Modesty in Sports: the Old School Way

The other day I was skiing on Mt. Ashland with my two young boys. It was Spring conditions and I was trying out my new skis. We were ripping around the mountain having a good time, when my oldest asked me why I didn’t brag about what a good skier I am.

Green Wave
What could you do with it?

Creative Commons License photo credit: Sids1

After thanking him for the compliment I pondered the question. I’m a good skier, I’ve been doing it since I was 4, I raced in high school and a bit in college, I’ve skied some of the steepest terrain in the west…I’m a damned good skier if I do say so myself.

I answered him by saying, you can tell when someone is good at something when they don’t talk about how good they are at something. Very rarely have I heard an excellent skier or surfer, or kayaker brag about being good unless they are around their equally good buddies. It’s kind of an unwritten rule…it’s an old school rule.

I explained to him that the best feeling is knowing your super good at something but only show it when you’re actually doing it.

For example play kayaking: I’ve been kayaking almost as long as I’ve been skiing. There’s nothing like listening to all the young guns talking about what great boaters they are as they put on their state of the art gear preparing to play in the local kayaking hole.

I don my gear keeping silent. They barely notice me, the older guy with the old gear. Then we get on the water and things change. Suddenly the old guy with the old gear is doing shit they’ve only heard about, and doing it consistently and smoothly.

There’s nothing better than watching their draws drop realizing they aint as good as they thought they were.

I know this sounds smug and conceited but it’s true. There’s nothing better than putting some blow hard to shame by outperforming him at his own game.

I know this isn’t a modest post, i’m basically bragging, but I wanted to teach my boys that they are also going to be great at the sports they choose and it’s important and rewarding to be modest verbally but totally dominating physically.

Leave a Reply