Results are not always the most important thing

Lisl was very good high school skier but seemed not to have the race results she was capable of and everyone expected.  

In practice, it was clear she had great technique and a good motor, and could stay at the front without difficulty. In races, however, she would set out looking fantastic but come in near the end of the pack, beaten by skiers with much less ability than she, and seemed happy with her race.  It never seemed to bother her.  In fact, she never complained and was always one of the happiest in the van on the way home.b

One day, quite by accident, I discovered why. I usually positioned myself at the middle or top third of a big hill, or some other challenging part of the course, so I could encourage the racers. On this day, however, I was standing alongside the trail about 2/3 of the way through the course, at the crest of a long hill, where the trail afforded a fantastic view of the valley below. 

Lisl skied into view and was clearly having a good day.  As she came up the hill, I could tell her wax was working well and her rhythm and pace told me she was feeling great. My watch told me she was on pace for a fantastic time. 

As she came across the top of the hill and approached the downhill, she looked around and then coasted to a stop. She smiled and nodded somewhat breathlessly at me and then stepped out of the tracks to let the next clump of skiers pass, and stood there looking at the view. Two more clumps of skiers passed by. Both puzzled and concerned, I asked if she was OK? 

She smiled again: “What a fantastic day for a ski,” she said. “And they’re all missing it.”