​Hurry up and wait!

Posted by Timothy Ziegler on Jul 8th 2021

​Hurry up and wait!

For me, one of the greatest things I’ve learned throughout my years as a Nordic combined

athlete that is applicable to my everyday life is the idea of “hurry up and wait.” To be able to

hurry up and wait is something that just about every ski jumper is familiar with, thanks to

variables like wind and snow conditions that have the power to render ski jumping unsafe in a

flash. If the call is made to hold jumpers for any reason, it is expected that they stay ready to go

at any point once the conditions lighten up enough to be safe again. Sometimes these holds are

for a matter of minutes and sometimes they can mean the end of the competition, but since no

one knows for sure what nature will do, it’s expected that the jumpers stay warm, stretched

and mentally prepared to pick up the competition again at any time.

One of the best examples of hurry up and wait that I have experienced was at the 2018

USA Nordic Junior Championships in Anchorage, AK. During one of the first competition days,

we went through our warm-up routines and got our suits, boots, and helmets on, only to be

held in the chalet due to high winds and heavy snow that wouldn’t have been safe to jump in.

Sixty or so athletes changing into jumping suits while being crammed into a small chalet with all

of the spectators is already enough for most people to deal with, and now we all had to wait in

that confined space. The delay was extended. After an hour many people were starting to get

perturbed because they could feel their muscles cooling down and knew they would have to re-

stretch at a moment’s notice, or because their mind which had been in competition go-mode

had switched back to normal.

An hour delay. Then another hour delay. Then a two-hour hold to see whether the

blizzard would subside and the powder on the hill could be tamed. After about four hours of

waiting, an announcement was made: the wind was too strong for jumping today, and the

Nordic combined athletes would pack up their jumping stuff, and head straight to Kincaid to ski

the individual Nordic combined race that had originally been scheduled for the next day. Yes,

you read that right. After all of us having to be ready to jump at the drop of a hat for four hours,

those of us who skied Nordic combined now had to switch gears completely and get ready to

do a race that no one had been prepared to do until the next day. Like it or not though, we had

to do it because that’s what the race officials said. So we drove across town to the ski trails and

poured our hearts into the other half of our sport.

The idea of hurry up and wait is applicable to everyday life more than you would think. If

you’re stuck in an airport for 7 hours (as I was on the way to that event in Alaska) and you

eventually realize that you’re going to miss all of your connecting flights, you can take a deep

breath and figure out how to chill out while you’re waiting. It’s not going to help to get

animated or anxious. The plane won’t leave before it’s ready. For any situation where you have

to wait longer than you thought you were going to, it’s good to be able to go with the flow,

calm yourself down while also being “on” and ready to go at any point. As the saying goes,

“Patience is a virtue.” When you are able to be patient, yet ready switch and do something else

at a moment’s notice, you can make situations that may be stressful for others much more

manageable for yourself. This flexibility ends up helping one stay not only limber but also