The Brazilian XC Skier - Extract 3
When he is on snow, he practices as many hours as he possibly can, and is usually one of the last to leave the tracks, only when the night comes. This devotion has gotten him in some awkward situations.
One North American athlete warned the Brazilian:
“Don’t you ever go to Oslo, your life would be in danger!”
The jokester explained:
“The trip would be a great risk to your health. In Oslo, some of the tracks are illuminated during all night, so you would probably ski yourself to death!”
In 2003, Hélio went to Italy, in what was still his second time on snow. After many hours of skiing, he ended up completely alone in the interminable white vastness.
When he at last decided to leave the track, he wasn’t able to take his rented skis off, no matter how hard he tried. He felt like a fish out of water, an outsider, a feeling that he would have many other times in his experience on snow.
He may laugh at the incident today but, during the mishap, what Hélio most wanted in the world was to turn into dust himself – or rather into snow. When the problem persisted, he shouted at himself all unimaginable names.
This is the printable version of what came into the Brazilian’s mind:
"Who am I to think that I can learn how to ski and start competing? I am not even able to do the basics!"
Hélio had no alternative but to go back to the store where he had rented the equipment by walking on the skis.
On his way there, which seemed longer than any marathon, Hélio asked himself once more whether it was worth it, since he was spending a good deal of money and wasting many vacation days with something that could end up in nothing but pure waste.
Upon arriving at the rental store, he was humiliated by the person in charge, who was furious at the sight of someone walking with his skis, damaging the equipment.
"What could I have done? I couldn’t stay at the track until tomorrow!", said a despondent – and also irritated - Hélio.
When the experienced employee had trouble himself freeing the ski, which was really stuck, the rookie felt a little better. After some attempts, the ski finally yielded.
Hélio was embarrassed at his situation, but managed to sigh with relief.
At least nobody but the man at the rental place had watched the whole scene…