The last couple of years I have been fortunate to be on the sidelines at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado. I have been part of the support crew for Superpipe and Slopestyle Skier, Colby West.
The thing is, people always ask me exactly what my role is? And, when I tell them, they seem to look at me with a blank face. I am happy to say that in his book, “Parenting Freak Ability”, Mark has pinned the tail on the donkey with his description of my role.
“When I coach I make sure there is a grounding space for the athlete if they need it. When I was commenting on some of the ideas that Susan Davis presented on parenting Anna, I mentioned that I was stuck in the snow with a friend waiting for a bus. That friend was Samantha who assists me in my coaching. Her role is very unique and she is very good at it. Her job is all about creating space.
Number one, her job is never to talk about skiing! And she doesn’t. There is enough ski talk going on among the experts. Her job is ‘fun’. She is the mood breaker and the refreshing personality that balances out a house full of people who all have something to win or lose.
Number two, her job is to talk to the right people at the right time. I don’t mean the ‘right people’ from a power and influence point of view. I mean talking to the people who accidently get in the way of me communicating with Colby when I am coaching. Often I love these people and like hanging out with them but sometimes they can’t recognise that Colby needs space or that Colby and I have broken into a work discussion and they need to give us some space.
Sam is awesome at reading the moment and then breaking into a secondary conversation, distracting others so I can do my work. She balances both the stressful times that should be fun, and the fun times that require focus. That is her specific job”.
So that is what I have been doing at the X Games for the last couple of years. Sometimes I really want to talk about skiing and get into the conversations about doing a million flips in the air and tweeking out the rest of the athletes. But, the reality of it, I can’t. Although, I’m not going to complain because I was able to be on the event sidelines, all access passes and free food in the media tent.