My Obsessions

Last night, my wife pointed out that I am obsessed with skiing. I looked up the weather forecast to see if it would be cold enough for the resorts to make snow. I searched for ski levels to plan out my lessons. I watched quite a bit of YouTube skiing tutorials.

My wife is correct. I have the tendency to be obsessive. When I get into something, I go all in or as much as I possibly can. From ice skating to rollerblading to skiing, I find these sports fascinating. These sports changed my perspective on physical activities. For the most part of my life, I never thought I could be athletic. I was just a lazy bum. In grade school, I tried to play football and basketball with American kids, but I sucked at them both. I didn’t even understand the rules. Asian kids I hung out with were good at volleyball, but I was just average.

I was decent at soccer, but I never excelled at it. I made it to the JV team in high school as a right forward striker, but I was too lazy to run or to hustle. I avoided getting into contact with my opponents. I waited for my teammates to pass the ball to me. As a result, I didn’t get to play much. In retrospect, why the hell was I even on the team? I didn’t contribute anything.

For a long time, I didn’t do any sports. To keep myself healthy, I started jogging and that didn’t last too long. Waking up early in the morning to go for a run is more miserable, especially in the winter, than enjoyable.

When I introduced my kids to ice skating, I picked it up myself. My goal was to skate around the rink, but when I saw other skaters doing some impressive moves on the ice, I wanted to learn more. I didn’t even know lessons were offered until a mom of Xuân’s friend pointed out to me. I enrolled Đạo, Đán, and myself. Taking lessons opened up a whole new world for me. In ice skating, levels have been established to guide you through your progression. I started out from all the basics and then moved into jumps, spins, and step sequences. The Fairfax Ice Arena used the Ice Sport Industry (ISI) program in its curriculum so I just followed it. I wrapped up my Freestyle 2 group lessons last December. I am at the point where I can learn on my own with Coach Julia’s YouTube videos. I wanted to focus on jumps and step sequences instead of spins.

During the pandemic lockdown, we needed some form of outdoor activities. We biked, but I got bored quickly. Biking up the hills was not that much fun. I resisted rollerblading because it seemed like a dangerous sport. Falling on concrete appeared to be painful. Then my wife bought us rollerblades, helmets, and protective gears for our knees, elbows, and wrists. We rollerbladed around basketball courts and bike trails, but the skate parks changed our game. I can’t remember how I discovered skate parks, but I was so glad when I learned such places existed for free. They were intimidated at first, especially those deep bowls, but they were fun as we made the progressions. I learned and built up my skills from watching YouTube videos. So far, rollerblading is the most dangerous out of the three sports. I hurt myself a few times; therefore, I took extra precautions.

With skiing, my wife brought us Epic passes for the entire season. With a week-long trip in New Hampshire and two days in Pennsylvania, the passes paid for themselves. From now on, our ski trips are free. With unlimited access, I wanted to develop more skiing skills than just plowing down the hills for fun. I planned on taking group lessons, but so far the resorts were short of staff. As a result, I learned through YouTube videos. I wanted to make some skiing progress to allow me to enjoy the blue, maybe even black, terrains.

I am loving ice skating, rollerblading, and skiing because they are similar in a way that each sport gives me the opportunity to develop my skills at my own pace. I don’t have to compete against anyone else. I don’t have to prove to anyone that I am better—something I also wanted to teach my kids. These are the sports we learn together to improve ourselves instead of to compete against each other.

I have been obsessed with practicing because I don’t want to lose all the skills I have gained. If I don’t rollerblade regularly, stepping up on the coping to drop in could be quite intimidating. I wanted to incorporate these sports into my life so I can stay healthy and become more adventurous.

Bonjour Vietnam