Ganz: Big strides for little guys
Integrity. Teamwork. Commitment. These are the core values of the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club. Just three words that we as an organization feel can help create not only great athletes, but more importantly, great people. In the past, these ideas have also helped place many of our athletes on podiums for events at every level of competition throughout the world. This is an added perk in my mind.
Sometimes these concepts aren’t always displayed. I can say that once or twice an athlete has complained about waking up early for training (commitment), laughed and pointed instead of helping when someone got stuck in powder (teamwork) and sometimes rushed past those slowly moving through the maze to get to the lift quicker (integrity). These are small infractions, and no one is perfect. However, on Sunday I had the honor of observing my athletes adhere to all three of these core values.
The AVSC snowboard program ranges from the Pre-Development level (6 to 9-year-olds) to Masters (adults). My athletes are between 10 and 12 years of age; we are the Development Two crew. I’d say it’s pretty normal for one person to look up to another who is more skilled and further along in their accomplishments. As we invited a Pre-Devo athlete to ride with our crew for the day, I witnessed this admiration first-hand. This little (really little) guy excitedly followed just about every move he could right on the heels of my guys, which was to be expected. This 6-year-old has talked about how “awesome” and “rad” he thinks some of my guys are. He did a great job keeping up and attempting new things in the wake of my athletes, but that’s not what really impressed me.
What really impacted me was how my entire team banded together to take this younger athlete under their wings. They could have easily said, “Aw, do we have to?” or, “He’s only going to slow us down.” Instead, they happily took time out of their day to explain in the manner a 6-year-old would understand what we intended to do during the next portion of the run (teamwork). They allowed him to eat in the clubhouse, a privilege Pre-Devo athletes typically don’t have — making sure all messes were cleaned up (integrity). Lastly, they cheered him on when he tried a handplant (commitment). Honestly, I could list so many more things my crew did that could have easily been labeled any one of our three core values, but this newspaper only has so much space.
Bottom line, when it comes down to it, even pre-teens can be stand-up human beings. It made me proud to sit back and watch drastic age differences and ability levels work together to stay safe and have fun. The athletes on Sunday truly demonstrated that they are in fact a team with a strong set of principles and core values.
Josh Ganz is a snowboarding coach for the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club. Email him at email@example.com.
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