Bode: Go Fast, Be Good, Have Fun

Bode: Go Fast, Be Good, Have Fun

by Bode Miller

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“I don’t master the mountain, I master speed.” Coming from Bode Miller, this isn’t boasting, it’s just the way he lives: fast, honest, and wide open. In this candid book, the two-time Olympic medalist and champion skier shares his story, the secret of his success, and his philosophy of life.

Born and raised “off the grid”–without electricity or indoor plumbing–in the cabin built by his father in the woods near Franconia, New Hampshire (pop. 850), Bode is unconventional to the core. The strong values of his simple upbringing, where he and his family had to “invent, grow, or carry in” all the essentials have made Bode unique among today’s top sports stars.
Bode’s approach to life is straightforward: “Get a plan, stick to it, and trust your instincts . . . and almost anything is possible.”

And practically since birth, the iconoclastic Bode has been achieving the impossible and laying down tracks for others to follow. He revolutionized his sport by adopting new and crossover technologies, such as “shape” skis. He drives his tradition-bound European rivals to distraction, skiing and winning by instinct. His outsider status, killer smile, and outspoken yet laid-back persona have earned him a reputation as the Michael Jordan of skiing. Men’s Journal named Bode the second greatest athlete in the world. And in the 2005 season, Bode may have moved up a notch by becoming the first American to win the Overall World Cup Alpine championship in twenty-two years.

In short, he is the kind of person everybody wants to know and hang out with. In a book loaded with insight, good humor, and eye-opening stories about the world of competitive skiing, Bode, as always, holds nothing back.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781588365064
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/18/2005
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Bode Miller was born in 1977 and homeschooled on 450 acres in the woods of northern New Hampshire. A former state high school tennis champion and avid soccer player, he is among a handful of alumni of the Carrabassett Valley Academy (Maine) on the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team. He is one of the world’s top skiers, and his achievements include several wins in World Cup races and two medals at the 2002 Winter Olympic games. He lives in Easton, New Hampshire.

Jack Mcenany has written for The Nation and other publications. He has a master’s degree in writing from Johns Hopkins University.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1 1 Tamarack November 10, 1946 Won $22 on the horses last night (my first win since 1938). Good thing, too. Peg and I were down to $14. Won $3 playing cards. Not bad for an hour’s work. —from my grandfather’s journal M y grandparents met on skis, which in itself isn’t so strange. But I often think about the bit of luck that paired Jack Kenney with Peg Taylor for his first ski lesson on the slopes at Sugar Bowl, California, in the late fall of 1944, and then for life. She was his instructor, and a lesson was what he needed. He was a naval officer on leave from the war in the Pacific; she’d just graduated from UC Berkeley and was the fastest member of the women’s U.S. Ski Team. When she could stay up, that is. She knew going fast had serious consequences, such as falling and crashing, and she could live with that. He’d traveled up from Hunters Point, where his ship, the USS Belleau Wood, had put into port. Peg was a ski racer enjoying life as much as anyone could in the midst of a world war. She wasn’t looking for anything or anyone in particular; she was just taking it slow, planning on nothing but skiing, and finding what little fun she could otherwise. Jack, on the other hand, was desperate for a ski lesson. He had to learn to ski, because after the war, should he survive, he was going back to New England to open a ski lodge. In his mind, there was no greater calling than running a ski lodge—although he’d barely ever been to one and couldn’t ski to save his life. Nonetheless, this was the course he’d charted. It’s hard to say what put this precise vision in Jack’s mind—one too many Bing Crosby movies aboard ship, maybe. But when it was over over there, Jack Kenney would be a ski lodge innkeeper, and there was no talking him out of it. Jack was in a hurry that day on the sunny slopes of Sugar Bowl because his shore leave would be short-lived, lasting only until his air wing was reassigned to another flattop and sent back to the Pacific to fight the Imperial Japanese Navy. A few weeks earlier, the Belleau Wood had been on patrol with the USS Franklin in the Visayan Sea, a small body of water that loops in and around the Philippine Islands. They were doing their jobs, searching the skies for Betties and Zekes, and splashing as many as they could. The world was at war, and Jack was a warrior. If you knew him, that fact alone would underscore the seriousness of those times. On the morning of October 30, 1944, off the coast of Cebu, three Japanese bombers broke through the cloud cover in pursuit of the Franklin. From the flight deck of his ship, Jack watched the Franklin’s antiaircraft guns pop the first bomber out of the sky; it went down off the starboard side. The second came fast out of the sun and crashed onto the deck, killing fifty-six and wounding sixty. The third plane dropped a bomb on the Franklin, caught a shell from the Belleau Wood, and then dived, suicide style, onto the flight deck of my grandfather’s ship. It exploded into a rolling fireball, sliding into rows of planes on the deck, exploding their bombs and fuel, and sending black smoke and billowing red flames high into the air; it burned through the night. Ninety-two of Jack’s shipmates died that day: burned alive, drowned, or both. Many were never found. The survivors worked day and night in enemy waters to extinguish the fires and keep the ship afloat. Its major systems—electricity, navigation, everything—were damaged by the attack. Charred corpses lined what was left of the deck. Jack had to have been deeply affected by this, as anyone would be; his emotions always rode close to the surface, right there where you could see them. He was never good at false faces, or hiding his discontent. On the upside, he was equally incapable of masking his joy or admiration. These must have been horrible days for Jack. The abruptness of war itself probably set him off badly—the way a calm, sunny day in the South Pacific could quickly become a ship on fire and sinking, 20 percent of the crew dead. Jack always liked a challenge, but rolling with that had to be tough. Weeks later, when the Belleau Wood limped into San Francisco for repairs, Jack was eager for that ski lesson. He wasn’t one to ruminate, unless he was depressed. If he was feeling well, he met a problem and immediately set out to solve it. So in his berth, there in the belly of the blackened and wounded Belleau Wood, my grandfather planned the rest of his life. The day he told me about his war experience he was sprawled in his chair. We were watching some war movie on television, and suddenly he spilled the beans. Alzheimer’s had all but taken him by then, and he told the story with such passion that I never doubted him. His journals and the stories he’s told others bear it out, as do scraps of paper noting bombing runs and times, the names of the men he served with. War was the ultimate team sport for those guys, with the added dimension of good and evil. They were on the side of good, and they would prevail. Of that they had no doubt. That sense of power and survival encouraged Jack to create for himself the life of his wildest dreams. His decision-making process was invested almost entirely in planning, so he tended to make the decision itself early on, sometimes within minutes; then came the how-to phase, which was more involved and required lots of writing and sharing of ideas, often with people who weren’t all that interested. When the plan was prepared, written, rewritten, and discussed at length, he knew that the first thing he needed to carry it off was a ski lesson. But not long after his first ski lesson, Jack’s air group was reassigned to the USS Monterey, where they served with Lieutenant Commander Gerry Ford, the ship’s physical fitness instructor. They were all headed back to the Pacific to fight for, among other things, the right of every phys ed teacher to grow up to be president. Jack was a full lieutenant, serving in naval intelligence and attached to a bomber group. He briefed the pilots on their missions, told them where to bomb, how to get there, how to get back, and how much fuel they’d use, given the weather and the wind. It was complicated, especially in the day of the slide rule. Jack was a numbers man for the war effort, all said and done, and that was a little odd because math had never been his game. When Jack graduated high school in 1933, the Great Depression was the new big thing (we got the Internet, they got mass unemployment). So life was one big suck for Jack, and like everyone on the planet (except the filthy rich), Jack had much trepidation about the future. What would he do with himself ? He was a smart kid, a talented writer with an inquisitive mind, a great athlete in tennis and golf, and good at anything he’d ever tried. But his family was broke, and college was expensive. Along came the invisible hand that Jack would believe guided him through life. He was a spiritual person—not religious, but definitely in touch with God on a regular basis. A friend of his family’s, a woman who spent her life in a wheelchair, admired Jack’s sense of humor and his athleticism, especially his tennis, and offered to pay his way through college. This windfall was like hitting the jackpot, but Jack still had a problem. Those were pre-SAT days, of course, and students had to have their grades certified as satisfactory in order to apply to most colleges. Jack’s math grades sucked out loud and, consequently, were uncertified. But so what? Jack could be very persuasive, and he had far more luck with teachers than I ever did. His math teacher agreed to sign off on his grades under one condition: that Jack never take another math course as long as he lived, so as not to “disgrace” his teacher. Seemed like a deal. Jack didn’t like math anyway. I imagine the conversation like this: jack:Sir, I need your opinion on something mathematical. teacher:Little late for that; the grades are in. jack:It’s a statistical question— teacher:Statistics! You can barely say it, never mind understand it. jack:My question is this: If I miss my opportunity to attend college, which is my only opportunity to do anything at all with my life except sell apples on the street corner, what’s the probability that I’ll call you on the phone every day for the rest of your life to remind you of the part you played in mine? So Jack Kenney, the mathematical illiterate, went to Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, graduating four years later, second among the eighty economics students in his class. And that should tell you something about economists. He had a quiet graduation dinner with his parents at the Hanover Inn; they were both proud of him, and impressed by his accomplishments. That’s about all we really know about them. It was tough for Jack to discuss his folks. They’d be gone within a year of his college graduation—his father from cancer, his mother suicide. It was a classical tragedy: the king died, so the queen died of grief. Jack was laid very low by the loss, sparking perhaps the first of many depressions. Luckily, a family friend and physician from Jack’s hometown of Reading, Massachusetts, Swede Oberlander, had just accepted a new job as the campus doctor at the University of New Hampshire. Jack went with him, partly so that Dr. O could keep an eye on him, and partly because Jack had nothing else to do. It was a good respite for Jack, and he got a master of education degree during his two years there. After that, he moved to the North Country and taught history at Berlin High School for a couple years. Berlin was a happy little mill town then. It still is happy, I suppose, but not as happy as when the mills were in business. Jack coached tennis at Berlin High and dreamed of being a writer. All his cognizant life (which ended a decade or so before his physical life), he kept voluminous journals, which he wrote in while taking a bath every night. Life and the universe were discussed most in those pages; otherwise, he filled his journals with sketches and directions for everything from rope tows to artificial ponds to robots that could help disabled athletes practice their tennis. Jack had a busy mind. When Pearl Harbor happened, Jack signed up, and since he had such a certifiable way with numbers, they made him an intelligence officer in charge of calculating how far and fast a bomber should fly from an aircraft carrier before it dropped its payload where and when it was supposed to. And this should tell you something about war. Jack got Peg’s address that day at Sugar Bowl, and wrote her often for the duration of the war. She was interested, maybe infatuated with Jack’s enthusiasm, which was a force of nature. It should also be noted that Jack’s situation was more than mildly seductive for Peg, who wasn’t only a ski bum being courted by an aspiring ski lodge proprietor but also an army brat being romanced by a naval officer off in the Pacific, keeping the world safe for democracy. Jack’s ship was the first to Tokyo Harbor, his captain the first American ashore after the surrender. It was a great day for everyone, except maybe the Japanese. He often said that his military service, his personal battle to survive, was the most affecting and solemn time in his life—but it was the most fun he ever had, too. Every day during the war, just being aboard ship instead of wrapped in a flag at the bottom of the sea was an accomplishment. And foremost in his mind by then were Peg and his ski lodge. Peg and Jack were very different. She was less emotional, less volatile, a solid presence even when she wasn’t there. And she was tough. Very tough. If something bothered her, Peg dealt with it. And she had a reputation for brooding at times—oh yeah, that whole still-waters-run-deep deal. I’m told that back in the ski lodge days, when there was no snow, no guests, no income, and a household full of “help” to feed, Peg could be hard to be around. They were a funny match, Jack and Peg, but perfect as these things go. They were purely a case of opposites glomming on to each other, filling in the gaps in each other’s lives. Jack livened up every room he entered, a funny guy with a kind word for everyone, probably wearing a bad hat. Peg played her cards so close that she couldn’t read them. She was conservative in that way, and bottled her energy for when she needed it, which was often. She was a ski racer for most of the 1940s, won some national races, and missed the Olympic team by two places in 1948. She was reckless, especially for a young woman then. She drove like a bank robber, drank whiskey from the bottle, loved to gamble, and was a kick-ass competitor. No wonder Jack loved her so much. When my mother and uncles were kids, the family took a lot of road trips. All her life Peg thought nothing of climbing into a car and speeding all the way across America for some warm days on the slopes. Once, in a particularly gnarly pass through the Rockies, Jack grew increasingly uncomfortable behind the wheel and, as the landscape grew larger and more distant, he began hyperventilating. He herky-jerked the Vista Cruiser to the shoulder of the road and, after braking, sat frozen to the wheel. He couldn’t go on; it was too high, too unprotected, too narrow. Peg pried him away and slid into the driver’s seat. To the delight of everyone in the backseat, she did a Dukes of Hazzard through the rest of the pass. Kids didn’t have video games back then; they actually needed to drive fast in a car to experience it. That was Peg’s attitude: How are you going to know unless you try? This is not to say that Jack shied away from work and adventure, just that Peg had an extra gene for a challenge. In fact, it was Jack himself who was the biggest challenge of Peg’s life. And she was up to it.

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Bode: Go Fast, Be Good, Have Fun 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Nate-Quinn More than 1 year ago
“If you ain’t fallin you ain’t haulin” In 1977 Bode Miller was born on 450 acres of New Hampshire forest and skiing terrain. His grandfather Jack Kenney and wife Peg created a ski resort they named Tamarack. Being miles from civilization, Bode was homeschooled allowing him to start skiing at a young age. At the age of fifteen, Bode enrolled in the Carrabassett Valley Academy, a Maine prep school that educates nationally ranked skiers. Bode went on to win the giant slalom in 2003, his first World Cup win, making him a highly recognized skier with an all or nothing attitude. In years to come Bode Miller won hundreds of medals including two silvers at the Salt Lake Olympic Games and the overall World Cup championship in 2005. Bode Miller’s philosophy is “If you ain’t fallin you ain’t haulin.” I found this interesting coming from an athlete of such a technical sport such as ski racing. Bode is one of those skiers who would rather go his fastest and crash in the last 10 meters than just finish the race. This mentality kept the book interesting because Bode would constantly tell his coaches he was going to ski the way he wants, getting him kicked off a several junior teams. The “Be Good” and “Have Fun” sections of this book appealed to me the most. I enjoyed these readings the most because Bode explains his life when he is not on the slopes. I have a new respect for Bode Miller after reading. He is involved in his community, and also a family man that loves to play soccer and tennis. The down sides to “Go Fast, Be Good, Have Fun” are within the first fifty pages. These pages are not fun to read, but are essential to understand the family Bode comes from. I could have gone without reading how Bode’s grandpa was promoted in the Navy multiple times. Throughout the book Bode mentions what place he took in every race and how much time he won by, making some sections filled with number instead of words. Although some parts of the book are not as interesting as others, I think it is important to read the whole book to understand each step of Bode’s career and the importance of being born into a family that was secluded from civilization. Anyone who is interested in Bode Miller or just the culture of ski racing should read this book. I learned a lot more about what it takes to become a professional skier as well as who Bode Miller truly is and what he believes in. Every time I go skiing or watch skiing on T.V I understand more about the sport, which is a benefit of reading the book. I would give this book an 8 out of 10 because it is an enjoyable read once Bode starts to talk about his career and what he has learned about life along the way.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Before I read this book I had so many questions about the mysterious, eminent, ski racer Bode Miller. How did he get to the top? How long has he been skiing? What is his attitude towards racing? All of those questions I had were answered in Bode Miller¿s memoir (with assistance from Jack MecEnany), Bode Go Fast, Be Good, Have Fun. The first part of the book spoke of Bode¿s childhood. Bode grew up deep in the woods of New Hampshire, with one light bulb ¿I bet I spent about as much time outside as the average Native American did 300 years ago, and I related to the world on that level.¿ Bode began skiing when he was two years old, at Cannon Mountain in New Hampshire. He was a speed demon at a very early age. Bode then went on to attend CVA (Carrabassett Valley Academy) for high school, which is where my home ski mountain is, Sugarloaf. (His coach at Sugarloaf when he was at CVA, is actually one of my coaches now!) The book talks about all of his experiences there and how he got to the world-class level of skiing that he¿s at right now. Another interesting part of the book that I liked was that Bode was one of the first persons to ski on shaped skis. His skiing style wasn¿t working on his skis, so he pressed George Tormey, a K2 rep, for a shaped-ski prototype where he actually skied on two skinny snowboards. It was a revelation every single world cup racer in the world has shaped skis now, and many amateurs do too! Throughout the book, Bode talks about how he absolutely loves to have fun and he crams as much as humanly possible into his everyday life. He wishes there were more than 24 hours in a day. Bode¿s greatest accomplishment was probably winning the 2005 overall World Cup. This means out of the five events (Slalom, Giant Slalom, Super Giant Slalom, Downhill and the combined), Miller had the most accumulated points out of everybody in the world. When Bode was young, his coaches didn¿t like that he DNF¿D (Did Not Finish) all the time and that he would just go for it, no matter what the circumstances. ¿I¿m a fast skier, not a fancy skier¿perfect form may be beautiful, but in ski racing, winning times translate as the truth.¿ Now of course, with all of his success, coaches have come to be keen on it, and they now call it the ¿Bode Show¿. Bode just hates to ski conservatively. Here is a quote from the book after he messed up a slalom run in the combined: ¿I was being cautious- always a huge mistake. I hated the way I was skiing it was slow and uninspired, purely designed to get me down the hill without mishap.¿ That¿s just Bode¿s attitude - win or crash. Anyways, I definitely recommend this book to all of the ski racers out there who want to see what it takes to get to the World Cup. Bode has a great vocabulary and he is very well spoken. I thought this memoir was pretty funny and very entertaining it answered all of my questions.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love how this book doesn't just focus on Bode and his career. He talks about his grandparents and what it was like growing up a small town boy. He uses humor and way of writing that makes it sound as if he is talking to you. I've laughed at some things hes had to say. If your a ski fan or a Bode fan I would recommend it.