Chapter 3- Alphabet Soup: The eN’s and Out’s

FasterSkierAugust 15, 2004

One of my favorite pastimes is to rollerski past windows. It affords me the dual opportunities to check out the bewildered expressions of the people on the other side, as well as to check out myself…err, I mean, check out my technique.

Now, the other day, while rolling past a local coffee shop (this may or may not have had anything to do with my secret crush on the gorgeous blond who works behind the counter) I noticed something odd as I looked at my reflection.

For one brief moment, it looked as though my body had positioned itself into the letter “K.” Very strange, I mused. No one ever talks about the “K” position in skiing. Maybe I’m not as technically kingly as I thought, but rather kinked in a klutzy knot of knuckleheaded kinetics? Hmmm…Maybe my miss understanding of technique goes beyond the letter “K.”

It seems we are a divisive community. As is apparent to all, we’ve segregated ourselves into two camps, those of the NNN mindset and those of the SNS philosophy. Why has this stark separation developed? It has become a steadily growing gap between people who all have the same end-goal in mind, yet feel, with steadfast passion, that their way is the better way. No, I’m not talking about bindings. I’m talking about attitudes.

You see, its simply about letters, twenty-six of them as it so happens, “N’s” and “S’s” being just two of the lot. It seems these letters are sapping our collective skiing energy instead of invigorating it. Here I’ve been thinking all along that skiing is about energy conservation! Guess I was wrong.

So, you’ve got your NNN’s, these Nattering Nabobs of Negativism, and your SNS’s, the Steadfastly Nice Skiers. However, this could easily become the Noble Nordic Noncombatants and the Supremely Neurotic Shenanigans. This second set included, as I see everyone bristle at the absurd insinuation that their binding choice could possibly dictate their attitude.
Thus, what would happen if we examined some of these troublesome letters and changed a few around? What would happen for example, if we dropped a few “N’s”?

Suddenly we stop worrying about the hair-splitting points of technique and start celebrating the wonders of techiqué. I’m sure you’ll find that it’s really quite hard to take yourself so seriously and to keep a straight face when you’re arguing in fake Spanish with a little Latin flare. “Hey man! Check out how far I can glide with this sweet new techiqué I developed!!”

I mean, really, if we all continually act like ski racing SNOB’s, in the end, it only makes us out to be a big SOB’s.

Who says there has to be just one way to talk about skiing, and just one name for each way to ski? For example, loose the animosity towards your eNemy and add an “i” to that name with no “n”. Suddenly you’ve got, en français, a new friend! (That’s amie people).

Neanderthals didn’t even have an alphabet, so what’s the point of bashing each other over the head with verbal clubs because of the merits or demerits of the “Neanderthal position”? Although without visually depicted lexical constructions, Neanderthals did maybe have pictograms, so maybe a longer look at each picture, followed by a personal decision as to what that picture represents, is what is needed. Would a Neanderthal even have a position in this argument? Probably not.

It’s unfortunate that this “C-position” business is causing such a cacophony of consternation and calamitous conversation. Instead, maybe it should be the cause of cool concentration and caring calibration.

How about a Brave New (nordic) World without the creation of second classed people, presented as second guessed Beta’s?

How much did you pay for those R3 bindings and RS:11’s, anyhow? If you can’t even agree on how to use them, you’re Really Rather Ridiculous and you’ll be Racing Steadily Slower, Scraping Solidified Swix, Skiing Sloppily, and Struggling Somewhere South of Seventieth.

When it comes to skating, there are really only three main techiqués anyhow. So, first off, why the need to be so damn Vociferous? Secondly, why the need to Vilify Venerates? Alternatively, why not just Vanquish Vendetta’s Absolutely instead?

In the end…it is all skating.

Skating was born of steady innovation, so take a step back, a little off the front, and give yourselves a standing ovation for just how far we’ve come.

The next time you find yourself rolling past a reflective surface, look for the “K” and keep kindling kindness, because, who knows, there may just be a keen kindred keeper of klistery knowledge on the other side.

If you’re lucky… she might even be blond.

Rollerski on my friends, and until next time, keep your poles sharp and your wits sharper.


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