It had been eleven years since he'd last won a Major. He had never once won a professional tournament in which he had to come from behind on the final day. But then Sunday came along, and though there were many players in contention, it seemed that none of them could quite handle the pressure of seeing Tiger Woods battling for the win on a Sunday. It had just been so long. And so each one made one mistake (or two, or three, or more) too many.

Tiger Woods in Masters champion again.

Back in 2015, seeing the shit-show that was Tiger's career inspired Jerry and me to embark on a project that changed, and continues to change, our lives. Maybe some of that energy made its way to Tiger himself. We've set the goal to have him on the podcast, so someday we'll get to ask him.

We started writing Training Tiger Woods that autumn. It's probably time to go back and revisit all that work. If you're interested in checking it out, start at the beginning and go chronologically forward. Here's a link: Training Tiger Woods


When the moment arrives, how do I meet the moment?

It's a powder day, and also I am tired. Both of those things are true. How do these truths intersect?

You and I are having a conversation. We are talking about important stuff. I am carrying with me the idea that later, I am going to write for a couple of hours. Do I have another beer, or not?

I was at a festival once when a man, deeply tripping, swung by on a current of energy and cried out, "Going with the flow is for dead fish! We have to steer this thing!"

I have committed my life to flow. So do I agree with him, or not?

These moments: which is the flow, and which is the distraction? Which direction guides me toward the truth of myself, and which moves me away?


Truth be told, I'm really looking forward to the off-season.

I've seen my skiing technique jump a couple of levels this season, but I've hit the limits of what I can accomplish without some serious gym-work. I haven't hit the gym regularly since late 2017, and it shows. There are imbalances in my body that just aren't going to improve without weight-training and, I suspect, a true yoga practice.

Furthermore, I'm finding it hard to find much joy in skiing right now. Today was a powder day, but still, it took me a couple of hours to find the right mixture of terrain, snow and energy to have fun.

My body and mind are tired. But what choice do I have? Skip a powder day?

Spring in the Mountains

This spring has a different flavor from any other I've experienced, because this is the first time I've actually lived in the mountains. Other springs, I've spent time up here, but I always had a home base elsewhere. As conditions at the ski resorts eroded, I would spend less and less time in the mountains.

But this year, I live here. There's no escape. I've uttered the dreaded words, "mud season," many times over the years, but this is the first time I've truly lived one.

And you know what? Spring is still spring. Snow is melting. The days are getting noticeably longer. The streets and bike path are clear of snow. The plows created huge piles of snow all over the place; those piles are substantially smaller now. And houses in my neighborhood, it turns out, have yards.

It's not green yet. But I noticed that there are buds on some of the trees. I don't know if people up here plant flowers, but I expect the wildflowers will start to bloom in a few weeks.

Winter hasn't fully released its grip yet. Right now as I'm writing this, the storm we expected to hit today has blown in and it's snowing sideways. Tomorrow might even be a powder day, and if so, I'll tell my tired legs, "Buck up, little campers. We aren't done yet." I even suspect they'll be willing to rise to the occasion.

Bittersweet Spring

Last week, I cleaned out my locker at ski school and returned my uniform. Yesterday, the mountain closed to the public for the year. Today was Employee Appreciation Day: the employees get the mountain to ourselves for the morning, and then there is a barbecue, and then we all leave and don't come back until next year.

Everywhere else in the world, the coming of spring is a time of celebration. The grays and browns of winter give way to spring's profusion of colors. Leaves return to the trees. We put away the long-sleeved shirts and bring out the t-shirts and revel in the feeling of the sun on our arms. When I lived in the Northeast, when spring finally came, people went insane.

In a mountain town, spring's arrival is bittersweet. It's always a little sad when the lifts stop spinning. All winter long, I revel in the cold. Now it is warm, and the snow is melting, and soon all the other local mountains will close, and I will put the skis and boards away for the summer, stash the jackets and gloves, and go do other things. Every year, the person on the other side of those actions feels a bit foreign to the person I was in the winter. It's like, a couple of moment's ago, I was the guy bundled in the green jacket, wearing a balaclava and tight hard plastic boots. I was that guy almost every single day. Now, I'm not. So who am I?

Perhaps oddly, I don't particularly feel this way when my other sports' seasons come to an end. I don't clean off my mountain bike after the last ride of the year and feel like some part of me has ceased to be. I wonder what the difference is. A guess: there is no feeling quite like being on the mountain in winter. A snow-covered mountain is least hospitable to human visitation, asks for our presence the least, and so is at its most powerful. Sure, with our ski-lifts and technical clothing and of course the boards we strap to our feet that allow us to slide, we have largely overcome the mountain's resistance to our presence, but still. When I stand on a winter mountain, covered against the cold, the sun low-angled to the south, the shadows long and diffuse in the wan light of winter, I feel my nostrils sting as I breathe in the cold air, and when I breathe, I breathe in the mountain's power, and I am humbled.

On This Historic Day

I don't often write about soccer anymore, because I don't often watch soccer anymore; and I don't often watch soccer anymore because:

(1) The dream I once had, of becoming a widely read soccer blogger and then turning that into a career as a widely read soccer writer, is, on the modern internet, no longer really a viable path, but also:

(2) I tend to watch sports as a fan, which is to say I watch my favorite team (or, in individual sports, player) rather obsessively, which has the advantage of giving me kind of a control group/experimental group way of seeing the game/match, but has the radical disadvantage of meaning that if my team currently sucks, I watch a lot of shitty games. In soccer, my favorite team is Tottenham Hotspur, and while they do not suck, watching them obsessively for many years taught me that modern soccer teams play too many matches, and even the young studs who make up the squads on top teams accumulate so much fatigue over the course of the season that they can fall way off their best. That means that, as past seasons wore on, I found myself watching a lot of sub-par matches, until a few years back I finally asked myself, "Why am I spending my free time watching low-quality matches that I don't actually enjoy?"

But: Tottenham opened their new stadium today. The old White Hart Lane, opened in 1899, has been replaced with a new, modern, state-of-the-art White Hart Lane, and apparently Tottenham can make a fair argument to claim that it is the best soccer stadium in the world, which, as a fan, is pretty damn exciting. They played today against Crystal Palace, and I really couldn't not watch a match that begins a new era for a club I do still love (if maybe not with the same unabashed ardent fervor I used feel, having been burned a few times too many over the years). I even pulled out my Spurs scarf, despite my belief that it is mostly unlucky; and I wore it as I watched, and Spurs won 2-0, and even as I write this I wear that scarf still, and perhaps when I go to bed I will put the scarf on the pillow next to me, because true random is not only not rational, it's either borderline insane or stupid or both, but also


Mission Not Accomplished: Mission: Accomplished

You should see the zero-drafts. This was supposed to be a simple piece, basically knocked off to keep my promise and make me smile and do both while acknowledging that I just got back from a week-long trip, had seven-ish hours in the car, and maybe I don't want to be in front of the computer for very long. But then I fucking hit a vein and I'm not going anywhere until I've dug it all out.

The piece is supposed to be called Mission: Accomplished, and it's just a list of little anecdotes that kept me delighted over the course of the trip--but each one brings to mind another, and so I keep going.

Here are four:

  • I had six days there and intended to explore six mountains: Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, Solitude, Deer Valley, and Park City/Canyons. I didn't make it to Park City/Canyons. Why? Because untouched leftovers at Snowbird, that's why.

  • I went to Epic Brewing's tasting room, watched first-hand as they served everything out of bottles instead of on tap (if it's on draft in Utah, it has to be 4% or lower) and shook my head. That's enough: I've earned the right to complain about Utah's ridiculous liquor laws.

  • I had my first ever Utah garlicburger. While sharing conversation with a stuntwoman/model. Neither of those facts is made up.

  • I had my first ever LCC powder day. Twelve inches overnight and another six-ish during the day. Siiiiiiick.

Utah Ski Trip: The Punchline

I came to Utah on a fact-finding mission to learn about the ski areas in the vicinity of Salt Lake City. Could I base here for part of next winter and run seminars in flow? Would the terrain at the local areas be supportive of that idea? Would it be a good place to bring students?

I came on a fact-finding mission, and facts were definitely found. I could certainly base here. Each of the local areas (I got to know Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, Solitude, and Deer Valley) has something to offer. I would have different options about where and how to teach, depending on the abilities of my students.

These explorations have been exciting. Now I just need to bring this idea to fruition.

Utah Ski Trip, Day 3: Snowbird Powder Day

Last night, it snowed twelve inches at Snowbird.

A powder day at AltaBird is considered one of the hallowed experiences in skiing. People talk about it in hushed tones.

Now I see why.

There are, I'm estimating, a bazillion different lines you could ski at Snowbird (and Alta, too), and most of them are at least a little challenging. Many of them are serious gnar. Deep snow has the effect of slowing things way down, though, so turns become far more forgiving, and you find yourself looking down (or, afterward, up) some crazy steep run, thinking, "I got this." In deep snow in seriously steep terrain, each turn is like starting to fall off the mountain, but then being caught and buoyed up by some enormous, gentle hand.

First tracks didn't last for terribly long, but there were soft turns to be had if you knew where to look, which I did not, but I met a handful of people over the course of the day who were willing to show me around a little. There is something of a debate in the skiing world about whether or not you should offer your local knowledge to outsiders, but in my experience most people are generous and want to share. There is a thrill, I feel, in giving someone access to part of the mountain they might not otherwise experience. It feels like sharing something holy.

We traversed hard skier's right, under the Little Cloud lift and onward toward the Gad Chutes, and the pace picked up, and the snow underfoot got lighter and lighter, and it felt oddly and beautifully like we were flying.

Utah Ski Trip, Day 2: Deer Valley

There's not much gnar at Deer Valley, but one face, called Daly Bowl, beckoned me over. It's legitimate double-diamond terrain, and it looked sexy as I scouted a line from the lift, so I decided to give it a shot.

I had an ugly run, just pure survival skiing. I succumbed utterly to my fear. I couldn't find any flow at all.

So what did I do about that?

I accepted it. I dropped back down to easier terrain. I want to be someone who effortlessly shreds all terrain, no matter how gnarly--but I'm not. So I do my best to meet myself where I am. Today I couldn't overcome the fear. I'll try to do better tomorrow.