The hydrofoiling freshman

Raz Sayre. Photo Courtesy of Raz Sayre.

For the past three years,The MVTimes has asked four recent Vineyard high school graduates to share their experiences during their first year after graduation. Raz Sayre is a freshman at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla. This is his second dispatch.

So being a fortunate lad who has never stumbled upon any serious injuries, I have recently made some very intriguing discoveries. Crutches stink. Sitting dormant stinks. Knee braces stink. Knees stink.

Well, let me rephrase that: Hurting your knee stinks. As I may have expressed before, I enjoy watersports. Sometimes, however, unlucky things happen. A month and a half ago, my medial collateral ligament fell victim to one of those unfortunate occasions. So I flew back to school for the second semester with 150 pounds of excess baggage filled with various kites and boards and foils, two backpacks, two crutches, and one useful leg.

A couple of days later, the second semester began. The walk to class is a bit more of a hassle, the trips to the beach to put a kite in the sky are gone, and I watch from the sidelines of sailing practices, where other people slide into the spot I’ve worked so hard to be in. All the time I have put into learning new things — kiteboarding, sailing, and getting my conditioning back for those long days on the water — now feels like a waste of time. I planted these seeds, but have been prevented from watering them. So I sit, frustrated and dry.

Although this time has been painful, it has definitely been a learning experience. It has taught me the importance of diversity in life. When I became unable to do something as simple as walking, it hindered how I spent my time. Of course, when healthy, I spent countless hours sitting down stagnant in the library, but I liked to get that out of the way to make room for the sometimes simpler outdoor passions I have. I previously filled this time slot with everything from kiteboarding to shooting a basketball. All require two feet, however. So I had to make some adjustments in order to maintain my sanity, and prevent, once I’m recovered in a couple of months, getting up and finding an imprint of my gluteus maximus on my couch.

So I vowed to spend even more time in the library, and in my free time I rediscovered my interest in pottery, something I had experimented with in high school but hadn’t found time to continue at Eckerd. I also picked a guitar back up, another hobby that was lost in the dominating nature of my wind and water passions. While at first I feared some sense of boredom was going to set in any day, I learned otherwise. While I grew antsy being unable to stretch my bones and exercise, I found that it was actually a blessing. It was honestly a pleasure to sit down, pick back up some old tools, and rediscover an artistic part of me that I’ve always enjoyed expressing but had decided to put in the back seat.

This time also gave me a moment to stand back, take a deep breath, assess my sailing, and determine what I need to do to improve. It reminded me why I love the things I do, and how lucky I am — something I can take for granted when I’m in a burned-out state after a long practice. It drove me to work harder to recover, this yearning for the saltwater and breeze.