I was chatting on the phone with my twin sister the other day, and reminiscing about the 90’s and the vast array of style that surrounded us at the time. Picture two girls, recently relocated from above the 60th parallel, showing up to their first sailing lesson dressed in cut off jean shorts, hypercolour t-shirts, and toting fanny packs and walkmans with MC Hammer cassette tapes inside. Kelowna…lock up your sons…
As we chatted about those good old days floating around on the lake, Meg chuckled and confessed that “the only reason I ever stayed in sailing was because I thought that the instructors were cute, eventually I ended up liking it.” Hmm, as I tried to remember my instructors beyond their mullets and grungesque gen X plaid, I got thinking. Why did I end up liking the sport that I did anyway? Between soccer and fieldhockey, between rugby and and rowing, and in spite of the myriad arts programs that we both participated in, sailing ended up winning out. Why was that?
Many kids end up sailing because it’s where they belong. Sure I played lots of other sports, but let’s face it, I was never a particularly stellar soccer player, and was frankly insulted when I joined the girls rugby team and they called me a hooker. At twelve years old, I was allowed to drive my very own vessel. At 16 I was travelling all over the province with my boat…sans parental unit! It was a sport that I was finally good at in a sea of sports where I was only just good enough. The best part? Beating all the grown ups when I got back to my own club.
Sailing offers the affiliation of a team, but a level of independence that many kids don’t get to experience until they grow up and move out on their own. Sailors get to travel, they’re responsible for their own boats, and they experience mother nature at her finest. At my school in the 90’s, most people were excited about the AAA boys basketball team, and no one was excited about Laser 2’s. Funny thing is, none of those folks are still playing, and they occasionally end up in my sailing classes because it’s something they’ve always dreamed of doing.
Yes back in the early 90’s, Meg and I stuck around in part because our instructors were dreamy (truthfully, because Mum kicked out butts), but after that first time out on the wire, the first time I ever felt my boat plane, I was hooked and am still to this day. It’s not my instructors that keep me here…it’s the sensation of the sport itself.