standpoint.
As our coaches and athletes were gearing up to head out on the road, or host competitors right here at home, their season came to a grinding halt. First large events were canceled, then regional trips, then all competitive events and finally, daily training. All of these decisions were absolutely the right ones, made thoughtfully with the best interest of the community and the country in mind.
That does not ease the sting of this abrupt ending to a meaningful time in an athletic career. For many, a constructive mindset after some reflection will allow this to serve as fodder for motivation toward next season.
Yet, for some, there is no next season. Seniors lose their opportunity to have a final goodbye to a sport, to competitors and to coaches that have been critical fibers in the fabric of their childhood. There will be no last competition, no final advice from their coach, no ultimate push to put it all on the line, no postseason awards ceremony. No closure to a sport they have dedicated a significant part of their lives to.
If you know an AVSC athlete — or for that matter, any high school-aged athlete — reach out to them and ask them about their season. Learn about the wins, the losses, the surprise lessons learned, the funny moments along the way. Celebrate the success they had and ask what they’ve learned from the setbacks. What are their plans for next year? While many of them will not get the closure they had anticipated, it’s up to us to help them make sense of it all. As athletes, they have developed the grit and resilience necessary to preserve through tough times. Remind them of that.
While it may not have been the ending to the winter season we — or anyone else — had imagined, I am immensely proud of the passion, growth and excellence exhibited by our coaches and athletes over the course of the winter. I look forward to the clubhouse door opening again and being full with athletes and all that they bring with them — hard work, stench, hoots and hollers, and yes, backpacks all over the floor.
In the meantime, I hope everyone finds time to responsibly enjoy fresh air and reflect on an incredible winter, even if it ended a bit earlier than we’d wanted!
Clubhouse Chronicles is a behind-the-scenes column written by the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club that runs periodically in the Outdoors section.