Start to Learn Something you Suck At

About five years ago I decided I wanted to ski buoys.  I was water skiing with my friends at Fallen Leaf Lake in Lake Tahoe where there is a water ski buoy course and decided I needed to learn how to do this.  I have water skied since I was a teenager behind a big wake on Lake Tahoe, but I had no idea what to do with buoys. 

How hard could it be? 


We (Erika, David, Chris and I)  had no idea what we we doing that day, but trying to ski around those buoys became my goal.  Easier said than done.  I don't own a boat and buoy courses are not so easy to find.  Since that time I have water skied whenever I get the chance.  I will water ski behind anyone's boat at any time- I love it.  But I still have not completed a course of buoys. 

This summer I have taken two lessons. The first coach, who coaches the Sac Water Ski Team, wouldn't even let me try the buoys, he said I would be nothing but frustrated.  He said I had a long way to go.  This just fueled my desire.

 I googled water skiing and found a instructional video created by pro water skier Drew Ross.  I watched the video and decided he was the one who could teach me.  One minor wrinkle:  he lives in Orlando and I live in Sacramento.  This was not going to dissuade me.  I had my travel agent book me and my husband two tickets to Orlando, three nights hotel, and I scheduled two lessons with Drew.

 I should have known that he normally doesn't work with amateurs when we showed up without our own water skies, handles or even proper gloves.  Drew has his own lake, his own boat, and is competing for the world title in two weeks.  "Hi!  I'm Brooke and this is my husband Chris. We just came from California to learn how to ski buoys."  That is when he introduced me to his daughter, seven-year old Neily, who is not only gorgeous, well mannered and fun, but she can ski those buoys with her eyes closed. 

My new idol.

Drew explained to me that most people who compete in water skiing professionally start at the age of two.  Neily had been skiing slalom since she was three.  Starting to ski buoys in my thirties without a boat or a lake or even my own handle must have seemed ludicrous to someone like Drew, but he never once let on.

Drew pulled me and my husband up and down his lake on his skis with his handles and treated us like we were professionals.  He let us watch him ski and his daughter ski as our mouths hung open in awe.  I tried my best to ski those buoys.  I have a blister on my hand and my whole body aches.  He gave me the best coaching that may be available in the country, and still I only rounded three.  I ate it so hard one time, my bikini bottoms literally came off my body. I sucked at it so bad.  His seven year-old daughter made us look like Kindergarteners.

 But you know what?

  I loved every single minute of it.  I loved every pass where I missed the buoys and Drew would stop the boat and tell me what to work on. I loved when he told me that 13 years-old is very old to start this sport.  I loved when he told me that nothing can replace practice and repetition, and this is not something you just do on the first try.  You have to keep at it.  And then as soon as you get it, we shorten the rope and increase the speed and the sucking at it begins again.

 I am hooked.

 I love meeting myself on that course. I love having my doubts come up and pushing through them.  I love learning something brand new in my thirties that challenges me on every level. I love meeting new people and talking to someone who loves his sport so much, he doesn't mind teaching a couple of old rookies how its done.

DO this for yourself.

Pick something hard that you have always wanted to do.

Then suck at it.