Jeff Pier Winning Essay from Kyla Butler

How has Ski Racing Helped me in my Everyday Life?

By: Kyla Butler


How has ski racing helped me in my everyday life? Skiing has helped me to focus; given me strength to handle difficult situations as well as helped me to understand responsibilities to my team, equipment, and training. Skiing has also taught me that nothing in life comes to you without hard work.  It has helped me mentally, physically, and emotionally.


When I was 9 years old, I was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome (TS). Tourette Syndrome is a neurological disorder that has three components; OCD, ADD/ADHD, and motor/vocal tics.  When I learned that I had TS, I wanted to know when it would go away, but I soon learned that it would always be part of me.  It is difficult to focus, not tic, and communicate quickly.  Ski racing relaxes me, so I tic less and am able to focus on instruction.  When I am in class, doing homework or trying to solve a problem, I think back to how I feel skiing so I can relax. Once I am relaxed, I am able to complete my work. 


Ski racing has also strengthened me physically and given me confidence.  I face many challenges each day with my peers and people I encounter that do not understand TS. I encountered a situation last year, two days before my first ski race, when a student on my bus ride to school called me a “freak show” because of my tics. I was extremely upset, but knew I had skiing to look forward to.  I raced and got on the podium that weekend.  That taught me to always remember that even though things may be bad, give it a few days, and life can really turn around.  I got on the bus on Monday morning with my head high and a smile on my face.  I know that if I have faced fears on the slopes and overcome them by putting into practice what I have been taught from my coaches and experiences on the slopes, then I can overcome obstacles in my everyday life the same way.  Skiing teaches me obstacles can come at any time and I need to remember my options in order to stay on course. 


Skiing keeps me moving during the winter months.  I also have an immune deficiency called Mannose Binding Lectin deficiency, which means that I don’t have anti-bodies to fight bacteria in my nasal cavity. For me, a cold can lead to a sinus infection and asthma attacks.  Being outside in the fresh air and moving, strengthens my body and helps to keep me healthy. 


Skiing has taught me to always keep fighting through the course of life!