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The Unbelievable True Story of Why Than Didn't Ski in Regionals


Than_Bogan
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As most tragicomedies do, my story began on a high note back on Wednesday. My skiing has really come together since I got the new OB4 shells (they are great but that is also partly coincidence). Wednesday evening, for the first time in over a season, I had a -38 "going" -- I was early into 3 before completely screwing up the turn and having to settle for 3.5, still a season high. (It shows how early I was into 3 that I still got outside 4 on my reach pass after spending some time post-3-ball on the wrong edge...)

 

As I went to put my gear away, I noticed my basement floor was soaked! Turned out to be about an inch deep in some places. Following a quick listing of every offensive word I've ever heard, I began to throw down towels and try to figure out WTF was going on. My ski buddy @MikeT is actually a water damage specialist, so on the phone he walked me through an investigation and I soon found the source -- a slow but steady leak from the water heater.

 

So Thursday I had to take a day off from work and do cleanup, guide the plumber, and write a big check. But I don't ski until Saturday morning at Regionals, so no problem, right...

 

Meanwhile, our massive pile of laundry got wet, so no way we can leave without sending all of that through laundry. My wife spent nearly all of Thursday and into Friday morning on that, which meant she didn't do her usual inspection of my two daughter's packing for the trip...

 

But we made it out the door with an "overkill" of clearance on our flight. We picked up my older daughter at Farm Camp at noon and headed directly to Logan Airport, which at midday is usually less than 30 minutes. Not so much. Lane closure turned it into nearly an hour. But hey, we're at the airport at 1pm with 1:30 to spare for a domestic flight. No problem!!

 

Massive bag drop-off line. Ridiculous security line. We consume over an hour, but we're at the end with still 20 minutes to spare. Routine bag check on my younger daughter's bag. Rooting around, waving various wands, hm "what's this knife"? "Oh, that's a souvenir letter opener from Japan. It's not sharp, see." "DO NOT TOUCH THAT SIR!"

 

If you learn one thing from this epic story, it should be this: TSA can mail you stuff that can't go into the cabin of an airplane. Of course, we found that LONG AFTER they sent my wife back to the checkin agent ("no you can't check that now, it's too late") and back through security, and ultimately she just surrendered the souvenir and ran to the gate ... arriving about 5 minutes after they had been forced to close the door. (Fwiw, Delta tried pretty hard to help us out, even holding the plane a few minutes. But the current of bad luck was just too strong.) At this point she went back to reclaim the letter opener, but of course it was now sealed away in some box of other deadly gear, and this was when the TSA supervisor let her know she could have just had it mailed to our home. WOW.

 

OK! We're resilient. We have internet. We can book another flight. Looks like JetBlue is the winner. And Delta is even willing to refund the "to" leg and keep us on the same return flight. Furthermore, Delta confirms our suitcase and my ski went to Richmond. So, on the airport shuttle and off to Terminal C. Probably because we had just booked the flight, the kiosk checkin rejects us and sends us to the counter. Long line there. Long line again for security, but we had paid for the slightly expedited option, and this time we really do make it through with enough time -- in fact the flight is delayed a little so No Problem!! We take off at 6:15, which is gonna put me light on sleep for a 5:30 wakeup, but @MikeT already checked me in at Regionals, so at least I'll be able to ski...

 

Fast forward to up in the sky, nearly half way to Richmond. The woman sitting next to me says "Do you smell that?" For a moment, I don't, but then the unmistakable odor of smoke. Before we can even say anything, an "extra" pilot hitching-a-ride in front of us jumps up and gathers the crew and they begin searching the cabin for the source. After finding nothing specific, the crew decides we need to return to Boston. This is obviously not a dangerous situation because they'd send us to a closer airport if so, but not everyone realizes that, and naturally a baby completely loses it and screams his head off for the entire return trip.

 

Mildly rough landing make me wonder if something semi-important failed, but in any case we have to sit there while the fire crew checks out everything. And naturally the plane's AC doesn't work. At least we're in Boston and not say Phoenix.

 

Eventually back inside the terminal -- YAY AC! They have a spare plane and they're hoping they can get us in the air at 9pm. After a brief family conference, we decide to call it. This is just going to be pure pain with a near guarantee of poor skiing thereafter.

 

Almost surprisingly, nothing happened on the drive back home.

 

My apologies to whomever skied after me and probably had to scramble when he discovered I wasn't actually there despite having been checked in. But perhaps my absence allowed somebody to qualify for Nationals via placement...

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@chris_logan Yeah, I was really angry about the flooding, but at some point a run of bad luck like that crosses into comedy.

 

Bizarre addendum #1: The M3 scores from Eastern Regionals are pretty awful, including four MOPs -- one by the #1 seed! I wonder if there was something up. Lake Holly usually has very consistent conditions. Only Matt Pullano seems have skied well, with a fairly-typical-for-him 1.5 @ -39.

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I saw the running order with your name on it...then I looked at the scores and no @Than...I said to myself "Oh, what happened?"...now I know. Very sorry, but you and the family are well so that's most important!
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Than and I ski together and there may have been something going around in the Lake Cochituate area last week because after my tournament run last weekend up in New Hampshire, Becky Bartlett noticed while I was swimming in to shore that my Goode XT has some bubbling occurring under the binding. Looked it over and found some tiny stress cracks as well. So I couldn't really continue using that ski because you don't know what is happening in there and so I sent it off to Goode to be fixed. Wouldn't have been so bad to be without a ski for a week or so but Regionals were in 5 days. So had to get the bindings on an old 9800 in the basement and try to get reacquainted with that ski. Wasn't ideal though. As I told Than, there are allot more important things in life than waterski issues. We are both looking forward to getting back out there and get back at it. He just got his ski back from the airlines today and mine is due on Wednesday. What can you do but laugh I guess
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Life on life's terms. We're lucky to be living the way we do. If everything went smooth it would probably get boring. Sounds like you handled your situation well Than , better luck next year. Adjusting to life's curve balls is what it's about for me. As I sit here on the couch , in a sling ,watching the boats go by. 2w40ml886ahk.jpg

 

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@Than_Bogan would have loved to ski this am but didn't bring anything with me. I would have been able to check off another state! But I just came in for the Red Sox game yesterday and I'm headed back today. Thanks for the offer!
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@mmosley899 Thanks! I have a feeling my story might be sad enough to get a waiver about the Regionals requirement, but I *also* needed an extra score to qualify, so at this point I think fate is trying to tell me something! But I think I mentioned in a side correspondence that I may head to Nationals anyhow to check out gear and talk with folks.
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Btw, because some have been curious: The reason the whole family was along was because we usually turn Regionals into an excuse to visit something interesting that might not have been on our radar otherwise. In this case, the plan was to spend about 1.5 days at Colonial Williamsburg. Perhaps another time!
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@Than_Bogan , Sorry to hear of your troubles but that is great for Justin. I just met him a few weeks ago at Pangaea where he was trying to get a score to get into Nationals. I saw him again at Hidden Pass where he missed getting the score needed by 1 buoy(I think), nice that he got in. I met you at Pangaea years ago also, lots of MA crew also. Good bunch.
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