Saturday, August 20, 2005
There comes a time in life when we all have to stop and ask ourselves what we are willing to give up to get what we want.
For some, it will mean passing up a great job to stay in a place they love. For others, it might mean leaving a place they love to be with someone special.
For Tyler Jewell, it meant giving up his home and moving to the mountains of Colorado to live in a 9-by-7-foot tent in a cow pasture near Steamboat Springs.
He gave up TV, electricity and other modern conveniences that we all take for granted.
He keeps everything he owns in his car, which also acts as a storm shelter on rainy nights and a kitchen when he needs to cook.
And he also uses it for transportation.
Some might look at Jewell's adventure and think that he is a ski bum -- simply trying to get by without working.
But after spending a few minutes with Jewell in the place he calls home, I realized that's not the case.
He's a smart guy who graduated from Boston College. He has worked all kinds of odd jobs to support his snowboarding habit during the years.
He sold sausages at a carnival, has poured concrete and worked several sports-marketing jobs.
But he also discovered that the level of training required to make it to the Olympics makes it almost impossible to hold a 9 to 5 job.
This summer, he had to ask himself what he was willing to do for a shot at Olympics glory.
The answer was to cut any unneeded spending.
So instead of spending $750 a month on rent, Jewell spent $29 on a four-person tent.
Instead of going to the grocery store to buy food, he started eating at the hospital, where he says the food is tasty, inexpensive and nutritious.
Jewell prefers to put the money he gets from sponsors, such as Welch's, in the bank and save it for winter, when he will use it for coaching, travel, entry fees and equipment.
Despite his lack of traditional housing, Jewell is one of the top Alpine snowboarders in the country and has a realistic chance of making it to Italy for the Olympics in February.
The last thing Jewell wants is for people to feel sorry for him -- it's his choice to live the way he does, and he thinks it will make him a better person in the end.
Jewell already asked himself what he was willing to give up to get what he wants out of life.
For him, spending a few summer nights -- he is hoping to get a place to stay when it gets colder -- is a small price to pay to pursue his Olympics dream.
If I was the guy who got to invite athletes to the Olympics, Jewell would be at the top of my list.
Forget the results, Jewell already has displayed the type of spirit for which Olympians are known.