Angie Organ encouraged her son to get active in sports because she felt it would help him gain confidence and become a little more outgoing.
She thought it was important for him to embrace sports because she grew up as a reserved and shy person and believes things could have been better if she had been involved in something that would allow her to grow out of her shell.
Jayson Jean, her 12-year-old son, is one of six alpine skiers from Smokey Mountain in Labrador City representing Northern at the 2018 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games in Deer Lake.
Jean dabbled in a number of sports growing up in Labrador City before his parents Angie Organ and Danny Jean moved to Fermont, Que., 20 minutes outside of Labrador City.
Soccer, baseball, badminton and hockey were some of the things he pursued, but his mom noticed that it wasn’t activities the family could do together and they spent most of the time on the sidelines watching.
“We don’t have to be at him to get ready and he doesn’t mind spending the whole day there,” Angie said Thursday at the Athletes Village in Deer Lake.
The sport has been good to her son. It’s also something that means a lot to the family because they have a daughter, Maya, who is pretty impressive on a snowboard so they found something that keeps them connected beyond the confines of the family home.
“We spend the whole winter at the hill every Saturday and Sunday,” she said. “It’s nice to get out. It keeps the kids active. They get the fresh air. They get to socialize with a bunch of different people.”
Coming from the north one would believe there wasn’t any issues with training this year because of the heavy snowfall that is the norm for Smokey Mountain. Alpine ski teams on the island had a season to forget really, especially with rainstorms washing away any white stuff that fell on various parts of the island where it seemed the ski hills were closed more than they were open.
However, Smokey Mountain coach Peter Clements said snowfall was pretty good like any other year, but the challenge for his athletes this winter was the cold temperatures they had to face.
Almost every weekend, he said, the thermometer dropped to the -30 to -35 range and that isn’t ideal conditions for young athletes to be racing down a hill.
“You can’t get in so many runs on a cold day,” he said.
Alpine skiers were supposed to hit the slopes Thursday at Marble Mountain for the only day of the alpine ski event but heavy rain forced organizers to postpone the races with hopes of better conditions for Friday.
That spelled disappointment for Jean and his teammates because they had been pumped up all week for their time to shine, but they were trying to keep busy checking out other sports and hanging out with friends at the Athletes Village.
“They were antsy going to bed last night,” coach Clements said of the excitement the athletes were feeling leading up to the scheduled race day.
No matter what Mother Nature brings on Friday, Jean won’t be thinking about the challenges of the season. He has his mind set on doing his best and being proud of the fact he’s at the Games, an event that only comes along every four years and not everybody gets a chance to experience first-hand.
“I feel good inside and ready to win,” he said.
He is a confident young man.
He knows he has a knack for speeding down mountains at high speeds, but he tries to remain humble about his ability.
Every athlete at the Games would love to make the medal podium. That’s what motivates them to strive for excellence and keeps them working hard to reach goals.
But, if you don’t win, Jean believes how you react to it is what really matters most.
“If you don’t win, then come back next time and do it,” he said.