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I have drifted toward introspective thought processes recently. I have been reading a lot of my old articles, trying to figure out just where I am trying to go with all of this writing. I've had a sum total of one article published in print, ultimately, in the past year -- and that was in a restaurant trade magazine. I had two more articles ostensibly sell to, but I'll be damned if I can find them on their website. Let me know if either of them ever turns up...


I know these are auspicious beginnings, sure... right. But for all the volume of writing I keep pouring forth into the void that is the information glut of the internet, there seems to be scant results. I know I could write with the best of them, the pantheon of sports writers, were I given a fair chance. But I am a guy who, for better or worse, set out on the path toward culinary success before he could serve the drinks he was learning in bartending classes. I left college after my freshman year with nothing more than a star-crossed season of work on the resort I called home to inspire me to strike a path on the hard road toward epicurean success. All this leaves little time for writing, getting the depth of research I would truly like to undertake to tackle longer projects.


I don't really want to spend my entire working life in kitchens. Nothing would make me happier than to be able to spend the sands in the hourglass of my life researching and writing in-depth articles and books for fans like you to digest, to critique, to even call foolish as so many fans call the writers of mainstream sports sites. I have gradually come to the realization that I don't need to be working long hours on my feet with how bad my back and hips and knees have become in only a quarter-century of life. What brought me to this bodily point was a love of winter sports as a child, long days skiing or snowboarding (and sometimes crashing) or skating on a sheet of ice or playing broomball...


Ahhh... a sheet of ice, a couple of brooms and what little padding could be rustled up...What's broomball, you ask? Think of a poor-man's ice hockey. But instead of hockey sticks, you have a broom which has either been taped up or shellacked to make a good paddling surface; instead of skates, one wears pack boots, shoes -- anything he or she thinks will give them the best purchase on the ice; and instead of a puck, there is the ball. The rules are essentially the same as ice hockey. A center, two wingers, two defensemen and a goalie line up for each side and play for a predetermined period of time. Most goals win the match.


Games get serious in the "recreational" leagues of Jackson Hole. I played for the team fielded by the resort on which I grew up for many winters. The crowning achievement of my career was the A-league championship when I was eleven or twelve. But broomball is also a loosely legislated game, in which only helmets -- any helmet will do -- are required protective gear. I have sustained many a chipped tailbone and many a bruised rib and too many dislocated and jammed fingers to count.


I also skiied from the age of five, a weekly physical-education trip to the mountain all through elementary school. My trips grew less frequent once the passes weren't handed out like candy, the prices of lift tickets being what they were even a decade ago. I did manage to get out, though. I even tried snowboarding a couple of times, until I messed up my right hip on an icy slope at fourteen; back spasms have ensued ever since.


But we as humans are designed to persevere, to weather the storm. Perhaps the blade and the toque aren't my path to success, however one spells it out, in this world. My skills honed throughout an adolescence working on resorts and an early adulthood in kitchens have instilled dogged determination if nothing else. And an education which included two National Spelling Bees and two National Forensic League national tournaments as well as numerous scholarships and awards can't hurt either. I've always loved to write, and should that path fail I will continue to do so despite continued failure to procure more lucrative opportunities to get the words out there... there's that tenacity again, a hope that the situation will ultimately lead to some end gain. And I have a broad enough range of talents that, someday, it should all pan out.


Stories of resilience in the face of disaster stir my soul. Maybe that's why I love telling the tale of the women of Koniakow... or maybe it is just the skimpy articles of clothing they now Who could possibly pass up an excuse to showcase such craftsmanship?!produce for worldwide sale. This village in Poland has long been renowned for its laceworks. The women of the town would knit the delicate tablecloths and vestments which adorned royal bodies and dining tables across Europe. The village's wares were subsidized under Communist rule; when the Solidarity movement of Lech Walesa took firm hold and the democratic transition commenced, the women were forced to realize that there was little market for their products anymore in a global marketplace. So they thought of how their skills could be used for better profit. The answer? The high-end lace brassieres and undergarments which some women will gladly pay fortunes to wear...


Turn those lemons into lemonade. Give the world the ol' rope-a-dope and send it reeling. The case of Koniakow is a classic example of humans wresting victory from the clutches of vanquishment. Perhaps that's why I love sports so much. We see such examples every day from around the world. Take the ongoing U.S. Open for one such example. Today top-seed Ana Ivanovic fell from the women's draw to French qualifier Julie Coin, losing in three sets (6-3, 4-6, 6-3). It sure was exciting watching an unheralded underdog pull off the improbable upset. But at the same time the most compelling stories in an upset can be the resilience displayed in defeat. After her stunning loss, Ivanovic offered this to the press: "This kind of loss I had today is just incentive to work harder, to go back on the court and to keep working hard and practising and improving."


We often overanalyze things before the fact -- brackets get drawn up even before the NCAA selection is made for March Madness; preseason predictions bombard us for virtually any sports league one can conjure up; with the constant barrage of news through internet and sports-specific television, a fan can witness history's creation in real time. We see time and again the kind of perseverance exhibited by the ladies of Koniakow by athletes of all sports. That's why we keep coming back. Winning is fun; passion is captivating...


I'll keep exhibiting that perseverance and passion in my quest to make something of all this writing. While it sure is fun to write for all of you here at FanNation, hopefully someday you'll be clicking on one of my articles on some website to read my insights as part of a far wider audience. But even if that never occurs, I know that the destination isn't everything in life. Championships fade into the yellowed pages of anthologies, but the drive and passion which conquer the highest heights will live on in the next generations as they move on in all walks of life, inspired by past examples. One can only hope to find an enjoyable path to follow on the journey as we fight the good fight to attain our own heights...


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