Ben Roberts sent me this email, and with his permission, I reprint it here. It is such an amazing letter, so clarifying for me... thank you for all your help, Ben.
On that same note, I want to say thank you for the HUGE number of emails and support I've gotten in the days leading up to the exams and afterwards. TALK ABOUT A SUPPORT SYSTEM!!
I saw your most recent blog post about
money/travel/family stress and have a little advice.
I'm always hesitant to offer advice when is isn't
solicited so take this with as big a grain of salt as
you want or feel free to ignore it completely.
Working towards becoming really good at what we do as
skiers, teachers, professionals with the goal of
making the d-team is a goal that differs considerably
from becoming a high-level athlete in any particular
sport. In my opinion it is a "war of attrition."
Basically you set a pace to keep pushing yourself
forward that can be maintained for a long period and
have faith that by keeping the goal in the front of
your mind you will make steady progress. (from an
athletic standpoint the skiing outcomes demanded from
the role can be achieved well into a healthy and fit
person's fifties as opposed to most sports where it
all wraps up by our mid 30's)
I'm sure that you feel behind the game in some fashion
given your age and experience. Don't let those
factors fill you with doubt. Have faith. Don't think
that missing a few opportunities to be "in the mix"
will somehow close the door on your goals. It won't.
Period. You get more out of sticking to your own pace
and plan. You know what all the big wigs have to say
and they all know who you are. In my opinion the
secret missing ingredient to success in these goals is
to find your own way to them rather than being shown
the way by the current leaders in the arena. They
have a lot to offer, but only you can show yourself
In a nutshell what I'm saying is blow off academy and
don't sweat it. From what I have seen as it relates
to making the d-team most of the recipes for success
that people talk about don't work because they are
someone else's recipe. Not yours.
What I would suggest if this is something you are
really serious about is to save the academy money and
go to Mammoth. Seeing this tryout firsthand will be
very helpful for the next one. If that isn't in the
cards, don't sweat it either. Just a thought.
On the money making front and as a way to advance your
goals I would suggest making some article proposals
for The Pro Skier. If you take your own pictures the
cash for an article with pictures is pretty decent,
enough for a week or two of baby sitting.
I hope this is helpful and doesn't give you more
doubts and second guessing. Let me know.
US Disabled Ski Team - Coach