It's a Friday night Down Under, the worries of the week have washed away and most self-respecting twenty somethings are knocking back VBs (the Australian equivalent of PBRs) with some mates. However, like most maniacal skiers who have had adulthood undesirably thrust upon them, I wouldn't consider myself your average twenty something. Instead of sinking beers, I was enroute to one of Melbourne's many trampoline parks, eager to get my fix of airtime.
For more on VBs, see this handy summary. Credit: Dhanu Sherpa
Having last skied in September, and lacking the funds or the time (thanks to an already stretched university degree) to travel overseas, it had been a torturous summer. Throw in the endless stream of Facebook posts, Instagrams, Youtube edits and Snapchat stories of friends enjoying the spoils of the Northern Hemisphere season, and it was enough to torment even the average Jerry. Luckily, the end was almost in sight, with the Australian season just two months away and the first snowfalls beginning to dust the high country. Excitement was building.
Only a rush of adrenaline, the thrill of learning a trick new or perfecting an old one could hold this excitement at bay. As the only venue with a super tramp within 700 kilometres, I was a regular, hanging out once or twice a week in between working two jobs and living almost an hour away. This session turned out to be particularly exciting – not only was I catching up with a mate who had just spent a season in Whistler, but I walked in to find a professional skier by the name of David Morris already warming up. The aerials silver medallist at the Sochi Olympics, Dave is one of the friendliest, most enthusiastic and helpful people you could meet. Despite aerial skiing being a discipline loathed by most NSers, there is no denying the incredible athleticism and aura of knowledge someone like Dave possesses.
Dave stomping the pants off a tech D-spin 1800. Credit: Ski and Snowboard Australia (SSA)
It wasn't long before Dave was effortlessly destroying tricks – casually throwing down doubles, super spins and combos of everything in between, and making it look effortless. I've never been a huge fan of gymnastic trampolining, but you couldn't help but be impressed by his control, precision and feline aerial awareness. To see someone so casually sending it to the moon within minutes of starting a session helped to instil a greater sense of confidence in myself, setting the mental bar higher for what I thought I could achieve this session. It wasn't long before I began to push my own boundaries, bailing halfway through a dub rodeo 9 before shaking off the nerves to land it the following attempt. Dave went on to help me refine cork 10's, a trick that has taken months of throwing in fear before finally building the confidence to set it comfortably.
Those cork 10s are less than perfect. Shameless self-promotion. Video credit: Lewis Tanoyo
Enlightening Dave that, according to ancient oriental mythology, 2015 is the year of the Cossack (for the scientific basis of these claims, please see here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ ), we subsequently sought to see what tricks we could vary with this new found knowledge. I threw a respectable cork 7 Cossack, only to be outdone by Dave sending a huge double Lincoln, springing out like a cat after the first flip in an attempt to Cossack, only to tuck back into a ball to land the double.
Despite initially pushing my own athletic abilities, I reminded myself to perfect some of the more stylish tricks I had floating around in my head. Cork 5 truck drivers have been a trick I had worked on for a while, and now seemed an opportune time to build on this. After setting five or so in a row, a couple of decent ones and a few average ones, it was the sixth attempt that went horribly awry.
I set it like any other, getting the delicate balance of spinny/flippy right before reaching my hands out to grab my toes, driving my feet forward for visual effect. Enjoying the moment a little too long, I quickly realised I was going to under rotate the trick, letting go of my grab in a rush to get my feet underneath me. Naively, for a split second I thought I was going to be fine. I was wrong.
As my feet touched the trampoline, and the weight of my body transferred through my legs, I felt a sickening pop, the kind of pop no skier ever wants to feel. In that moment, I saw my entire ski season flash before my eyes3. The next thing I remember is lying in agony next to the super tramp, an obscene stream of profanities flowing from my mouth within ear shot of entirely too many small children. I still wouldn't have time to adequately apologise to all of those parents.
With pain shooting up my legs and ripping through my veins, I looked down at my right knee to survey the damage. Lying on my stomach, I could clearly see my knee cap, two inches across and four inches down from its previous known location. The sight of the edge of my patella protruding like an arch underneath my skin only heightened the pain. Bound by a fear of making it worse, both myself and those around me avoided trying to relocate my knee cap, despite my desperate pleas for help. Halfway through an emergency call for an ambulance, my patella slipped back in of its own accord, immediately alleviating the pain and resulting in an uncontrollable sigh of relief.
Fast forward a few days and I'm on crutches, with a knee that is twice the size of its twin. X rays revealed a small fracture in my tibia, with a seemingly respectable six week recovery period. However, the impending outcome of MRI scans is resulting in one of my most nervous weeks in recent memory. The worst case scenario, a torn ACL with a twelve month recovery period, missing both the local season and a trip to the northern hemisphere, would be disastrous. Fingers are crossed. The stakes are high. My family doesn't really understand my anxiety. But I know you will, NS.
Tl;dr I hurt my knee in the pre-season and it sucks.
P.s. I lied about the bitches. See 0.38-1.10 for the title inspiration.