Yep, I know that’s not a word. Except it is now, technically, as of the publishing of this post. You’re welcome.
So this weekend the Master’s Ski and Wakeboard Tournament (Sponsored by Nautique) is in town. Apparently, it’s a very big deal. Kids and adults travel from far away lands to come here and demonstrate their skills in the water. I have always been aware of the Master’s, though vaguely, and have never attended. Until yesterday I really had no idea of the magnitude of this event or of its true scope in the world of water sports. Two reasons for this:
- I’m incredibly self-absorbed. I don’t swim. I like the lake, yes, and the beach, but I never learned to swim properly and now at the age of 37 I am somewhat certain it isn’t a skill I’ll ever be able to list on my LinkedIn profile. No swimming means, obviously, no water sports. I don’t ski or slalom or wake board or anything that might result in me drowning. I don’t even venture into unnecessarily deep bathtubs. So, since I don’t do it, I’m not involved in it at all, I don’t read about it and am generally clueless.
- There was a second reason when I started typing, but now I think number 1 is enough of an explanation, so we’ll just skip the second reason.
So apparently for people who swim and ski and have boats and live near oceans and are immensely more active in sports and outdoors than I am, the Master’s is a VERY big deal. It is THE big deal. People gather from as far away as Belgium and Italy at this huge lake in Georgia to see the best-of-the-best slalom (not sure what this is but it’s fun to say), trick (it’s not what you think) and jump their way to glory.
Today I had the opportunity to attend my first Master’s Tournament, and it was everything I expected it to be, good and bad. Mostly good. The bad wasn’t so much BAD as it was, fit girls in tiny bikinis who are really tan and have no body fat at all and “is there a tree big enough for me to hide behind”-type thoughts, and wanting to pull my shorts down far enough to cover myself while staring at them in a mix of disbelief and envy. One of the girls from the Monster Energy Tint looked like she used makeup from the Snapchat Filter line. I kept squinting my eyes, unable to discern whether my eyes were blurry from the sun or her skin was just that smooth. The guys all looked like PacSun models, brown skin and blonde hair, some in ponytails or dreads, lumbering around in board shorts laughing with each other about who has the most individual ab muscles. Is this real life?
Besides the blindingly beautiful people with exotic accents, there was a lot to do and see. Bouncy houses for little kids, fair food like hot dogs, beer, and funnel cakes, lots of sponsor booths selling gear and apparel, and people of all ages having a great time on the beach.
Anyway, the tournament drew a massive crowd (because, as mentioned previously this is apparently a big deal and everyone knew about it but me) and the beach was packed. The announcers raved as each skier sliced through the water at top speed, followed by cheers, applause and the boom of dance music pouring out of the speakers. The hot sun, blue skies, and gentle breeze all conspired to invoke feelings of a modern day Monet painting, complete with wildflowers in bloom on the distant lawn.
So, in summary: The Master’s Tournament is truly something to see. Nautique Boats, the sponsor, is very well represented and Callaway Gardens, the venue, is a wonder of the modern world. A fun time was had by all. I left with an appreciation for something I had no awareness of before and – if you can believe this – a want to learn more. I guess the next step will be swimming lessons, or skiing lessons? Maybe I’ll go way out of my comfort zone, and take a bath.