Pride in sport isn’t just during Olympics | AspenTimes.com

Pride in sport isn’t just during Olympics

Josh Ganz
Coach’s Corner
Devo 2 athlete Kelanii Scarpaci, of Aspen, practices an Indy Grab on Jump 1 in the Snowmass Park.
Tim Ward/Special to the Sun |

There’s been a lot of excitement in the sports world recently coming from a lot of non-athletes and athletes.

This is due to the fact that the international celebration of competition and heritage known as the Olympics is going on.

The Olympics are where athletes from all walks of life and all corners of the globe come together to perform to the best of their abilities in honor of their countries. Sitting in restaurants and bars, people constantly scream and shout for team members to go faster, try harder and aim higher while sometimes simultaneously asking how one even scores or is judged in the particular event being displayed.

The reason is pride. Pride in the team that represents the individual. As far as I can tell, there’s really never a greater recurring moment of national pride than in the Olympics. This can be a great uniting factor, especially after moments of despair (think Seahawks and Broncos fans now sitting side by side cheering for the same team).

While this general athletic pride seems to only become apparent every two years, as an Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club coach I get to experience this pretty much on a daily basis.

It’s natural to take pride in one’s own accomplishments. It’s also natural even when they’re not necessarily your own as long as we believe in the person or people achieving those triumphs. We generally believe in those competitors representing our nation when it comes to competition on an international stage, even if it’s in a sport such as curling where we understand little to nothing about what’s going on.

While this general athletic pride only seems to become apparent every two years, as an Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club coach, I get to experience this pretty much on a daily basis. Even on days when I’m off work, I might receive a text from an athlete exclaiming that they finally landed a trick we’ve been working on, got an A on a homework assignment or maybe even got the phone number of a cute girl we’ve seen in the lift line the past few weeks.

These accomplishments are not mine, per se. Sometimes they aren’t even very big or significant, but they make my athletes proud enough to share their efforts with others and myself.

Whether I’ve had all the impact in the world on my athletes’ achievements or none at all, it makes me feel good to know that these guys and girls are making steps in the right direction. Whether that direction is taking the road toward being a more successful competitive athlete or a more successful functioning member of society, the pride in their endeavors merits celebration more frequently than just once every two to four years.

As much as I’d rather not admit it, there have even been times that I’ve had to take a few steps back, having initially thought, “What’s the big deal?”

In this job, and outside it, I realize that we should take pride in all our successes. It seems to make for better days, months and years. My athletes seem to always be proud of theirs, which I think is a great example to live by, this year and next, during Olympic years and not.

Josh Ganz is a snowboarding coach for the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club. He writes about the progress of athletes who live and/or train in Snowmass Village. Email him at jganz@teamavsc.org.


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