Congratulations to Luca Pizzale for writing the winning essay, 2 years in a row!!!
Enclosed is my essay submission:
Cozy as can be, I was laying in my bed, in a deep sleep. Only my unconscious mind had control of me. Suddenly, a huge clamour smashed the delicate state that I was in. At first, I was completely unaware of what was happening. Then I opened my eyes.
Bright streams of light halted all my vision. Attempting to locate the source of the light, I rotated my head in all directions, but the light was coming from all around me. Finally, my mind was back in my control. I heard the ear-piercing screams coming from my mother. She shouted, “It’s race day! Get up!” After ten seconds of sitting there, I finally became aware of what was happening. My alarm read 5:30 AM. Nobody in my whole neighborhood was awake except for my mother and I, as it was a Saturday morning. After nearly falling out of my bed, I was able to put on my ski clothes and begin my journey to Campgaw. It was pitch black outside.
The second, yet easiest part of my trip would be the car ride. My head hit the seat, I instantaneously passed out. Once again, only my unconscious mind controlled me. We finally arrived and I was awoken. I stumbled, but was able to collect my belongings and travel to the lodge, where I would collect my bib and prepare for the race.
I got into the liftline, loaded the lift, and went to the top of the hill. I slipped the course with one of my coaches. One gate stood out to me; a delay that was situated at the bottom of the steep section of the hill.
An hour or so later, my run was coming. As I hurried into the starting gate, all thoughts left my head. I looked upward, catching a glimpse of the horizon, not a single cloud to be spotted. Bluebird skies met perfectly with the woods. It was a stunning view. The lady at the starting gate said, “racer ready.” I pushed as hard as I could. Everything came fast. Not for a second did a thought come to me, but I was late. I needed to throw my weight forward and push myself to the limit. But I did not. Instead, I let human nature take over.
When given speed, humans want to put their weight backwards. When you are backwards, you lose control. Skiers need to push themselves forward, conquering their instincts and giving them control. That applies in life, too. Ski racing has taught me that I need to always push myself forward, regardless of what nature may want me to do.
That day, while I had experienced failure, I knew what I needed to do differently. I needed to push myself. I needed to conquer myself before I could conquer the mountain. Ski racing has taught me there is always room for improvement, no matter if you are the best or the worst at something. Stay forward and conquer.
~Luca Pizzale 2017