These past few weeks, I’ve been berated on social media with hundreds of ‘grams, tweets, Snapchats, and Facebook posts from tournaments and teams across the nation. I see all these collegiates having a blast, loving life, and doing an amazing job skiing. I loved getting to experience all these weekends through you all on social media, but honestly, it started to hurt.
My heart yearned for all my favorite places (Dirty Van Werty!), things (onesies and skis mostly), and people (all ya’ll). I was mad at myself for graduating, having a big kid job, and attempting to adult. Sick of all your taunting, I used my position as NCWSA Marketing Chairwoman, as an excuse to be insane one more weekend. I say insane, because it sounds dumb to tell someone outside our world, that after a long week of work, I packed my bags and took a train and an Uber to a ditch on the side of an highway, to sleep on a truck bed on 40 degree nights, just to watch a bunch of college kids get dragged behind a boat-Yes, I’m talking Midwest Regionals
Hopefully you saw what I was doing, because I used every last drop of data to do an Insta-story takeover, and post all over social media. With the help of NCWSA secretary Adam Koehler (your repost king), and all those that tagged @theNCWSA, used our hashtags, or sent us direct messages, we did our best to capture every moment of this past weekend in collegiate ski. In our attempt to share the spirit of NCWSA, we, and all watching from their mobile device, got to see the passion you bring to the lake weekend after weekend.
In between acting as a safety swimmer for jump (as I work towards my Safety Official certification) I saw Iowa State’s Starting Dock Dance Party, Bowling Green carry a couch back and forth across the shore to always be close to their teammates on the water, Miami running laps in their onesies to cheer for their skiers, Team Midwest squad-up to set up/clean up the site, and then all the support from alumni, AWSA skiers, and the MCWSA board to make the 2017 Midwest Regionals wonderfully unforgettable. The magnetic charm of collegiate waterskiing is what keeps it as a leading membership initiative of USA Water Ski.
More than that, I saw so much team love, that is not merely across each school, but across Team Midwest, and all of NCWSA. In my few months working with NCWSA, I’ve spoken with so many of you though comments, random friend requests, and DM sliding. I have phone numbers of NCWSA skiers across the country, who’ve wanted to share their story with us. Each @theNCWSA tag is another touch of friendship to keep our organization grounded in the roots of this program-each of you.
The inter-team friendships are so strong across the collegiate ski world. While each team wants to land all the tricks, jump all the feet, and swerve all the buoys, they support their competition from the dock to the sidelines. My alma mater was not at Midwest Regionals, but as I arrived alone to PITs, never once did I question who I would hang out with, nor if I would have someone to eat dinner with. Even when I needed a ride 40 min East of the site, to catch a train back to Chicago after the tournament, University of Cincinnati welcomed me with open car doors and Olive Garden. This friendly competition is at a level you don’t see in other sports. Even the deepest rivalries of ULL and ULM still maintain friendships–with a healthy amount of smack talking of course. I saw non-competing skiers drive over 3 hours to the tournament to work as an official or support their friends on other teams. I already heard of another skier that will be traveling to Regionals with a rival school as an “honorary teammate.”
On social media, I see Iowa State talking with Clemson about their latest photo shoot, and all the #friendshipgoals that cross schools. I’ve even seen waterskier-wakeboarder relationships! It’s so fun to see the community connected, engaged, and sharing the love. Clemson shared with NCWSA the news about Eastern Regionals competitor Josh Briant from Rollins College, and after teams in the Midwest heard, everyone was concerned and hoping for the best as he went in for leg surgery. Many have never met the champion tricker, but all sending good vibes towards Orlando.
This may not seem like “marketing”, but #NCWSASpirit is an award for a reason. Each team is building the “brand” of collegiate waterskiing, enhancing the “product” of collegiate tournaments, and the #NCWSASpirit is one of the the leading sales pitch to new members. Who WOULDN’T want to be a part of this amazing community you all have helped build? New teams are popping up and popping into social media and the sport is growing! So keep posting, keep sharing, keep talking, keep skiing and keep dancing on the dock on your #RoadToNationals. And if you have any pictures or team news, don’t forget to #SendIt our way.
“There are good ships and wood ships and ships that sail the seas, but the best ships are friendships, and may that always be.”