Excerpts from emails I received today:
“I have received an email message from Greg Windsperger earlier today. I haven’t spoken to Greg in maybe 30 to 35 years. The story provided the opportunity to connect with him; a pleasant surprise.” Jim Thielen Dec 10 storyteller“I have a story I just need the weekend here in NZ to craft it. And dig up some photos (Geez they may be on a floppy!) She’ll be a good one and on the back of DJ’s and Gilbo’s contributions…have come out from hiding.” Scott Higgins- future contributor
Our biggest liability- that we’re such a small group, is also our strongest asset. We have shared something so rare: heel-free flight. We speak a language so few can truly understand. We are so bonded! For life! I share the emails above in case anyone had any doubts on this.So- if you feel these connections I hope you’ll take a moment and give back just a bit to the sport that is so deeply woven into your fabric. Amount doesn’t matter. Just get your name on the list. Join your friends. Let us know you’re out there and still dreaming of flight. If you name a coach or mentor who helped get you there, I’ll add them with your name. Just put it in the comments section.Let’s do this.
Curator USANS Story Project
Iron Mountain, MI
USA Masters Jumper
I wanted to write a few words about why I still ski jump. I started ski jumping at the age of two and jumped till the age of 24. I took a 15 year break and then found myself back on a ski jump at 39 years old.
Well, it started when I was in the clubhouse after the Pine Mt. tournament. I was talking with Bryan Sanders and he told me I should jump again. At the time he said, “the US Masters Nationals are in St Paul next weekend you should come and jump.” I said, “Bryan, I haven’t had skis on now for maybe 5 years!” Then I said, “Ok, see you Friday.” I went and grabbed my old equipment from the basement Friday morning and drove to Minnesota.
When I climbed out onto the start bar the first time I thought, “Why am I here?” Then I thought, “I’ve never walked down off a ski jump in my life, I’m not starting now!”
I got a flag from my coach to go. I looked at the sky and said, “Me and you dad, keep me safe.” Before I stopped at the outrun, I wanted to be back up to the top of the jump. I was hooked again! It’s now been ten years since I reunited with the people from the old days, they are still family. Not everything you get involved with in life has people like we do in this sport.
I have now traveled to Finland twice, Slovenia once, and Norway with my mom who is 86! I met so many new friends from all over the world the past few years through this sport and it’s incredible. This sport made me feel alive again and got into shape in my forties. There is nothing like the feeling of the right “ride”. It has been a long time coming for me to get that feel of flying that only this sport can give. I am closing in on a dream because of this sport, to win a medal at the World Masters.
Every spring I wait for the snow to melt so I can jump on plastic and then every fall I wait in earnest for the snow to come to start jumping again. The question that was asked of me is why I still do this, and yes, everything I’ve mentioned so far but here is my real reason:
My dad was my coach and role model. He made sure the hill was ready for the kids in Iron Mountain, MI to use when they were out of school. He was there every weekend helping me get better and flagging for the wind so we would not get hurt. And no matter how bad the conditions were, I asked him if he could get me down safe. He always said yes and I went up to the top, and also landed safely because of his training advice and his knowledge of this amazing sport.
So with that, I say hello to him before I let go of the start bar every ride so I know he is watching over me. It’s been 11 years since he passed but I feel him with every ride I take. So that’s the reason this guy still jumps at 49 and will be involved in some way in this sport until I’m gone. Thanks to USA Nordic and all my ski jumping friends for making me who I am!
LET THE WILD RUMPUS BEGIN!
Knowing how competitive we all are and understanding how deeply we associate with our respective Nordic sport (and how much we admire our sisters and brethren on the other side of the Nordic fence) we are setting up a friendly competition on the fundraising side this year. AND IT LOOKS LIKE IT’S GONNA BE A HORSE RACE!
NOTE THAT ALL FUNDS, WHETHER DONATED THROUGH THE NORDIC COMBINED OR SKI JUMPING LINK, WILL GO TO THE DEVELOPMENT AND TOP TEAMS OF BOTH PROGRAMS!