Nov 23, 2009

My Greatest Defeat

I don't know why but this has been on my mind quite a bit lately; my greatest defeat.

I used to vacation once a year in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It was a guy's weekend where my closest pal and I, usually accompanied by at least one or two other dudes, would go for a few days of beer drinking, campfires, music, laser tag, and other assorted shenanigans. We had a few staple destinations on these trips such as the local five & dime where time seemed to stop in 1988. It was a great place to buy A-Team paraphernalia and other weird crap. We would almost always go to "Devil's Slide" too.

Devil's Slide is a former logging zone where the loggers would let logs slide down the side of a cliff into the waiting Lake Superior below. After thousands of logs, the earth wore away into a sandy ravine pitched at a dangerous angle. Years later the "fun" came from people running down the slide and then trudging back up.

The few times I did this I felt like my heart was going to pound out of my chest -- not on the way down but on the arduous trek back up.

In 1997 I became a changed man. I lost over a hundred pounds; shed a lot of my self-doubt and hang-ups. I worked out a few times a week and somewhere in the back of my mind Devil's Slide loomed as a symbol for me to conquer. Every time I went down Devil's Slide my friends would be waiting for me at the top for a half hour or longer, having scaled the heights in a fraction of the time it took for me to get my fat ass back up the incline.

No more, I said. The next time will be different!

My new lean frame did me well going down Devil's Slide, running like a wild man as gravity pulled me down towards the icy Lake Superior. I could hardly wait to prove myself, turning around almost immediately and sprinting back up.

My sprint quickly turned into a brisk walk and soon after that a crawl. Despite all of my hopes, I fell victim to Devil's Slide once again. My companions zoomed up the cliff side, leaving me to pant and struggle my way up, as slow as ever.

Once I finally made it topside I collapsed in a heap, feeling like I had just gone five rounds with my inner demons and the demons won.

I was never the same after that.

1 comment:

Alice skary said...

Ooh, that looks like fun.

Also, I'd like to suggest that perhaps it is not that you were defeated by the task. I would've looked at it as a remarkable accomplishment that you made it all the way up at all, or that you made it up without stopping, etc, etc. There are all kinds of reasons to be proud for doing something like that.

So -- what part of you is so insecure that you cannot compliment yourself on a job well done and resolve yourself to do an even better job next time?