A 10-foot, turquoise nylon kite lay on the beach in front of me, the frequent gusts of wind causing it to hover slightly over the sand. A tangle of red, white and blue lines extended from the sides of the kite and attached in some complicated way to the short bar I now held in my hands. The conditions were perfect, or at least that is what Jesse told me. I looked out at an ocean of advancing white caps that dotted the clear, blue water, the palms swayed on the beach around me and grains of sand danced about. Nothing was left untouched by the ripping wind.
I had never kiteboarded before. Until now, the extent of my knowledge about the sport was limited to a simple awareness of the colorful kites that always dotted the sky around Kite Beach. But now I was at that beach, I was harnessed to one of those kites and, after about three minutes of instruction, I was heading into the ocean, into the domain of the powerful trade winds.
As I backed into the water, Jesse stayed on the beach to launch the kite with a devious grin on his face. At least, that is how I interpreted it. I was there because of Jesse. He was a world champion kiter, and I had been assigned by my editor to write a story on him. I was supposed to be watching him do his thing, not attempting it myself!
But as his yelled instructions floated to me on the wind just as the kite reached its highest point 60 feet above me in the sky, I went for it anyway.
I have never felt more powerful than I did when I was strapped to that kite. I harnessed the insane force of the wind using that small bar I was gripping so tightly to. All at once, it would rip me from the water, sending me speeding over the surface then, when I pulled too hard, it would yank my whole body out, flying me through the air and slamming me back down like a rag doll.
But before the adulation of triumph, there was trepidation. While I was being strapped to a kite on the beach, I felt unsure of my abilities. Sure, I had been to the beach millions of times, even flown a kite once or twice, but I had never kiteboarded in my life. The experience was new, foreign, intimidating and potentially dangerous. It would not have been crazy for me to pass and just stick to a conventional interview. But I did not do that. I trusted my basic abilities and in Jesse’s direction and took a risk.
The theme of the Spring 2014 issue of The Point is “Don’t hold back.” Last semester, our stories focused on a more personal and individual level. They identified areas and issues that we need to work through on our own, going deeper into who we are as people. This issue picks up where that left off and takes us to the next step. Now that we have worked on ourselves, it is time for us to go out and affect the world around us. It is time to really interact with, experience and maybe even change the place we live. It is time to plug in, dig deep, make connections and bring transformation.
We can only focus on ourselves for so long before we simply become stagnant, frozen and ineffectual. In these pages, we want you to consider the challenges each story comes with and to face them head-on, full-force, all-out.
Don’t hold back when it comes to the people you choose to interact with, the things you choose to experience and appreciate. Don’t limit yourself to a particular view, place or mission field because of tradition, ease or comfort. Consider the effect your lifestyle has on the world around you and how the words you speak represent meanings that are much deeper than the syllables that make them. Expand your horizons to give your passions and dreams a purpose in order to make them realities.
If this sounds like a locker room pep talk, it is because this is meant to inspire (or because I just watched “Remember the Titans”). Run onto the field prepared for the competition and sure of the victory. We have been training, conditioning and practicing for this moment, now we have to act on all of that and actually do.
Harness the wind, charge the field and don’t hold anything back.