Erin Maidman: Travel team

Erin Maidman

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Unlike any other sport I’ve ever played, ski racing not only requires an athlete to learn a sport; it requires an athlete to learn a lifestyle. A ski racer commits at least three hours a day, six days a week to perfecting their craft. We are on the hill, in the snow, practicing the same things, trying to achieve the same goals, nearly every day.

However, in this sport, it doesn’t end when I get home. After training, I come home and do school in order to be able to ski the next day. Then, after almost five hours of school, I have to tune and prep my skis to keep them in good shape for training. On certain days, I go to the gym to build up my strength for skiing. Finally, after a long day, I go to bed early to ski the next morning. But, when we’re home, we have the ability to call on our parents or other adults for help. {sidebar id=65}

Sometimes, though, my teammates and I have to accomplish all of these responsibilities in a very unique environment. When we have to travel for races, my teammates and I go on what we call “travel team,” which is when we all live in one big house with only our coach to supervise.  Our coach merely drives us to and from the mountain and takes care of emergencies, so we have to depend on each other to get most things done.

We cook dinner, clean the house, and manage our time. We work as a team to accomplish all our tasks at the house. We have the freedom to do whatever we want, but we keep each other accountable and act responsibly. We are all here for the same purpose; to race, and race well.

Travel team might sound like a lot of work, and it is. It can be stressful, frustrating, even exhausting. Girls fight, things get lost, people are late; the list goes on.

And, despite all the things that could and will go wrong, travel team is still my favorite part of ski team. I am so close to every one of my girls because of it. We are an immediate part of each other’s lives. We work through our problems and achieve our goals together as a team. We support each other, celebrating with each other during our victories and comforting each other during our losses. Because we are all working toward the same goal, we all relate to each other’s problems. My teammates and I are more close-knit than in any other team sport I’ve played, and we compete against each other. Through travel team, we have grown from friends to sisters, creating one incredibly dysfunctional family.

I know I can go to my teammates with anything, because they will always support me. They care about what I care about; ski racing. Nothing bonds a group together stronger than a common goal.

I’m on travel team right now, racing in the Giant Slalom Junior Olympic Qualifier in Northstar. There is a lot of pressure to do well at this race, and I am nervous. I don’t know if I will be able to get the results I need to save myself a spot on the plane to Junior Championships. But I know that I can rely on my teammates to help me through it.

Check out my race at LiveTiming.com. I hope that by the next time I talk to you I’ll have good news to share.

What do you think?