Monday, April 06, 2009

Shane McConkey, Focus.

My friend Shane recently hucked and it didn't work out. I've had a real down week thinking about his death and so many others over the years. I smile when I think about Shane (I don't think anyone who ever hung out with him for more than 20 minutes doesn't smile when thinking about Shane), but the aftermath for his family must be rough. Shane wasn't a super-tight friend, but we did some cool stuff together over the years through Red Bull, and had some ideas for trips in the future. I'm damn sorry it didn't work out for him, not because he died, we all die, but yet again for his family (wife and young kid). 

I had some talks with him about BASE jumping a few years back, and he was around the Twin Falls bridge scene for a bit when I was there and starting to dabble with BASE. He felt quite confident in the parachute, and I eventually came to share his view. The technology is pretty good now, likely far better in terms of consistent functioning than the human cargo under the parachute. I quit BASE jumping simply because I didn't think I could devote enough time at it to have a decent skill level, and because I know myself well enough to know that I fuck up regularly. I can often get away with a little error or two while climbing, kayaking or even flying my glider, but I make too many errors to be a good BASE hucker. With training I could probably develop the right skill set mentally, but I don't have time for that training. I reluctantly walked away from the edge of BASE despite Shane's opinion that it could be done relatively safely. I agree with him that it can be done with relatively safely with good risk management, but not for me. I hear his words today even though he's gone. He'll be missed, he was a good man. He used to always give me shit for tucking my t-shirt in; I'm gonna wear it tucked in a lot more in photos just 'cause he would have seen the photo and sent me a heckling email...

The way I often deal with the loss of somebody is to work on something around the house. I have the Chris Muller Memorial bark garden out front, the Karen McNeill back yard among other projects, and now the Shane McConkey coat rack. It's gonna be sweet, two rows of nice varnished VG fir with some stylie Lee Valley hooks. Hey Shane, you got a coat rack as a memorial, ha ha! Maybe I'll put something like, "World's Greatest Skier," or was it, "Greatest Skier in the World" on it? Shane loved sending himself up, might as well continue the tradition. Now I gotta go varnish it a bit more, might as well make it look good. Shane always made it look good... Unfortunately I didn't quite sand it perfectly, just like I wouldn't have quite got that pack job right every single time. Unless you're Shane you've gotta know your limitations, to mis-quote Clint Eastwood. Shane just never let something like limitations get in the way of a fun day, and that was cool.