Sledding: Part One

Quip: I think sitting through the Spongebob movie is a sure sign of defeat. You win, Winter, you win. #becauseivelostmymind

(Wish I had a picture/video of me on the sled but all I’ve got is one of this cutie. I think he’s a good substiture.)

I’ve lived in TN my entire life; different cities but never moved out of state. Since I’ve always lived here, I can probably count on my hands the number of “good” snows I’ve experienced in my lifetime. Ya’ll. This snow (of Feb. 2015) has been the best ever! It’s been a long time since I’ve had this much fun in the snow. It’s also been probably 20-25 years since I’ve been sledding. Usually TN doesn’t get the right wintery mix for sledding but this year… it was perfection.

We’ve got a big hill in our neighborhood that was prime for sledding. The kids loved going down that monster of a hill and the adults loved it even more. I think the parents may have had more fun than the kids. Now, like I said before, it’s been many years since this Tennessee girl’s been sledding, so I played it safe. I borrowed one of the plastic ones that look like a boogie board and I sat up to make my way down the hill.

It. Was. Awesome.

It went fast enough for me to think I was having fun but I wasn’t terrified of killing myself. I could also stick my feet out and dig my heels in if I started going too fast. Sledding was my jam! I went down a couple more times. Now, lots of kids and parents had the old school Radio Flyer sleds with the metal rails. These people FLEW down the hill. Face first. Then some of the kids (mine included) would hop on their dad’s back and go down the hill. Face first. With no helmets. To me, this was completely frightening. It was like a whole other level. So after I talked about how much faster the Radio Flyers were and how scary going face first down a hill was, my neighbor basically dared me to go down.

That punk.

I didn’t want to be a sissy because 4 year olds were doing it but I was freaking scared! He then proceeded to try to convince me the Flyers weren’t THAT much faster than the plastic sleds. “Seriously, Courtney, you can do this, it’s not that bad,” he says. “If you can do the plastic sleds you can definitely do these.” I’m slowly coming around to the idea that I could be maybe brave. Maybe. His wife chimes in, “C’mon Court. Just do it. You’ll be fine…” or some nonsense like that. Then I start getting that thing. Y’know that thing that tells you even if you’re scared you can still do it.

Courage. Yes, I was feeling courage rise up inside me.

So I choked back my fear and lay down on the rickety, wooden sled. Face first. It probably wasn’t rickety but at 35 years old and a body weight significantly more than a 4 year old, it felt rickety. I decided I best compartmentalize that thought and put it somewhere else for now. Because right now, I was being brave.

Right when I lifted my hands off the icy asphalt, I started moving. Slow at first but quickly gaining momentum. Here we go. Wind in my face. Hood blown back off my head. I’m doing it! I’m being brave! But, oh crap, this thing is fast! I’m starting to veer right. I shift my weight trying to go back left so I can stay in the middle of the street. Did I mention that on this street people have mailboxes by their driveways? Clearly these are a threat to my safety since I’m swerving all over the road. I’m going so fast, the tears are forming in my eyes. I just keep saying over and over, “This is so fast. I’m going so fast!” I keep kind of fishtailing, trying to stay on the sled and not take out innocent sledders. Oh and trying not to run directly into brick mailboxes and retaining walls. Minor detail. I finally, FINALLY, started to slow down as the street flattened out. I dragged my toes into the ice to make the stopping come faster. Then, when I had finally stopped, I just laid there, face down on the sled. My heart was racing, my toes were frozen from the ice but I was alive and, more miraculously, so was everyone else. At this moment I had 2 thoughts:

  1. I did it. I was brave.
  2. My neighbor is a LIAR!

Don’t worry, when I had trudged my way back to the top of the hill, I let him know that contrary to his belief, the Flyer is MUCH faster than the plastic sled. It almost would’ve been fun if I didn’t completely and totally fear death/major injury the entire way down. But I did DO it. I was brave even though I was scared. So I guess I can thank him for that.

I’m sure you’re all thinking since I faced my fear and realized I wasn’t going to kill myself on the Flyer I would definitely go again. You would be dead wrong. I was still quite certain I could kill myself if I attempted it again. Better to play it safe and watch everyone else risk their lives on old wood attached to metal rails. This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t sled again; I just stuck to the safe, kiddie sleds that you sit upright on where the risk of killing yourself is minimal.

Then I went night sledding.

This is when my view of the plastic sled changed.

Stay tuned for Sledding: Part Deux…


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