Brenden Whitfield Hour 4 January 11, 2000 Slap shots and Turns A downhill skier gracefully completes another turn while an ice hockey player checks an opponent into the glass. The skier sails off a jump like an eagle, just as the hockey player absorbs the blows of opposing players like a tank. The skier lands the jump with precision, as the hockey player stumbles towards the opposing goal. The skier gracefully passes the finish line and stops just as the hockey player shoots the puck. As the skier notices the time of his run, he cries tears of joy because he has just won the gold medal. The hockey player hears the horn sound as his puck sails into the goal.

He spits blood out of his mouth as his teammates tackle him because they have just won the Stanley Cup. Both of these athletes have won the highest prize in each of their sports. Both will be hailed by children as gods in the sporting world. However, because these two men are in different sports they will never meet each other. Both will go home and celebrate their accomplishments in different ways. The public will celebrate along with these two athletes, unaware that they both accomplished the same feat.

The public believes these two athletes participated in totally different sports. The public believes that one played the graceful sport of downhill skiing, while the other played the brutal sport of ice hockey. At a superficial level it may appear that these two sports are different, however digging deeper proves that the sports of ice hockey and downhill skiing are quite similar in their technique. Ice hockey and downhill skiing are similar in that both utilize the same method to perpetuate motion. An ice hockey player wears a skate that posses a sharp blade at its base. This blade is believed to merely cut through the ice when movement occurs.

This belief is false. In actuality the pressure applied to the blade via the weight of the hockey player causes the blade to melt a small of amount of ice underneath it. Then the blade proceeds to hydroplane over the small film of water melted by the skate. Immediately after the skate has passed over the small film of water it freezes again into ice.

This is the reason the ice needs to be smoothed after a match, because it did not freeze into a flat, level surface. Skiing uses this same idea. The bottom of a ski is covered with wax. When a skier goes over the snow the wax uses the forces applied by the weight of the skier to melt a small amount of the snow underneath the ski. Then the ski proceeds to hydroplane over the water. Once the length of the ski has passed over the water it freezes into snow.

Just like an ice hockey rink, the downhill ski slope must be smoothed out at the end of the day by a grooming device because the water did not freeze into a smooth face. Ice hockey and downhill skiing are similar in that they both require the athlete to hydroplane over water in order to move. A hockey player and downhill skier use similar methods to begin movement and then control themselves while movement is occurring. The method used to begin movement while playing hockey or skiing is the same. When viewing a hockey game a viewer will notice a hockey player pushing off to the side with on skate and then the other. It is this constant pushing that causes the player to move forward.

A downhill skier uses this same method. A common misconception is that a downhill skier begins his or her movement based only on gravity. In actuality a skier begins motion by exiting the starting gate and pushing off with one leg then the other. When a skier has reached sufficient speed he or she will cease this action and move by gravity. Still both hockey players and downhill skiers begin movement in the same way. Once movement has begun the same methods are used in order to maintain control in both of these sports.

First of all both hockey players and downhill skiers lean forward in their boots in order to maintain balance. After this, the common method used to maintain a safe speed is the turn. In hockey the athlete would increase the pressure on the skate he or she wishes to have on the outside of the turn. The next step is a swivel of the body in this direction and the turn is completed when the pressure is equalized between the two skates. Turning in downhill skiing requires this same movement. First the extra pressure is applied followed by a swivel of the hips.

When pressure has been equalized between the two skies, the turn is complete. The last way both of these sports maintain control is by being able to stop abruptly. In order to be a successful ice hockey player or downhill skier a person must be able to stop on a dime. In order to stop, the athlete uses the same technique as turning. However, this time all weight is shifted to the outside ski.

Then a " hockey stop" is preformed. Both ice hockey and downhill skiing use the same techniques in order to control speeds and stop. Lastly, ice hockey and downhill skiing are similar in that they both require the same mindset. While a person is skating in an ice hockey game, or jumping in a downhill skiing competition, he or she has to have the mentality of "no fear." During the course of an ice hockey game a player will be tripped and checked numerous times. Still the player gets right back up and continues to play. The same holds true for a downhill skier.

A person will fall many times and crash into fences, but the athlete has to get right back up a get ready for the next run. The mental toughness evolves because the athletes develop a rhythm in these sports. Unlike football, basketball, and soccer, the rhythm developed in ice hockey and downhill skiing is never broken. When an ice hockey player is on the ice he or she does not even think about the skating, instead the focus is on the shot about to be taken. Similarly, a downhill skier does not think about the turn being made, instead the focus is on the jumps in the future. If life imitates art, the manner in which hockey player and downhill skiers move is a masterpiece.

The most important component of the "no fear" attitude is a short memory. Many athletes in other sports remember the mistakes made in the pass and alter their game in order to avoid these same mistakes in the future. In ice hockey and downhill skiing this is not the way. Instead they brush the snow and ice off and continue on the same old way.

The mind set of the athletes in ice hockey and downhill skiing make these sports very similar. Now when a person views an ice hockey game or a downhill skiing competition he or she will be able to notice similarities between the two sports. The spectators will begin to classify the brutal hockey players and the classy downhill skier into the same category. This mindset will begin to develop because these two sports are quite similar. First off both a ski and an ice hockey skate perpetuate motion in the same manner. They both melt a small portion of ice or snow to hydroplane over the water.

Then the water freezes after the ski or skate has passed over it. Secondly both sports use the same techniques in order to not only begin motion, but to also maintain balance. Both skiers and skates push out with one leg at a time in order to begin motion. Once motion has begun both sports use the same technique to institute turns in order to assure control. Lastly, both sports require the same "no fear" mentality.

In both sports of ice hockey and downhill skiing a rhythm develops that causes an athlete to forget what he or she is doing. Then, when a fall occurs, the participant gets right back up and does it again, never thinking twice about the fall. Many people have enjoyed the sports of ice hockey and downhill skiing for years. The common belief is that these two sports have nothing in common. All though this appears to be true at a superficial level, both ice hockey and downhill skiing are quite similar in their techniques.