Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column that wants to do away with all sports-related moral superiority.With High Country activities ranging from rafting to snow biking to up-skiing, there’s no way we’ll ever be able to enjoy the athletic bounty that surrounds us. But we do try to put another notch in the extreme-experience ladder every now and then. And we don’t like it when people who have decided to specialize in a given sport pull the I-am-a-better-person-than-you-because-I-can-do-this-obscure-activity-well card. The ‘tude has started to get under our skin. We hear our friends trying to bolster their self-worth with members of the opposite sex by exaggerating their extreme endeavors. “You know,” we want to say when they’re working the crowd, “we were there too. Mr. Steez did not actually catch Warren Miller’s attention with his insane park riding. The only thing he does on picnic tables is eat hot dogs.” But that might ruin Mr. Steez’s game. And game, athletic or otherwise, seems to be the most popular crutch in Summit County. We want to tell people who laugh at beginners that they are not all that. We want to put them in an environment where they are completely inept, like a packed MIT lecture hall where they have to write out a geometry proof on a chalkboard in front of all the geniuses. Most of all, we want them to share the love, or slopes, or bruises … whatever their specialized sport calls for.This is an important lesson for today, seeing that Memorial Day will bring us a variety of athletes on our trails and rivers. If you see a newbie mountain biker, give him or her a cheer. When you’re climbing and there’s a pack of scared beginners, yell out encouragement instead of obscenities. Someday you are bound to be out of your element too. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes – dress shoes that click against the marble floors of a corporate boardroom – and then you’ll understand the struggle to have fun that all beginners face.***In what we like to think is the true spirit of the mountains, we found a great new website: Couchsurfing.com. We think we may be able to feed our wanderlust with it and make new friends (possibly unathletic ones who would receive our unending support in any endeavor). You log on, create a profile, and say if you have an available couch. If you do, people from around the world contact you and ask to stay on your couch. In turn, you can go bed-hopping around the world, making new friends and seeing the local’s perspective all the while. There’s lots of safety measures and references for couch surfers, but we can read auras so we feel pretty safe in any meeting situation already. We think we’re attracted to strangers because we never hosted an exchange student as a kid. Now we’re opening up our home to every Tom, Dick and Harry … take that Mom and Dad! Bohemian rebellion tastes so sweet.***Chick Deming sent us a Memorial Day message to keep in mind: “Soon the mark of these loved ones will be gone, but somewhere someone will still remember the touch of their hands. In time that remembrance will grow fonder until at last there will be no living thing that knew them and they will disappear into the great void of time. That is why we come this day to honor their memories and to let ourselves and others know we haven’t forgotten.”*** We’re out, putting on our cheerleading uniform in preparation for a long bike ride.
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