A few days before Christmas found us uncharacteristically ready for the big day, so Scott suggested a spur-of-the-moment trip to the Poconos to ski/snowboard. This was a major event as it would be Neil's first time back on the slopes since the accident. His doctor had told us that after 18 months his brain would be just as physically stable as any one's, and if he wanted to try snowboarding again, he could. Well, the 18-month mark hit in the middle of summer--not a particularly good time for winter sports, so this was his first opportunity.
I can't tell you how excited Neil was as he anticipated being up in the snow, participating in his favorite sport again. We arranged for some time with an instructor--just to get him started back in the right direction, and gave him plenty of pep-talks about patience and lowering his expectations. After all, his balance isn't what it was, and his left side is still showing signs of impairment. But he insisted he was ready.
So we watched anxiously to see if snowboarding would turn out to be another lost skill--another disappointment for him. The first ten or fifteen minutes were shaky. I guess things didn't feel the same and he took a few spills. But it didn't take long for the old familiar moves to come back and he figured out how to compensate for lost abilities. He was soon on the lift and going down the easier paths. I insisted he stay on green circle slopes, but I think his dad accidentally took him down a blue square path on the second day, and apparently, he did okay.
Probably, the most difficult thing Neil found was that he tires very quickly, so building strength and stamina will be key for future outings. But oh, what joy that he has this back in his life again!
If any friends want to invite him for a day on the slopes, just letting you know, he'll need a little help tying his boots, but he'll do fine on the mountain...and he'll love you forever!