The Story of Williams:
The year was 1966 and the Baptist Student Union at Texas Christian University
in Ft. Worth, Texas was going to take about eighty students for a winter break
sky trip to Colorado Springs, Colorado. We were to stay at a Baptist Camp and ski
at the BroadMoor.
In order to participate I had
discussed this with my Mother who pointed out that I had nothing to wear for the
conditions of cold and wet. She took it upon herself to buy several nice new sweaters
and some Scotch Guard ( a fairly new product at the time ) for my blue jeans. I
was so excited at the time that I paid little attention to the cost which my Mother
bore out of a severly depleated pocket book given the fact that my Father had passed
away some two years before.
The BroadMoor was the only ski slope that most of us Texas born neophytes had ever seen.
It was a single
slope about forty yards wide and staight down the hill. There was one chair lift which
would let you off half way or all the way to the top.
Williams was a student about my age. He was a little slow (as we say in the south).
We all knew this and were kind to him. Williams didn't have any ski type clothes or
gloves. I loaned him my Scotch Guard but I had no extra gloves. Williams used plastic
bags and rubber bands around his wrists in order to keep out the wet snow.
Williams was tall and thin, a veritable Icobad Crane. In those days down in the ski shop
where we rented our skis, boots, and poles (at a group rate)
each person received skis that were
longer than each person was tall.
For Williams this compounded his naturally uncordinated condition.
Most of us found getting on the chair lift fairly simple and getting off a bit of a challenge.
Although we all wished him well we all knew that for Williams there was always going to
be a crash on exit from the chair lift.
If this story is to be worth remembering it is because of what I learned that day.
Williams knew that he would never be able to master the "snow plow" and that he had
no way to control his speed and no way to stop. This is when the magic of the moment
set in. Williams said to me, "You know I have no chance of getting down this hill
standing up, so I am going to go straight down this hill as fast as I can and that
way when I wipe out I will be most of the way down. That's the only way I am going
to have any fun."
The word got out. Everyone was to watch out for Williams and give way. It was so
comical that we all had a great laugh. When Williams wiped out at his high speed it was
like a Raggy Ann doll flipping end over end. It became the thing to do to stop and wait
for Williams to do his thing before proceeding. No one wanted to miss the spectacle.
Williams became our hero. We college boys were all too macho to take a good wipe out
in front of the coeds. We were all
too proud to look the fool.
We were desparately trying to master the maneuvers and look cool.
Williams had a very special message for all of us.
If you know you have limitations, go ahead anyway and don't be concerned with what it looks
like. Williams survived and you will too.
Williams showed us that success has very little to do with style
and a lot to do with substance.
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