Diane Court: I have this theory of convergence, that good things always happen with bad things. I know you have to deal with them at the same time, but I just don't know why they have to happen at the same time. I just wish I could work out some schedule. Am I just babbling? Do you know what I mean?
Lloyd Dobler: No.
For those of you who were born in the 90s, of which Iâm guessing might make up the majority, this is a quote from an 80s movie. (Say it with me, Eighties. âAAYYEE-TEESâ. Good. A+) Say Anything is your classic cult movie, one in which I will count myself as a fan of without shame. While this is the first time Iâve quoted a chick-flick in my writings, I canât promise it will be the last.
If youâve read anything Iâve posted before, then you know that this isnât like me. I havenât been using the last 5 minutes to redefine my love affair with winter, yet have been posting quotes that I am sure youâve never heard. But please, bear with me. Otherwise, use your time to battle the Pokewar thatâs been going on in NSG for a day or two. God knows that Pikachuâs pride is on the top of my concerns for the coming year.
I pulled this quote out because today marks the 3rd anniversary of my friend, Mike Neugebauer, and his untimely death. With meeting Mike, I met a new me, and with his loss, part of it was gone. Much like Diane, I donât get why such a good thing, had to be quickly followed by something so tragic, but I bet most of you are like Lloyd, and unable to answer it.
Meeting Mike was an odd coincidence. He had attended the same summer camp as my best friends, beginning friendships that still straddle town lines to this day. With the end of summer, I found myself just as eager to spend time with my new friends. Leaves began changing and the conversations with Mike began to revolve around skiing and Toggenburg (our local mountain). The more I talked to him, the more fascinated I became with the place that he called home every day after school, and on every weekend.
As the flurries began to fall, so did the walls we each had. I talked to Mike everyday at 3 oâclock. I would just be settling down after school, and heâd be bundled up in the hut at the bunny slope, putting down the phone every so often to save a dragging six year old. When it was the weekend, I could never get a hold of him, because he was always too busy riding around the hill with his boys. Jealous of all the fun I was missing out on, it was no surprise that Christmas centralized around one word: skis.
At this point, youâre all probably doing the math, realizing that maybe I havenât been riding as long as the rest of you. While this is true, Iâm not ashamed. Even though I didnât become a junkie after my ski lessons in kindergarten, my years without planks on my feet make me appreciate them even more. Iâve soaked up so much love, respect, and passion for this sport in hopes of making up for lost time, though I canât ever beat those who have been teetering downhill since they could walk.
No matter how many years Iâve had behind me, I still look back on them positively. A highlight of course, is still Mike. It is hard to look back on losing a friend, especially two weeks before my sweet sixteen, but every wince of pain has a smirk of a smile. Like Diane was saying, the good comes with the bad, for whatever reason.
While I may never understand the reasons behind losing a close friend, I canât say enough about all the things I learned from him. Of course there were many great times had between us, but I know NS can more easily understand the moments filled with skiing.
Many of us will lose people as we age, itâs a part of life, and if you didnât learn that via The Lion King, then pm me and weâll talk. I canât say I understand it, but I almost donât want to. My heart goes out to all of you who have lost someone, whether it was years ago or today. Each thread beginning with R.I.P. makes me sympathetic, no matter how popular the rider or person was. But with each change in our lives, comes a learning experience, and for me, it has completely altered who I am today, in what I can only hope is for the better.
Although Mikeâs body is no longer with me, his spirit and soul still live on through me, and his many friends, who continue to overtake Toggenburg every weekend. We still pull trains through the park like the boys used to do, and I still laugh as I glimpse the bunny hill, watching the teenage attendant struggle with a child in him arms. Even though I am only at Togg on my winter breaks, I still value my time there, and the feeling you get when riding care-free with your best friends.
Leading a lifestyle that revolves around skiing, I can only assume Mike would be doing the same. While I canât change the events of June 3, 2005, I can decide what I do on June 3, 2008, which is why Iâm writing to you, Newschoolers.
Donât ride with your feet, ride with your heart. Like friends, never take the snow for granted, because you never know what the next season, or the next day will bring. Forget the haters, because your real friends will ride with you no matter what, even if you havenât washed your one-piece all season. Life isnât a downhill race, enjoy the curves. If you fall down, pick yourself back up, and if you do fall, itâs no oneâs fault but yours. Live every day like itâs last chair, because once itâs over, itâs over, thereâs no lift at the end of life so you can do it again. Cherish your mountain, because itâs the best ski buddy youâll ever find. Donât hate on the others at the hill, because when it comes down to it, weâre all just a bunch of flakes.
I know this isnât the blog you were expecting. No inappropriate jokes, no stellar photos, just me reminiscing and thinking of times past. I appreciate those of you who tuned in this week, and I promise to have another piece soon. Whether youâre combating beating rays and sticky humidity, or sessioning a lane in a place privileged enough to have snow, take a moment out of your day and think about your crew, think about whatâs on your feet (or anxiously waiting to be on your feet) and think about the snow. I hope the summer finds you well, and wish you nothing but health and happiness as you begin to think about you 08/09 seasons.
Hereâs to you, Mike. For keeping me strong these last 3 years, for showing me love can be found in a pair of twin tips, and for always being, in my eyes, the master of the iron-cross. Cheers to the snow finding us, no matter how far apart we are, and until we meet again.
-Just gotta do one shout out mad fast. Happy 21st Birthday to a true friend and fellow NSer, Nick (Freeskier5X)