Being pathetic and skiing with God

Ron Rash

A number of seasons back, when I was a ski instructor, we had this trainer come over from Vail. He was at the highest level one could achieve in the rankings of the Professional Ski Instructors of America. He was a phenomenal skier; even the other examiner’s stood back in awe. They would make quips like, “Even God wished he could ski like that.”I ended up in a seminar with eight other lucky participants and God as our trainer.I should mention at this point I was the poorest skier in the group. The chubby little redhead could put two seconds on me in the Nastar course and the 65-year-old would make comments like, “When we do drills can I go before Rash? I don’t want his image in my head when it’s my turn to go.”Halfway through the morning, God decides we will stand at the side of an intermediate run and watch skiers go by and do movement analysis on them.I’m standing near the back of the group, trying to hide and also eyeballing the shapely form of a fellow coworker. Yes, we all used to wear tight stretch pants. I’m in the back daydreaming with my gloves strategically placed in front of me so no one notices my obvious daydream, when God decides to call on me.”Rash! Two o’clock! Large human swinging his arms all over the place like he’s swatting insects or having a fit. How are you going to make a positive change in his skiing?”I quickly reply, “I would enroll him into a Slender Now program and see if he is in need of medical attention.”No one says a word and all heads swing back my direction. Finally, the young lady I had been daydreaming about says, “How rude, that was pathetic.”At this juncture I want to crawl away and disappear. Just about the time I feel I can’t take anymore embarrassment, God says, “Anybody else up for some positive feedback for our fellow skier that Rash just verbally abused.”The 65-year-old pipes up, “Well God, the first step I would take with our fellow skier would be to compliment him on being out here and giving it his all. Next, I would help him to correct his balance position since he’s slightly back and he’s playing catch up on every turn, hence the swinging arms. He also needs more active steering of his skis throughout the turn, especially the inside ski and less weight on that inside ski.”God responds, “Bravo, wonderful, it’s all about cause and effect. I’m glad you did not try to correct the swinging arms by holding his poles like a balanced tray.”The 65-year-old looks down the line directly at me and gives me a smug smile. I want to give him the finger, but the Daydream is still glaring at me.Just as I was thinking things could not get worse God says, “Let’s give movement analysis a rest and hit the race course.”My worse nightmare comes true. The chubby redhead starts jumping up and down and hyperventilating. As we pull into the start area, the 65-year-old pulls out the nightmare to end all nightmares as he says, “Hey God, I bet you could beat Rash on one ski.” Without even asking me, God drops one ski and turns to me and says, “Come on Rash, I never refuse a challenge.””I didn’t challenge you, I don’t even want to race,” I reply. Though 36 at the time, my voice cracks as if adolescence is overtaking me again.God turns to the Daydream and says, “What do you think of this guy?”All she says is, “Not much.” Before any more discussion commences, the race course announcer counts, “Three, two, one, go!”By the first gate God is 10 feet ahead of me and is already setting up for gate number 2. Even though I’m on two skis and I’m skating between gates for all I’m worth, God easily smokes me to the finish line.I head for the parking lot, somewhat dejected, where I see the Daydream getting in God’s BMW.What did I learn from this eventful day so long ago? That God is far quicker than me in all aspects of life, has a huge ego and in hindsight, what the hell was I daydreaming for? Ron did reach Level 2 certification in alpine and level 3 in nordic downhill with the P.S.I.A. Give him some advice on his form at