My whole life has been based around one important thing, the lake. The beautiful body of water has shaped me into the person that I am today. The lake is not only the symbol of home and family, but also a sense of passion. Tossing stones in the water creates ripples just as events create ripples in our lives. With every experience that I endured around that muddy water, I walked away with more than just the memories. Every memory holds an important significance in my passion, as they are the components that make me who I am.
When I was little, my family would go to my grandparents’ house, like clockwork every Sunday at two o’clock; we would make the thirty-minute drive to the wood-smoked house. The red-roofed cabin sat right on the hill, overlooking the vast green landscape with beautiful, hand-painted yard ornaments. Yet, the most impressive view was that evening sunset with the orange-red gleam setting low in the sky, just over the lake. The lake glistened, as if it were glass, with rays of light dancing across the water. The waves would pound against the banks as the boats race passed. The lake was muddy, but I never failed to put goggles on and view the fish swimming just inches below me. That’s what started my love affair with water.
I remember it like it was yesterday; only it was not, I was knee high to a grasshopper. I would say nine months old, but you would assume I was lying. We were all out on the boat in the middle of the lake, putting along. I remember climbing into my grandpa's lap. He was driving the boat and I felt in control, like a queen, with more power than any other person on the boat. My big brother, Josh, was bouncing behind begging to go knee-boarding. He was acting as if he was a kid in a candy store. I jumped down to the rough floor of the boat, crying and screaming bloody murder. I just wanted to be with my brother. My mother made her way to the back of the boat and placed the lifejacket on me. Josh made a massive splash as he bolted in the water. My grandpa threw the rope and board in the water out toward the small cove. Josh reached his hands out and simply said, "Come on Meggie, I got you".
I walked slowly and clumsily to the edge of the boat. I was looking down at my brother floating there; I appeared to be the Grand Canyon. I took a long, deep breath and leaped into the cool but refreshing lake. I popped up like a bobber as he pulled me onto his back and swam to the board. I crawled on and felt my brother’s arm cage me in as he lay behind holding the rope. The boat began to move as we knee-boarded behind it. My passion continues to flourish.
"Dang, what is this? The water temp of Antarctica?” I remember thinking that freezing day in March. This was a day that changed my life. I was waiting patiently in the middle of High Rock Lake with the board latched to my feet, locking them in. It was the first ride of the year in more ways than one. My nerves were killing me! I had so much rushing through my mind. I had grown up water skiing and knee-boarding, but never this. But why not? Why not try something new? I was always considered the odd ball in my family. Why stop now? Everyone in the boat had to be judging me, I just knew it. "You ready?" yelled my mom as I snapped back into reality. The boat began lifting’ me out of the water. This is nothing like water skiing I hope I can do this. Bam! My face smacks against the water as the rope flies out of my hands. I yell "Again! Let's go! I got this!". We fix the boat back up, and I sit back waiting as the boat begins to lift me out of the water. The whipping cold wind cuts into my body like a knife slicing into a peach. I push against the board as I shift my weight back. As I do the board began to plane off on top of the water. I did not nose-dive. I had done it. This started my lifelong obsession, wakeboarding.
There I was gliding across the lake as if I was a graceful swan so elegant and free. The wind buzzing pass me as I cut back and forth from out behind the boat. The wake seemed to be larger than normal. All summer I had worked to perfect this single trick, the timing had to be just right and not a second off. The water had to be still as ice across the lake with not one boat passing at the time the trick was initiated. The suspense was killing me at this point. Everyone in the boat was staring at me. They could not take their eyes off me. I knew time was wearing thin, for we were just about to the turn-around spot. I cut as hard left as I could, to slingshot me parallel with the driver. I then cut back right as hard as I possibly could with the handle digging into my stomach.
I approached the wake with caution and right before I went to hit the wake I cleared my mind from everything. I hit the wake and popped the board around me and it was as if time was at a standstill. In midair feeling, free and peaceful, it was like I was a cloud in the air. I then finished the turn and landed with ease. I must have looked like a pro in the eyes of my mother as she cheered me on. The excitement and the rush hit me as this was my first backflip that I had landed all season. I was so wrapped in the moment that I missed my queue for the turn around. My board caught the edge of the water and slammed me down, headfirst. The waves tossed me around and threw me under as if I was a rag doll.
The last thing I heard was the sound of my tendons ripping apart, and The yells of the others in the boat as I smacked the water. Gasping for air and struggling to stay above the waves with little help from my wake vest. Then rush hit me as the pain engulfed my body. My board must have caught the edge of the water and slammed me down head first. With my gloves on and the grip I had on the handle, I forgot to release the hold my left hand had and with that little mistake I ripped the ligaments and tendons that held my arm in place. The passion and pride took over my actual abilities, which blinded me, letting me believe I could perform the backflip without the proper training.
I was that feeling. It's like nothing you could imagine; it was breathtaking. It’s crazy and wild. Kind of like riding a bike, then letting go of the handlebars. You know there is a possibility that you will crash and get hurt, yet you try anyways. When you are out on the water behind that speeding boat with fire rushing through your veins, you feel the power of staying on top of the water. It’s the sound of the board gliding across, conquering all the elements. It is the “now or never” feeling, right before trying something new that is exhilarating. With every drop of water that drips off when you pop up, with each trip a new beginning begins. The feeling of the rope as you tightens your grip, as you sneak up on the wake as if you were stalking your prey. It calls to me. When I leave, it pulls me back. You are in control, guiding yourself out there. It's an addiction. It’s the hunger, and you must feed it every chance you get. It eats you up until you cannot take anymore. Each trip out gets you wanting for more. I have lake water rushing through my veins, it's in my blood. I am a wakeboarder, and I will board again.