Before this time last year, I had gone to Medina Lake a whopping two times! Fast-forward a year and I wouldn’t be able to count as high as the times I’ve been since. Over this past year, I have come to love the lake in all its glory.
Mornings at Medina Lake are by far my favorite. As I have mentioned before, sunrises are my proof that God exists. Both sunrises and sunsets at the lake are exceptional. Calm waters, fresh air, peace. On good weeks this time of year, I’ll see three sunsets and two sunrises out there. I’ll admit sometimes on a Tuesday afternoon, I find myself getting lost in these pictures on my phone.
Rewind to just shy of a year ago
I find myself in a truck headed to the lake for the first time in 8-9 years. Anxious to make a good impression, but apprehensive about what the adventure would entail. Good conversation and a quick ride has me thinking less.
First on the itinerary, a jet ski ride around the lake. Fun! Reminds me of a four-wheeler ride. The views of the lake are spectacular. Unfortunately the ride eventually has to end.
To each of our surprise, I’m sure, his parents meet us at the boat. But all is well since someone needed to drive the boat so he could wake boarded. I was cleared to drive the jet ski, but not so on the boat, ha. Dang, impressive. Is it as easy as it looks? My apprehension increasing. Naturally a medium amount of coaxing has suckered me into trying it out for the first time. Peer pressure usually doesn’t get to me, but not the case this time around.
Life jacket zipped and buckled into place. Toes, then the rest of my feet and calves submersed in the delightfully warm water. My teeth won’t stop chattering, my chest full of tension. What the heck I am I doing? But my feet listen to direction. Once inside the boots connected to the wake board, they are expertly being laced up. My body and mind feel numb with uncertainty laced with excitement. “Ready?” he asks. Rhetorical question I think.
Now the rest of me slips into the water. I’m floating, feeling awkward with this board connected to me. Immediately I am reminded of all of the River Monster marathons I have binged. Convincing myself by the second that an arapaima or killer catfish is going to come up from the depths. Silly I know. But the evening skies have cast a mysterious glow onto the water.
The rope tossed into the water, my hands have a tight hold on the handle. The boat slowly drifts the prescribed 65 feet from me.
“Ready?” he asks again. Now I’m realizing this is not a rhetorical question. NO!
With some quick instruction and words of encouragement, I feel more confident; I can do this. How hard can it be? The boat literally pulls you out of the water, right?. Ready! Rope loses slack, and here we go.
VRRRRRRRRRAAAAMMMMM… I’m out of the water, my face plants in the water. Just as soon as I feel small success, I’m slammed back into the water. But nothing hurts, other than my pride of course. My fall landed my front-side in the water, so now I’m awkwardly trying to figure out how to flip over. The board is making this more difficult than it should be. I’m sure all on the boat are having a good laugh at my newbie expense. But whew, I’m back floating. Oddly, the fear of the lake monster has subsided. The boat circles back around to me.
He gives more words of encouragement, and has the rope back in my hands in no time. No time, I guess, to decide this isn’t for me. Again, I’m 65′ behind the boat and ready. VRRRRRRRRRAAAAMMMMM… I’m out of the water for perhaps a second longer, but still I fall. However, this time, I manage to not face plant. Well, at least that looked less embarrassing, I think. Boat circles back around for a second time.
This time, I get a quick demo from the back of the boat, as I scramble to grab the rope before it passes by, and more words of encouragement. Encouragement like the kind given to a kid who is trying miserably to learn how to ride a bike. I feel like that child, but the support is appreciated. I’ve got to try again.
Rinse, wash and repeat. The boat circles back a third and fourth time. He says one more try. I’ve fallen both forward and backwards equally. Falling backwards is by far less uncomfortable. So my focus isn’t necessarily on successfully getting up, but rather not face planting and belly flopping back into the water. 65′ isn’t looking so far away now. Rope tightens. I’m relaxed. My feet pushing into the board. Knees bent into a catcher’s position. Arms not locked, but firm grip on the handle. Don’t stand up, let the boat pull you up. That’s what he said right?
VRRRRRRRRRAAAAMMMMM… I’m out of the water. I’m standing, then face plant, belly flop into the water. Ouch. That landing wouldn’t have scored too well. Boat circles back around, this time close enough for me to swim over to and pull myself out of the water. Sitting on the back of the boat to untie the boots. I know 0 for 5 would be a terrible batting average for a night, so feeling dismal about my success. But then again, the challenge proved fun. He sits and helps me take the board. His smile convinces me it wasn’t such a failure.
Dried off and laughing with them all. No longer remembering the falls. Sunset. On the drive home, I can’t help but smile. I did something I never thought I’d try. Sure, I may have originally only done it to impress someone else, but now, I want to do it for me.
Here we are almost a year after that initial ride, and spoiler, I learned how to keep myself up on the wake board for longer than a second. By the end of last September, I not only could keep myself up, but I could also exit and enter the wake to the right. As often as we could, we were out at the lake, and I’d get my practice in. Late September, early October, brought cooler waters. My practice runs ceased. Finally the water was warm enough for me in June to get my feet strapped back to the board. Still face planting on occasion.
The things we do for a smile! Here’s proof.
And because he’s better:
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