By Sarah Schrock

I have an earworm. I know that sounds awful, like some tropical parasite. But really, it’s just a song stuck in my “song box” — a term my high school English teacher used to describe the part of your memory known as musical memory.

Researchers are not sure why musical memory is so strong, but earworms happen to almost everyone. Interestingly, musical memory doesn’t get distorted like other types of memories — it is very accurate. It’s linked to repetition and thus it’s the way we learned the alphabet, body parts, the continents in pre-school. But teaching through song drops out early on in our schooling, and today there’s even less emphasis on memorizing facts in school, leaving a gap in memory training in our minds that some scientists think could be detrimental to our memory.

What does this all have to do with Twisp? I can’t remember.

Saturday night at The Merc, a full house watched the No Man’s Land film festival, an adventure series promoting women in extreme sports. It is always alluring to see what drives individuals to their edge. Some of the women were overcoming physical odds like blindness or combatting personal failures. Others just have an innate drive to push their physical and mental limits, thriving on pure grit.

Instead of feeling inspired, I left with an equivocal feeling mixed with a hint of insecurity — the opposite of what the festival is supposed to do. First, as inspiring as they were, one must be reminded that extreme physical pursuits are not for everyone, that’s why they are extreme. It made me wonder about our culture’s obsession with expeditions, personal bests and first pursuits — always going higher, farther, faster, harder. Then I questioned if I should be more ambitious, or if I wasted my 20s and 30s not getting extreme enough. To give credit where credit is due, they did showcase older athletes who by any measure were not so much extreme, as they were extremely endearing.

I am no stranger to pushing my limits. I understand the gratification in the push. I like wild, extreme places. But the real challenge in most of our lives is not reaching the summit, it’s surviving the mundane. Most of life is full of ordinary activities, like sweeping floors, filling up with gas, managing software updates. Perhaps that is what many of these women are rejecting — an ordinary life.

But I think many adventure films miss an important message. Pushing your physical strength, exploring wild places and going further should be part of a balancing act, a paring of the ordinary with the extraordinary. Otherwise, they are just extreme athletes, doing extreme things, in extreme places — and they become esoteric.

If you need your own extreme challenge and escape from the mundane, head up to the Loup next Saturday (March 3) for the Slopestyle contest, a freestyle ski and snowboard event in the terrain park. You can register ahead of time for $15 by filling out a registration/waiver form online and mailing it in before the date or in person before Saturday. Otherwise, registration day-of is $20 and goes until 10 a.m. Competition begins at 10:30 a.m. If that’s not your fancy, try the luge, or come up and watch!

The Winthrop Wolverines played in their first home ice hockey tournament ever this weekend, finishing third in their division after winning 2-1 in a tie-breaker. Malloch DeSalvo, goalie, came home with the MVP puck, a much-deserved honor after a tense shoot-out against the Wentachee Jr. Wild. I am not sure who had more fun, the kids or the parents who formed an ad hoc cowbell percussions ensemble and took cheering to a new level. Despite the rhythmic pulse of the cowbells, my earworm persisted.

There’s still next weekend to clear my song box as the rink hosts more out-of-town teams for a scrimmage against our Wolverines. Come out and support the kids, and bring your own noise maker. It’s free and full of excitement. Nothing mundane about it.


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