Good morning and happy Tuesday, hoddlers.
Your hoddler-in-chief spent the past five days visiting his older sister in Denver, Colorado. Your huddler-in-chief types to you know from seat 18C on the JetBlue airline back to the Greater New York City area.
If there is one thing your huddler-in-chief does not excel at, it is moving downhill at a fast, uncontrolled speed. As was the case during Friday’s sojourn to Loveland, Colorado, where your huddler-in-chief thought it a great idea to pick up snowboarding for the first time in his life.
And when I say I’m not good at going downhill at a fast, uncontrolled speed, I mean it. I am a runner. I like to keep things nice and steady. I love running up hills, and the downhill can be alright if I’m at the pace I want to go. But sliding down a snow-laden hill with both feet strapped onto a wooden plank? That spells trouble.
One of my friends, an experienced snowboarder who loves the slopes, gave me a quick tutorial on how to snowboard. Fitted in uncomfortably snug boots, I strapped into the clamps on the snowboard and pulled myself up. After travelling roughly a half-metre on a barely-visible decline, I fell for the first time.
And so it often went. I did my best to remain in a relax stance, left food leading, but I could never seem to travel in the direction that I had intended.
Up Rainbow Hill we went. Toddlers no younger than 8 years old hurried past me as I slowly and unsteadily made my way down the beginner’s slope. After ten minutes I made it to the bottom, and my sister and another friend thought it a great idea to take a real lift up the green trail – named All Smiles.
My first ever ride on a lift concluded with me landing face-first into the snow and taking out my sister. This was probably the fourteenth time I fell on the day. My sister, a snowboarder, and my other friend, a skier, guided me down the bunny slope. And I must admit I got a little better each time I fell. Heck, my last attempt I made it over five metres and came to a complete stop. Nice one, fitzie.
Oh hey, look at that less-crowded hill, I told my sister, not realizing how much steeper it was at the time. And so we got back onto the lift and this time I remained upright, both feet on the snowboard and face definitively not reintroducing itself to the snow.
Feeling confident, I was ready to take on All Smiles’ sister slope. And then I looked out ahead of me and saw a steep drop.
Oh hey, this was a mistake, I told my sister and friend, but still I went down. No more than a second later I fallen and slid eight metres on my rear down the beginning stretch of the slope. The false confidence I had conjured minutes earlier had vanquished, and each time I got up I fell back down. Often on my rear, often also on my knees. Sometimes on my face.
Each crash hurt more than the one before it, and I inadvertently ventured wide right towards the barrier, away from the end of the hill. Not knowing how to snowboard back onto the trail and losing all confidence in my ability to stand upright – and with dignity long gone – I crawled through the snow to make it back onto the trail, the humiliating moment captured on video by my sister.
I got up one last time, ten minutes after I exited the lift, to try to duplicate that near-flawless five-metre run. Instead I took one of my hardest falls, slammed my backside against the hard snow, let out a string of expletives, and dreamt of beer.
Your huddler-in-chief did much learning in Loveland. Mainly he learned snowboarding was not in his future, that going downhill is overrated, and drinking beer is more favourable to indiscriminately falling and injuring yourself.
I look forward to never doing this again.
Fitzie’s track of the day: RHODODENDRON, by Hurray for the Riff Raff
And now for your links:
Alasdair Gold (YouTube): Making Antonio Conte laugh, brilliant Rodrigo Bentancur and more
Mike Dean to quit on-field refereeing at the end of the season
New York Times ($$): How Roman Abramovich used shell companies and Wall Street ties to invest in the US
David Beckham lends Instagram account to Ukrainian doctor in Kharkiv
Paolo Dybala reportedly to leave Juventus as a free agent after this season
Kyle Walker-Peters called up to England national squad for the first time