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ISRA: An Inside Look at Our Team Dynamic

In the dead heat of competition season, when you’ve been on for eight days and the temperatures haven’t reached above zero in two weeks and you just can’t figure out why your first runs aren’t as good as your second, it’s hard to remember that you have an entire team that is standing behind you. I guess it’s the nature of an alpine ski racer, because at the end of the day it’s just you and the course. This, however, doesn’t mean you’re in it all alone.

I have been a part of the same program since I was in eighth grade, but every year I experienced a different team dynamic. The composition of a team can be a driving factor in the individual successes of every athlete. That’s why it’s not important, rather, it’s vital that there is interdependence, shared purpose, diversity, and fun. These are all things I had previously experienced, just not all at once. It wasn’t until I met the girls who are my current teammates that these four things were combined. Now don't get me wrong, the pieces of this puzzle don’t fall into place every day, however, when they do it’s apparent. We push each other. There is a camaraderie. We ask each other questions, because the success of one means the success of many.

I was not expecting this to be the case when I decided to join ISRA. It typically takes a team a certain period of time to figure out the nuts and bolts of its dynamic, and in some cases, they never do. But in some remarkable cases there is nothing to figure out. This was the case for our team. I wish I could say that we all arrived in the Reno airport in May and immediately clicked, but it wasn’t actually until our third camp on snow that our entire team was officially training together. So, in reality our dynamic kind of fell into place in a curious way. One after another, a girl was added to our group chat or arrived at a camp. Each time it was like the coaches were throwing in some special secret ingredient that was making us that much better. Every girl, from the age of thirteen to twenty-four, contributes something unique. Everyday isn’t the best day and we certainly don’t agree on everything; especially colors for team outfits, but every day is original and there is never a lack of conversation. With all this being said, the composition of a team is something that is constantly evolving; therefore, the members of the team must be agile and adapt with it. Something I hope our team will continue to do throughout the season. Because at the end of the day when all is said and done your teammates are the ones who build you up, celebrate, and cheer you on.

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