About halfway through the session, our team was linked in a human chain — carrying gym equipment off a mountainside — when I felt something crack in the back of
my shorts. It was the egg, zipped securely in the pocket, or so I thought. Somehow, a
gate had whacked it. Yolk ran down the back of my legs.
“It’s uncomfortable when your egg breaks, isn’t it Emily?” our sports psychologist, Dr.
Nicole Miller, later said. She was right — it was incredibly unpleasant.
“Your eggs are fragile; protecting them needs to be your priority,” Dr. Miller explained.
She told us that our eggs symbolized attitude and reminded us how delicate mental toughness can be, especially in unpredictable situations. Working together and
completing each challenge would help us to protect our eggs and allow us greater
freedom to perform the tasks at hand. Later that day, as compensation for completing
a challenge successfully, we were upgraded to hard-boiled eggs — reducing the risk
of a yolk-related encounter but still requiring care and attention. Our eggs could now
take a slight hit without spilling their contents.
In the end, we were tired and covered in yolk, but we walked away with a new understanding of how to strengthen our resolve, work as a team and succeed in unpredictable situations.
A few weeks later, as the intensity of training increased and the emotional stress of
losing friend and teammate Jeret “Speedy” Peterson left me sad and exhausted, my
“egg” was showing hairline fractures.
I called Dr. Miller. “My egg is broken — again,” I said. We went to work putting Humpty
Dumpty back together again, and in the meantime I used the skills from our mountain-bike adventure challenge to continue training. By the end of our water ramp season I
had successfully accomplished all of the goals that my coaches and I had identified,
and I was elated about the prospects for winter.
Our fall challenge reminded me that in sport and in life, we don’t often follow a straight
and predictable path. Many of the teams at the Center of Excellence gym and around
the country are using similar techniques to place stress athletes in a controlled environment so that when faced with unpredictable situations in the real world, we’re
equipped to choose the way we respond rather than automatically react. These challenges and those unplanned surprises that occur in daily life can always be treated
as a means to train and develop ourselves — even on those days we feel our eggs
begin to crack.
Morning! Strength coach Tschana
Breslin distributes the eggs.
SkiRacing.com OCTOBER 31, 2011 | 54