The 2021 water ski competition season is over. The exhibition season is over as well. The final show was the Sunday prior to Labor Day.
After that? Three fun days per week until the sun sets too early to make it worth while to move all of the equipment and boats to the lake. Usually the 3rd week in September is the final ha rah.
2021 was supposed to be a rebuilding year. For the most part it was. The season began and will end with a plethora of tiny grade school and middle school girls on the dock attempting to get as many pulls in as possible before the sun goes down. There were not as many strong young men to get them all in as many pyramid and doubles acts as we or they wanted. However, the season ended with some respectably large pyramids and a few new couples on the water.
Pyramids like the one featured at the top and just below this paragraph began the season build them up a little too slowly and bringing them down a little too quickly. The slowness to build was a safety necessity. Quickness in tearing them down was fear that needed to be conquered.
There was rumbling by some of the new ski parents, who came to us from larger clubs, that the team should volunteer to be placed in a lower division. They feared that we would look foolish against the other Division 1 teams at the regional tournament and dishearten a very young and tournament inexperienced team.
Thanks to COVID19 restrictions the entire 2020 tournament season was cancelled. As a result a small majority of the team had never competed in a tournament. To be honest, it had been many years since the team competed well enough to qualify for the National Championship tournament.
A majority of the younger skiers had no idea how good we used to be and how good we were this year. Winning attitudes are fostered through successful competition and LOTS of repetition in practice.
The thought of stepping down to Division 2 made R Dub bristle. It took Z and I a few years to convince the team that we belonged in the upper division after advancing from Division 2 to Division 1 back in the late 2000s. Sliding back to rebuilding the team’s sense of belonging was not in my game plan. Thankfully this was not an option for the young leadership group on the team either.
Improvement and confidence building took place on the fly preparing for the tournament season. Each home show Sunday is a dress rehearsal for the tournaments. Every Sunday the kids got a little better, a little faster climbing, a little more comfortable keeping the pyramids up.
The ballet line (video below) featured a dozen skiers most of the season. Near tournament time we gained a good skier from Lake Sinnissippi and some of our alumni came back to help build our numbers and experience.
Thanks to the versatile and imaginative mind of Erich Zellmer and the addition of two jumpers from Bellevue, Iowa we were able to score big points at both the Wisconsin Regional Tournament and NSSA Division 1 Championship Tournament with ‘never seen before’ acts.
The WI tourney act was called the Bombcopter which featured barefooting Shane Hughes bombing out of two skis onto his bare feet, flanked to his left by Ben Sether who performed a high speed helicopter jump while Shane footed along side of him from dock to jump and back to stage. This act won a trophy for being the most unique and original act of the tournament.
The National Championships act was called the Flipping Bombcopter because we added a front flipping skier from Iowa named Chase. Video below.
R Dub got to put down the microphone for the final two home shows. Below is video that I shot while spotting in Erich’s boat during the next to last show of the season.
After the tournament season was over and there was no longer a need for 2 announcers on land, R Dub branched out to other roles on the team. I got to spot in Erich Zellmer’s twin rig for the August 29th show.
R Dub donned a wet suit and skied during the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday practices leading up to our final home show on September 5th. The final video of this post is the opening pryamid from the Labor Day show. Yours truly is in the middle of the pyramid, taking Joy Neslon off the dock on my shoulders and bringing her home high, dry and safe. It felt good to be back on skis after a 3 year absence.
This was a good ending to a better than expected year. Sixth in the Wisconsin regional tournament, 7th at the NSSA Division 1 Championship, 6th rated announcing and sound crew in the nation and I GOT TO SKI! I will take it.