I mentioned in an earlier story that Mark was very athletic. I’ll write more about that as well. However, his athleticism wasn’t always highly coordinated. He could run like a gazelle, but that didn’t necessarily translate into amazing coordination. And, at times, he relied too heavily on his speed and strength rather than on finesse. Water skiing was a good example. My family would vacation at Lake Powell when I was growing up (those living in Utah still do so). The first few times we went down to Lake Powell were with the Carruths, who taught both Mark and I how to water ski. That would have been when I was about 10 or so. My Dad, sold on the idea of Lake Powell, eventually bought a small ski boat and purchased a share in a houseboat, so we could go on our own.
It was a couple years after Mark and I learned to water ski, when I was about 12, that I learned to slalom (i.e., ski on one ski). I picked it up rather quickly. I probably tried three or four times on different days before I managed to get up. And, here’s the rub, I managed to do it before Mark. That, of course, was unacceptable. I think I picked it up around 1:00 pm. I skied around a bit, then decided I was done and would practice more the next day. Mark was not willing to let me learn to slalom before he did, so we spent the next three hours or so out in the main channel at Lake Powell while Mark tried and tried to get up. I don’t know how he had the strength to try that many times, but he did. Even so, he still didn’t get up that day and finally had to call it quits. He did, however, get up the next day.
Did I mention we’re competitive? Another good example – I vowed to get my Eagle Scout as early as possible so I wouldn’t have to worry about not being able to drive. I got it at 13. Mark was awarded his Eagle Scout the same day, at 15. He vowed I wouldn’t get mine before he got his. He even insisted that he be handed his actual Eagle Scout Award before I was handed mine. ;)
Nah, we weren’t competitive!