Brad Ogden Mr. Buffington English 104 2/17/11 There is nothing more beautiful than being a part of a community. A community is a group of people with a common interest or goal who interact with each other and unite together to make what they stand for special (Students, English 104, 2011). A community can be a school, a city, a team, or simply a hobby that is shared and enjoyed together. There is a community for almost anything and no matter how big or small it is, it means a great deal to the people that are a part of it.
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I would consider myself a part of numerous communities but one that I especially value would be the community of snowboarders. I have had a passion for snowboarding since I was very young and my passion has only grown and matured more as I have gotten older. This passion originated from a Disney movie, “Johnny Tsunami”, where the main character is a young snowboarder who is very talented and brave. I would watch this movie every chance that I got and it summoned my love for the sport because I could not think of anything cooler than becoming snowboarder.
In the movie there was one quote that stuck with me and is still an essential value to myself, “Go big or go home. ” That has stuck with me my whole life; it gave me the courage to get on a snowboard, has helped me stomp my first tricks, and helped me overcome many fears of injuring myself. That quote will stay with me and will continue to help me become a better snowboarder. Becoming a part of this community made me realize that I can say that I can consider a stranger on a snowboard somewhat of a brother or sister, which might sound strange but there is a connection between two people that share the same passion.
The most important asset to every snowboarder that generates the passion for snowboarding is his or her snowboard. A snowboarder without a snowboard is like a soldier without a gun or a mom without a child, without it the title is deficient. The snowboard is the key to all the locked doors and with it you can reach unimaginable goals and keep the passion for the sport burning. I first got to experience the thrill of riding a snowboard when I was ten years old on a trip to Perfect North Slopes in Indiana with my best friend and his family of experienced skiers.
My best friends mother insisted that I tried skiing before I got on a snowboard because snowboarding is apparently more difficult than skiing, which I found to be erroneous after falling several times on skis going down the bunny slope. After I traded my skis in for a snowboard the day became much more thrilling. The feeling I got from snowboarding on that day was almost as electrifying as the first time I fell in love, it was something that I continued think about everyday and no matter how badly it hurt me, I wanted go back for more.
From that point on, each time I would hop off the ski lift it was like another adventure, and each time my love for it would grow. Of course I wasn’t hitting frontside indy grabs or 5400’s from the get-go, which are semi-difficult moves that include a series of spins and grabs while gliding through the air after hitting a jump. Just like every newcomer to the sport I had my fair share of spills.
Throughout my years of snowboarding I have knocked teeth out, broken my tailbone and arm several times, dislocated my shoulder, and have simply fallen so hard that it seemed the snow beneath my board turned into asphalt as I approached the impact zone. Even though I have suffered these injuries I have continued to go out and push myself to become a better snowboarder. The snowboard brings numerous values to the table, such as determination and patience but it all depends on the rider and the thrill they are searching for.
For some riders, it is a simple way to escape from the world of stress and hard times and is just a good time relaxing, for others it is simply another outdoor adventure, and for the people for whom it is more than a hobby like myself, it is a way of life. For us, snowboarding is used as a way to see how far we can push ourselves past the realm of apprehension into a place where we can be totally confident and fearless. Snowboarding introduced a plethora of values, which have all made me a more mature and diligent individual.
Snowboarding can be very frustrating at times, it is not a sport that you can simply shoot from the hip and expect to become successful, which is why you have to be determined, patient, disciplined, confident, and outgoing. Determination is huge in snowboarding because if you’re not determined to get any better then you’re not going to, you have to want it so badly that you will to push yourself each run so that you can possibly become the next professional snowboarder chairman like Shaun White or Travis Rice.
With determination comes patience, to get better you not only have to be determined to improve every time but you have to realize that it takes years to become a well-rounded snowboarder. Do you think 10-time snowboard gold medalist Shaun White hit a double mctwist 1260 or simply hurled himself off 22-foot edges of a half pipe with an accumulation of spins, flips and twists right off the bat? No, everything that White attempts on a snowboard is meticulously thought out and fine-tuned (RED, WHITE AND FLYING HIGH, Kirby, 2010).
He practices regularly to continue to push the limits of physics and the human body, which lead to the creation of new tricks and the growth of a more extreme snowboarding community. Patience goes hand-in-hand with discipline. Riding can become very frustrating so it is crucial that you keep a good head on your shoulders and rise each time that you fall. If you fall nine times you must stand up ten times and to do that you must be confident and outgoing on every single run.
Second guessing yourself on a snowboard is very dangerous because if you are not confident during an attempt to land a trick then you will hurt yourself physically and mentally even more than if you were to give all your effort and still fall. You cannot be scared of the potential appalling outcomes from snowboarding because if you are fearful that you might hurt yourself or embarrass yourself then you will not be able to completely push yourself to your greatest capabilities.
Snowboarding is one of the most difficult sports to be good at, it takes a very long time to become consistent and successful but if you put forth all the values that are installed in a good snowboarder, you yourself can become a talented rider as well. Another beautiful aspect of the snowboarding community is its fashion. Snowboarding is a hybrid culture, which combines aspects of grunge, punk and hippy cultures, and more latterly hip-hop and dance cultures, amongst others (Snowboarders vs. Skiers, Edensor and Richards, 2005). These diverse cultures, which all have different styles, wear very similar clothing while n the slopes because of the demands for the fashion. These styles typically include baggy pants, beanie hats and jackets. Unlike other sports where you can tell how talented a person is from their body type, snowboarders clothing styles assume great prominence in achieving distinction amongst members of the community. Most of the time you can look at a boarder and tell how good he or she is simply by what they are wearing (Pollio, 20, snowboarder). I wear baggy pants, a plain shirt, a black pinstriped jacket, a black or blue beanie, and goggles.
This is the basic swagger of a snowboarder but there are other reasons for wearing this clothing other than it looks cool and that everyone else in the community wears something similar. For example, I wear baggy pants because loose clothes are required for maneuverability when doing tricks and turns on a snowboard. The catch to looking good on the slopes is not only to dress like you know how to snowboard; you have to ride like you know how to snowboard. Someone could walk out with a brand new board and you would think he is good initially but once he falls numerous times you would consider him a poser or a lame.
Clothes are subordinate to the performance of a snowboarder but they are intimately linked to the degree of skill of the wearer. Not everyone seeing snowboarder’s style as “cool” or fashionable, some of the biggest haters of snowboarders are skiers. There has always been tension between the community of snowboarders and the community of skiers since each of the sports was created. Snowboarders refer to skiers as conformist, over-cautious and inexpressive. Skiers refer to snowboarders as subversive, reckless and boisterous. You could say that these stereotypes are true to a certain degree.
Snowboarders and skiers have a serious problem with sharing the snow, which is where these stereotypes start to reveal themselves. A snowboarder would be considered reckless because he or she will cut off a skier because skiers go too slowly and they somehow are always in a snowboarder’s way. A snowboarder would seem subversive because they are rebellious and do whatever they please on the slopes simply because they can and want to see a reaction out of a skiing passerby, and they would seem boisterous because that’s how they are; full of energy, rowdy, unruly, and always excited.
Skiers think they are superior to snowboarders because their sport has been around longer and it is more proper and professional, when in reality they are no better than any snowboarder. The conflicts between snowboarders and skiers are part of a broader, uneven process in which the competing performances of their diverse styles of movement attempt to claim space (Snowboarders vs. Skiers, Edensor and Richards, 2005).
Snowboarders and skiers are in an ongoing battle to territorialize space, to claim it from other users and from those who have controlled space by establishing rules and conventions about what constitute appropriate embodied functions, performances and symbolic meanings (Snowboarders vs. Skiers, Edensor and Richards, 2005). The snowboarding community is constantly growing and the members of it are pushing the sport to limits that have not been reached yet. The best part about those limits is that they are infinite and thanks to professional snowboarders like Shaun White, young snowboarders are inspired to achieve something as great as him.
Riders like White prove that the capabilities of snowboarders are limitless because after each goal made there is more that can be done to improve it. Snowboarding is a sport with no boundaries; you can ride down a slope as fast as you want, you can ride through the woods weaving your way in and out of trees, grind on a rail or a tabletop, hit whatever trick you want, make up a trick, descend off of a mountain pinnacle and the list goes on. It is a sport that will keep growing and will continuously be taken to heights that only ascend.
There is no telling what the future holds for snowboarding; with the next generation of snowboarders comes another potential boarder who will completely flip the snowboarding game on its head, kids are starting to snowboard at an early age and they will develop the sport into something more mind-blowing and awesome than it is right now. With a new generation of snowboarders comes a new generation impossible tricks that are already in the process of being mastered by professional snowboarders all around the world.
The community of snowboarders is very special because even if a snowboarder is not trying to change the pace of the game, they are simply having a great time with fellow snowboarders and that is all that matters. For snowboarders like myself, we want to take snowboarding to the next level and that determination keeps pushing us boarders past the fear of injuries and failure to the thrones and the mountaintops.
Works Cited Edensor, Tim, and Sophia Richards. “Snowboarders vs Skiers: Contested Choreographies of the Slopes. ” Leisure Studies 26. 1 (2007): 97-114. Print. Marquardt, Katy. “King of the Hill in Snowboards. ” U. S. News & World Report (2008) Vol. 145, Issue 7 Kirby, Jason. “RED, WHITE AND FLYING HIGH. ” 123. 8 (2010). Print. Murphey, Austin. “Good ‘n’ Ugly. ” Snowboarding 10. 8 (2009). Print.