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Passion Pushes Athletes

Lately I have been trying to notice everyday people who live with passion in their lives.  Since I have been spending a lot of time in Blackcomb’s park I have had the chance to meet up with new riders who are truly locals.  
First, I met Martin; he is from Argentina and an instructor for the resort.  He packs in whole days where breaks are seldom.  Next I met JP, fully educated and trying to make a  career in Whistler in the fitness industry.  He also is on the mountain every day he can be with big smiles, taking full advantage of his pass.
It is clear to me that snowboarding is their world.  It’s what they dream of day and night, where goals are not necessarily to be a pro, but to learn, practice, and improve.  Snowboarding is their passion and I was excited to see them expressing it.  The past couple of days have had a lot of great times. 
All this makes me think of the passion of other athletes, not just snowboarders.  With 76 days left until the start of the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games, I can almost feel the excitement building across the country, and I too want to get involved.
I decided to choose an athlete to follow to and though the Games, this will give me an inside feel to the big event from a participant’s point of view at the Summer Games.  
Rosie MacLennan
I have a connection to a few athletes who are potential or are going to the Games already but none who’s sport can be related to snowboarding.  That is until I remembered my Pilates trainer, Fanny at Health Movement, also trained a trampoline athlete, Rosie MacLennan.  Trampoline would be perfect as it is several acrobatic movements in a row and it’s judged.  I definitely felt there is a connection. 
I contacted Rosie and she is thinking about it now. I am excited to connect with another athlete whose passion is pushing them towards perfection and greatness.  There must be many similarities in our journeys to the Games.  This also gives me the change to help promote the interest of our Olympic team, so we are all active in supporting them. 
Until I get a response, it’s back up to Blackcomb to practice my own craft.  My own qualifying for Sochi starts August 25th at Cardrona resort in New Zealand, and I am going to be ready to bring it!

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Passion

The last ten years of my life have been passion driven, and I must say that I am privileged to have found things I was passionate about at a young age.  I was lucky enough to be exposed to many experiences to gauge what my possible passions were.  However, not every kid out there is as fortunate as I was, and I am pretty sure the schooling curriculum does not include finding your passion.  So, for the past few weeks I have been composing a presentation to take to schools and social groups to get kids thinking.


My goal is to get them to think about what they are good at, enjoy, and are interested in.  Or to just be more conscience of what is happening around them so they can get some ideas on what they could be passionate about.  I feel this is an important step to get kids motivated and confident again. 


Included in my presentation is talk about how to make passions a realistic occupation, since I have so many great examples around me to pull from.  I live with examples like my friend Tenika, who is pursuing acting and modeling, but has her Bachelor of Arts in political science.  When speaking to her about this project she reminded me that your passion almost has to be an obsession, where perseverance gets you though many set backs.  With her, it is audition after audition, where getting turned down is a very common occurrence.  Another amazing example is my parents and our family business.  They deal with a lot of crap, but they are passionate about retail.  My Mom loves the social aspect and my Dad loves directing and taking care of everyone.  At times he sounds like air traffic control, making it happen for the people around him.  Lastly, I think of my own adventures and how the love of snowboarding makes me responsible and have initiative to work on my own on the mountain and off the mountain.  We are all people who followed our calling.   
 
Even though all our passions are different we all have one common trait…a great work ethic.  This characteristic allows us to live our passions as a job, where we live to work and not work to live, and we are okay with this.  It would be amazing if the next generation of workers lived like this too.  More people would take pride in what they do, work quality would rise, and the ordinary person would live a much happier life.

I am excited about this project and having the opportunity to inspire others to follow and live their dreams, as I was inspired to do years ago.  I have found great supporters like Sony of Canada, Iyashi Bedrock Spa, Anakie, Scott Goggles and iFound.  And I can’t forget about my incredible parents and coach/partner Roberto Marfia.  My supporters mixed with passion and work ethic is a recipe for success.  And with a little help, I believe anyone can follow this recipe.  I would love the chance to help a kid find their way and place in this world.         

If you would like more information on a presentation, which right now is a free presentation, please fill out a email form at /   

The Quebec World Cup

Getting to Quebecwas a little crazy.  First was the flight from Denver to Toronto, which was the best part of the trip.  We upgraded to First Class and it was great.  Truly a more civilized way to travel, being fed and lots of moving around room is the way to go.  Thank goodness I had upgrade credits that needed using.


We arrived at Pearson airport on time but it always takes so long to get luggage, plus clearing customs, we ended up spending an hour in the air port.  This was not good because coach made the decided to drive to Montrealthat night so we could hit up the first day of practice. 

Once all was said and done, eating and saying hello to the parents, it was already 7pm, we had a 515km drive a head of us and I knew my Aunt would be waiting for us to arrive.  We needed to get to Montrealquick. 

The 401 highway was our main route and about 40kms in to the trip the speedometer went out, so I had to drive according to RPMs.  I am used to this because of my boat training; sometimes the speedos didn’t work well on the boats, so you would do what you can.  Driving fast, I was driving with my head on a swivel.  Lady luck was on my side and I made it safely to my Aunts in less than 5 hours. 

The next morning there was practice at the resort, Stoneham, at 10am, and we were still 280kms away.  Roberto drove the rest of the way while I got some sleep so I would have some energy for the 3 hour practice I would have to ensue and perform in. 

We made it and were on course, with accreditation and bibs, by 11:45am.  Phew! I was a bit surprised to have such good practice.  I thought I was going to just do straight airs but I was able to pull it together and get my run down a couple of times.

It was also great to see good friends at the top of the pipe.  I have slowly befriended Chinese rider Xuetong through her coach, my friend, Christopher Clark.  “tong tong’ is her nickname on their team and she’s always smiling and high-fiving when we meet up.  Her and ‘crazy Dr. Loo’ are very patient with teaching me Mandarin, it’s taken me a while to learn ‘how are you’ and ‘I am fine’.  It’s much different from the Japanese that I have learnt in the past, and I have troubles with the intonation, but I am happy to try.   

Coach and I were relieved to finally get checked into the hotel, unpack, eat, and catch some Z’s. 

Tuesday’s practice when very well, with the sun shining and pipe having a much better shape, I practiced various runs with ease, and I could feel the energy building for the contest.  That night I had a meeting with Bob Palmer  to get my mental game up too.  It was great, and I was fired up.

The late morning of Wednesday was a snowy one with light fog in the half, the men rode first and there ended up being a half foot of sugar snow in the bottom.  Neither of this mattered to me because I was so in the ‘zone’.  It’s hard for me to describe to you exactly what happened or what I was doing because it was almost dream like.  I was on auto pilot that morning.  I did my runs and nothing else mattered.  This is what the ‘zone’ is like.  I didn’t even notice anyone else’s runs…I leave that up to my coach.  At least I got that right that day; that I definitely found the sweet spot in the zone. 

When I reached the bottom of the pipe I heard from the announcements that I had made semi finals and I was so stoked.  On to twitter I went telling everyone about my accomplishment.  I had made it though…or so I thought I did. 

Later that night, after preparing all evening, I received a call from Canada Snowboard telling me there had been a tabulation mistake and I actually missed finals by a point and a half.  I was SO BROKEN!!

Just heartbroken with this news! I was in the dumps.  My balloon had been totally deflated.  This contest meant a lot to me, and this mishap made me feel as though I was on the brink of quitting.  I know a lot of people envy what I do, but I also envy what everyday people get to do too.  Life is way easier to punch a clock, get a steady paycheque, and sleep in your own familiar bed every day.  There is so much ambiguity in my life that at times it drives me crazy and the people around me crazy.      

So, with all that happening I am lucky I have the support of some great people in my life.  My Mom and coach who help keep things in perspective; friends who make time for me when I am around and fully understand when I need to work.  I get a lot of love from these people.  At least how I live helps separates the real from the fluff.  No matter what the result of the contest I know I am always winning at life with these people around me.  There will be more contests and it’s a build to greatness.  It is a hard road, but would be much harder alone.    

   

Hearts, Guns and Training

Valentine's Day is always a funny day of the year.  Statistically it's not the day with the most breakups, actually two weeks before Christmas takes that title, but it's third on the list just behind Spring Break.   Actually I was surprised when I looked into some stats on Vday.  The biggest one that surprised me was that approximately 40% of the 180 million Vday cards purchased is done so by parents.  I believe this because I have gotten more cards by my Mom on Vday than by boyfriends.  I also suppose that parents also buy cards for their partners as well.  
My Vday was spent at the gun range unloading magnums of bullets at cans and targets.  Then on the slope with the snow feature I love the most, the half pipe.  I made chicken noodle soup from scratch, yes I love to cook too.  And cuddled down with the special person in my life to watch movies.  I guess to me it's not about spending money or doing lavish things, although flowers don't hurt but I feel that way with any day of the year.  Valentine's Day is about doing things I love to do.  I was sure to call my parents and let them know that I love them.  
The last two days have been training intensive working on drills, visualizing and trying to get  more breakthroughs.  I also have been playing travel agent booking flights, cars and hotel rooms.  There has also been the dealings with Canada Snowboard about confirming spots for contests which are a couple weeks away.  I was amazed at how I could not get a confirmation for contests that I needed to book logistics for.  Or a concise schedule for Canadian Nationals at Canada Olympic Park, I wonder if they know that flights do not get cheaper closer to the date? Well this is nothing new to me, just a little frustrating when you are trying to snowboard on a budget.  My sponsors are awesome Sony is really supportive for what I need.  More sponsorship would be great to cover a training/competing years which costs over $50,000, non Olympic, and over $80,000 for a Olympic qualifying year.  Canada helps with a couple thousand, which is a grant, that I apply for every year and haven't ever benefited from.  Thus is life.  When you get lemons, make lemonade as the story goes.  
I am thankful my parents raised me to pursue and that I really love riding half pipe.  There are ALWAYS challenges and triumphs and new things to learn.  I feel I am expanding as a person in life, love and labor.  
Still, this week is flying by so quickly, the Quebec World Cup will be upon me soon.  It will be a great contest!