Posted below is the lost article that was written by a CRB Minion. It was/is supposed to be published in one of the fine student newspapers at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, or, "not Madison" for short. Enjoy.
Something stronger than simple sport takes place every year for Collegiate Waterskiiers. A pilgrimage to experience something that goes deeper then simple competition. For the members of the UWM Ski Team, it is a force that grabs hold
and sees them drive 16 hours to an event they didn't even get to compete in.
"The atmosphere is totally unbelievable, everyone is so nice," Freshman Christa Selner said. "Honestly, it is one of those things you need to experience first hand in order to completely understand it"
That atmosphere is the Collegiate Waterski Nationals. This yearly tournament is set at the prestigious Bennett Ski School in Louisiana, and pits the best collegiate Waterski teams against one another.
The spectacular site, featuring two specially built lakes, saw hordes of competitors and spectators alike, camping out for days. Family, friends, and teammates cheered on the skiers, celebrated outstanding accomplishments, and consoled any disappointments.
The tournament itself features athletes from all across the nation, competing in the ultimate test of team and individual ability, the water-ski 3-event format. Jumpers would routinely soar to distances well over 100 feet, slalom skiers would carve up the water maneuvering around a six-buoy course, and trick-skiers would contort, twist and flip in a stunning display of grace and power.
3-Event skiing is the oldest and most storied format in waterskiing today; combing elements of power, grace and skill into one overall package. Jump entails a skier to go off of a five and a half foot ramp as the boat pulls them at up to 32 mph. However, some skiers can generate speeds as great as 70 mph prior to their jumps. Slalom consists of a skier using a single ski and skiing through a course with six staggered buoys, three on each side, which the skier must weave between at varying boat speeds and rope lengths. Trick skiing involves a skier doing tricks, such as flips and spins, in a specific amount of time.
For the members of the UWM Waterski team, this trip was not about being able to compete, it was out of love for the sport, and the ability to share in the experience with fellow competitors. The experiences will serve them well as they pursue the dream of competing along side the likes of powerhouse waterski programs like University of Louisiana – Monroe, University of Louisiana – Lafayette and Arizona State.
Not only that, the sport of Waterskiing is one of the few sports where amateur and pro athletes alike mingle and socialize.
“I have been a basketball fan my whole life and never met Michael Jordan.” said Ski Team founder, and coach, Tristan Hansen, “Yet I have met Freddy Krueger, the world record holder for jump [skiing], and talked to him several times.”
Act the NCWSA Nationals, UWM skiers were standing on the sidelines with pro skiers like Natalia Berdnikova, this years NCWSA Women’s overall Champion and the 2007 U.S. Masters Jump Champion, and Will Asher, the World Waterski Slalom Champion.
"When I joined the team, I couldn't even ski! I fell off the ramp and made a fool of myself, but as soon as I got in, I was hooked," said team captain Steve Krezminski. "I was hooked because everyone was standing on shore cheering for me. It was the greatest feeling in the world. I still suck, and everyone is still on shore cheering me on. It's like a family. You totally get hooked. I went from not skiing three years ago, to this being my life."
The waterski club has been around for a few years, and though they are a competitive club, they strongly push that they are there to promote the sport and have a good time.
"You don't have to be a good skier, or even know how to ski to join the club. We'll teach you. All you need is a desire to have a good time" says John Weber, the club president.
Their season is in the fall and spring, and they train throughout the summer. The tournaments are a total blast, as I was able to experience first hand. It was nothing like I could have ever imagined. I expected rivalries and hostility between teams and competitors, but instead, witnessed an incredible sense of unity and equality. It was touching to see beginners receive the same praise and applause as those who have been skiing for years and have won numerous titles and competitions.
Sadly, this article can't really give you the full image of the team. If you are interested in knowing more, check out the website www.uwmwaterski.com or email the club at firstname.lastname@example.org
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