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Did You Know...

... that Melanie Curtis knows why she keeps coming back to skydiving competition?

December issue of Blue Skies Mag
posted Dec 14th, 2011 - The NSL News is not the only 4way competition fan contributing to the Blue Skies Mag on a regular basis. Melanie "Melsinore" Curtis has her own column and touches many different areas of life and skydiving every month. She is running her own "Life and Communication Coaching" business when she is not writing or skydiving.

She won Advanced Class gold medals with Elsinore Adrenaline at the USPA Nationals 2004 and has been competing in the Open Class at the national championships ever since. This year, she was back in the Advanced Class as a player coach for Monkey Business who finished in 14th place of all 19 teams and in 8th place of USPA eligible teams.

In her latest contribution for the December issue of the Blue Skies Mag she reflects on her own approach to skydiving competition and expresses what many teams and competitors feel. The same piece could have come from the NSL News...

Melanie Curtis with Elsinore Adrenaline in 2004

Gold or Gutter Balls

By Skydiving and Life Coach, Melanie Curtis

So I’m sitting here, two days before Nationals, totally nervous. Yeah, I am. Not joking. Every year the week before Nationals is this exercise in calming my anxiety, thinking positive thoughts, and letting go of any attachments I may have to how I, or my teams, do. Right now I’m listening to Christmas music because it always makes me happy, guaranteed. Seriously, Bing Crosby, “White Christmas” in my ears right now as I type this. See, the thing is, nobody wants to get beat by a team called Monkey Business, but Monkey Business still might get beat. And just like every other competitor out there, I want to rock on the stage that all my peers are watching.

We work all year long, train hard, and spend boatloads of cash. We fix what we suck at, strengthen what we’re good at, and mentally prepare to be at our peak for two days and ten jumps. Ten jumps, 350 seconds total, is what we work all year for. Man, attachment-to-the-outcome, much? No wonder this week is such a stressball.

When we first become competitors, we want to win and if we don’t, it means upset and angst for however long it takes to shake off our unacceptable rank. As we grow in the sport and in the competitive arena, we still want to win, we still care about where we end up on the scoreboard, but we care for a shorter period of time after it’s over. We focus more on the fun, friends, and overall awesomeness of the Nationals experience. When we’re veterans, we still want to win, and we still care about the scoreboard…we’re also experienced at using the big picture to calm our insides, and we finally know that no matter how much stress we carry, no matter where we end up in the ranks… it doesn’t matter. At all.

Huh? It doesn’t matter? So what’s the point of competing? Why put ourselves through the stress? Why do it? Why keep doing it?

Ultimately, we can never know what’s going to happen in a meet. We might have the best performance of our lives, our competition might falter, the judges might give us the point at the buzzer exactly when we need it, another team’s cameraman might slip off the step, who knows. Nobody knows who’s going to win or lose…and that’s the kicker. Every year, we have the opportunity to achieve greatness. Every year, we have a chance to stand above the rest. Every year, we have a chance at glory. The only people that have this chance are the people who compete. Competitors are believers in greatness. As such, we manage the stress, we stick out the ups and downs of team dynamics and personal growth, all so we can have this shot. Sure, we may come out in the middle of the pack, and it’s all good. We’re still happy. Why? Because we had the courage to step up and put ourselves on the line. We had the courage to step up in front of everyone in the sport we love and risk sucking. We had the courage to trust our community and teammates to lift us up if we lose. We had the courage to believe we might win. Truth is, last place, first place, everyone who participates earns their accolades. Every last competitor earns the glory they feel in competition. Gold or gutter balls, everyone gets it. And that’s why we all keep comin’ back. Here goes. Get some. Melsinore, out.

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