Bobsledding – brake or steer? You can’t do both


Bobsledding circa 1910

As the sun sets on the biggest celebration Vancouver’s ever seen my thoughts are returning to the Olympic bobsled competition I watched recently in Whistler.

Run like hell for up to 50 meters, hop in, head down and then, if you’re the guy in back, you’re only role is to brake.  The person whose back you’re nestled into steers.  At up to 118 mph or 180 km/h.

Bobsledding was invented in the late 1800’s when the owner of a resort in San Moritz, Switzerland was trying to find things for his wealthy guests to do. Enter the rejigged delivery sled et voila bobsled. Only problem was the bobsledders were having too much fun sliding down the village alleys and lanes …. and smashing into folks. Enter the dramatic reason to build a dedicated course.

From my icy perch at Whistler I watched the sleds roar around the track – you could hear them come thundering down from some distance away. Occasionally sleds tipped over and still kept swallowing up the track at an alarmingly fast rate.

I wondered what it must be like to be the guy in the back. The guy who puts on the brake. Who says ‘whoa’. Who’s role is to stop the sled, or slow it down. And all of this without being able to see.

How many of us have our heads down and are focused on the brake? As in ‘Nope, can’t do that’. ‘That won’t work’. ‘We tried that before it crashed and burned’.

How many of us give up our role of steering, of having control over the direction of our lives? It’s easier to follow the pack’s course. Less risky. Less chance of failure. Less chance of sticking out like a sore thumb.

I say the stuck out thumb is the one that gets the ride.

How can you stick out your thumb, steer your own course and leave the braking to someone else?


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One Response to “Bobsledding – brake or steer? You can’t do both”

  1. Change Management Says:
    March 17th, 2010 at 12:06 am

    Wow! Thank you! I always wanted to write in my site something like that. Can I take part of your post to my blog?

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