Honestly I could not tell you how many time it’s been asked. The same question, over and over. I completely understand people’s curiosity, I would wonder the same myself. The question? "If you were able to snow ski again, would you consider it?" Anyone that new me before the accident hears that question and laughs, especially my mom. Ask her, and you will get the same answer as the rest: "It’s Kenny."
I have said before that this site is only a microcosm of the person I am, and people reading this are only seeing a small part of me. That being said, I do think one could find the answer to that question in just about everything I have written, from the high-five to "a broken man’s plea." I just spent two days trying to find a single word that could accurately describe who I was before the accident, and the only one that makes any sense is this… intense. I was intense.
Looking back, I think I operated on two distinct levels; full tilt, and asleep. Be it work, recreation or love, I always gave everything I had. The way I looked at it, why not? What is the point in living, if you don’t put all that you are behind all that you do? If you don’t push yourself to the limit, you will never realize your potential. This applied to every aspect of my life.
I chose a sport that would push my body further than I thought was possible. I learned that I could drop 25 pounds in 10 days, and still have the ability to run a mile in five minutes flat. I picked my major in college because it was rumored to be the most difficult one at the school, only to find out it wasn’t hard enough. I applied, and was hired, for a job in advertising that I was in no way qualified for on paper because I knew it would be a challenge (okay, and because it would make me a lot of money). I did everything I could every day to make those around me feel happy, cherished and loved.
I spent my downtime pushing myself as well. I was always fascinated with the human body and the potential it has, and I spent my time exploring that potential. I tried snow skiing, wake boarding and skateboarding (to name a few), and they each taught me something about myself. The first two gave me a sort of enlightenment as to what you can achieve, both physically and spiritually, when your body and nature come together. Skateboarding taught me that sometimes that achievement is simply bleeding. Gosh I was terrible.
Since my accident, I have heard countless people say they would never ski again because of my accident. "It’s just too risky. After seeing what has happened to you, it just can’t be worth it. Never again." The funny part, is that these people think that I would condone such a vow. In reality, I get so frustrated when people say these things. I think the main reason I lived the way I did was because I was not afraid of failure. I think I learned to be that way when I was 16, spending the entire summer trying to land a back flip on my wake board. For three straight months, I did nothing but fall on my face, swallowing gallons of water and peeling my eyelids back over my head (or so it felt). Just when I began to think it was impossible, I succeeded, and it opened my eyes to a whole new realm of possibilities I had never considered. I realized that it’s only through our failures that we can really know the meaning of our successes. If you fall down, you get back up and try again.
But Kenny, there is no reason to be that risky, you say. The thing is, I wasn’t being risky at all. I trusted my body’s abilities, and knew what I was doing. I was completely under control, and outside circumstances caused me to get injured. What happened to me was an accident, nothing more. Accidents happen every day. Hell, if you want to be afraid of snow skiing… you should probably be afraid of everything in life. Don’t drive your car, you could get in a wreck. Don’t use electricity, you could shock yourself to death. And for god sakes, don’t fall in love, you might get your heart broken. Everything has its risks, outside factors over which you have no control.
So, would I ever consider skiing again? My answer is simple. No. I wouldn’t consider it, I would just do it. Because ultimately, it all boils down to a standard I set for myself long ago: I refuse to live my life consumed by fear. I urge you to do the same. Take a chance, feel alive.