Friday, December 19, 2014

DÉJÀ VU: A repeat appearance of The Spider

by Kim Van Sickler

Today's re-post is one of my favorite family stories about perseverance. It was a post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group blogfest. For more 2014 gems, go here to see who's participating.
D.L Hammon's blogfest of recycled words.
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I am a co-host this month!

July's other co-hosts are: 
Krista McLaughlin - http://www.kjmclaughlin.com/
Heather Gardner http://hmgardner.blogspot.com/

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This week I am gathered with family at my sister's place in Lake Lure, NC (home of the famous lift-practice scene with Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing.) We've been making the annual pilgrimage here for 12 years now and have become fairly good at boat-propelled water sports. So it seems appropriate to share one of my favorite coaching stories with you now.
Lift-scene practice was filmed in Lake Lure, NC.
A number of years ago, my brother-in-law was encouraging my 6-foot 3-inch husband to successfully complete a deep-water start on the long rope on his slalom ski. A slalom ski is one ski with bindings for both feet. You can either start with your non-lead foot out of the binding and insert it after you're up and balanced, or start with it already inserted into the rear binding. My husband and I like to start with both feet already secured, but he was having trouble transitioning to the long rope behind the boat and getting up. My brother-in-law had him start on the boom, a rod beside the boat, with a little tow rope. Once Steve mastered that move, he moved to a short rope behind the boat. But the long rope transition was hard for a tall guy like him. The longer the rope, the longer your body has to fight to get itself out of the water. A lot can go wrong in that time, usually involving him getting pulled face forward and wiping out.

My brother-in-law Chris, as impressive a skiier as you've ever seen, the kind of guy who thinks it's fun to ski on various inanimate objects like garbage can lids, and blows us all away with his barefoot skiing, knew my husband was getting frustrated. Steve was losing his balance in those last few moments when he had to fight hardest to maintain it. He needed to dig in a little longer before trying to stand.  But his gut reaction every time was to try and stand as quickly as possible.

"Are you the spider or the fly?" Chris asked Steve after his umpteenth spill.

We all just looked at him, wondering where this was going.

"The fly is oblivious, but the spider knows that he must be patient and wait for his time to strike. Timing is everything. If he strikes too early, the object of his desires gets away from him. You have to wait until your weight is balanced on that board before you try to stand. You have to fight that urge to get up too early. Now, I ask you. Are you that lowly fly, ready to get clobbered? Or are you the spider, ready to persevere and snatch your goal?

"Be the spider!"
http://blog.cranialaperture.com/2013_08_01_archive.html
"I am the spider!" Steve yelled from the water. We all cheered from the boat. Chris motored ahead until the tow line was taut, and waited for Steve's signal to start. 

"Hit it!" my husband yelled, a new determination in his voice. 

The engine roared to life. The boat accelerated. At the end of the long rope, Steve fought the slalom ski. Concentration marbled his face. He stayed low, shifting his weight, pushing against the ski that thrummed to take off with or without him. 

Only then did he attempt to go vertical.

With only a slight bobble, he stood.

He was the spider.

18 comments:

  1. I remember that one! It's all in the timing and we have to be patient.

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    1. Hi Alex! Everything about that post was great. I was at my sister's enjoying fun in the sun and co-hosting the IWSG and spending lots of time blog surfing, something I generally don't do unless I have a reason to, like co-hosting your blogfest. (Not because I don't want to, but because I run out of time.) Looking forward to co-hosting the next one.

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  2. Chris sounds like an insightful person and a wonderful part of your family. I never had the guts to try to a single ski. Maybe if I had Chris as my instructor? :)

    Thank you for re-sharing this with us today!

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    1. Hi D.L.! It does help learning how to slalom and wakeboard (and some of my family is even learning how to barefoot) when you have a good coach. And a group of cheerleaders egging you on.

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  3. Great post! I'm glad you chose it to be revived!

    I wish I 'd heard the spider metaphor during my frequent failures to try and water-ski, lol! It might have helped.

    Instead of spider or fly, I am a turtle -- content to sit calmly in the back of the boat drinking while watching them both. ;)

    Happy Deja Vu!

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    1. A turtle, huh? Slow and steady wins the race, right? You can learn lots by watching.

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  4. I love the idea of being a spider not the fly! Bet your husband was so proud of himself :) x

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    1. My husband was proud, and Chris was ensconced in family lore as a coach extraordinaire.

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  5. Great story!! And the way you told it: I was right there in the boat, watching your husband with anticipation as he started to stand. "Are you the fly or the spider?" is good to ponder and can be used with so many life situations. Thanks for sharing!! Happy Deja Vu!
    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. We've recycled that quote a number of times in my family; at times of stress and challenge. Being the spider is generally the healthier way to go!

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  6. I was also there in your story although I was in thewater wondering what would happen next. Great metaphor, thank you!

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    1. Thanks for sticking with the story to its conclusion. :-)

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  7. Very good story. How often do we live a metaphor and realize it? Patience and action is such an incredibly balanced dance.

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    1. Yeah, this was definitely one of those times we realized the metaphor as the experience unfolded. Pretty powerful.

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  8. Not just a great metaphor, but a beautifully written story with just a hint of drama ("will he make it?") Well done deja vu!

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    1. Hi Barb! I just entered your doggie pic contest! What a great idea.

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  9. Hi Kim - a great reminder on life ... we can't have it all at once ... and then we enjoy it more and we've learnt along the way .. cheers and happy Christmas week .. Hilary

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    1. I do think hard-fought success is sweeter.

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