Sarah Farnand, Sports Editor
Since I was a kid, skiing has been a great source of comfort. I began waterskiing when I was five years old, and started downhill skiing shortly after. After a few laps around the lake and a few trips down the bunny hill in the winter, I was hooked. Unlike other sports I played growing up, I never participated competitively in downhill or water skiing, which made the experience stress-free and therapeutic. Even in high school, when I began competitive nordic skiing, it was never a source of anxiety because I honestly did not care how I did. I was just there to meet people and exercise.
Growing up, especially during my teenage years, I was an extremely competitive person. I hated losing, and I had big aspirations for my hockey and running careers. I was certain that I would pursue one of them in college, so I trained hard and pushed myself to my absolute limits. And while every high school sports movie will tell you that hard work is what it takes to be successful, it also made me hate those sports. I was very close to quitting both hockey and running and, after coming to university, I no longer participate in either at a competitive level.
All of my memories from skiing, however, are positive, from the memories I made with my friends during nordic practices to downhill skiing with my dad during school breaks and waterskiing at my grandparents’ house over the summer. Skiing is also a perfect opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and nature. Looking up from the snow or the water and seeing the beautiful mountains and trees surrounding me as the wind blows in my face is a surreal experience every time. The peace that overcomes me while I ski is can’t be put into words.
Partaking in a sport with no expectations, simply because it is enjoyable, can be a source of solace and help heal negative connotations towards sports and exercise.
Adam Burton, Sports Editor
Open roads, gentle breezes, and the rhythmic hum of wheels gliding along the tarmac: When you’re cycling, there’s nothing but you and the path ahead.
My cycling journey began at the age of seven, when my dad threw me on the back of his tandem and dragged me along for rides all around America. I’ve come a long way since then, and while my dad was my initial source of inspiration for riding, I’ve made cycling my own.
Growing up in New York, I was easily overwhelmed by what was happening around me, whether it was academics, extracurriculars, or navigating the never-ending maze that is the high school social ecosystem. When the going got tough, I always found it easiest to retreat and spend some time alone to ground myself. As I grew older, cycling became my grounding activity. The feeling of focus, control, and isolation is comforting, and taking time for yourself was refreshing, whether it was a 20-minute bike ride home from school, or a four-hour mission to the middle of nowhere and back.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic left many with a wealth of time, and a dearth of activities to fill it with. Thankfully, riding my bike was still an option. Being able to leave my house every day and explore a new neighbourhood gave me a sense of freedom that the pandemic had otherwise taken away. Going out, visiting random towns, grabbing a coffee at a rural Tim Hortons, and nodding in approval of oncoming cyclists was the most fulfilling part of my summer.
When I’m out on the road, I get into a rhythm, my breathing synchronizing with my pedalling. Everything that burdens me simply disappears, and I come home energized, refreshed, and ready to seize the day.