Say "Hit it!" one more time! Getting up after the fall

Champions aren't people who never fall, they are people who continue to get up time and time again! Photo: Photo: In His Wakes

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS, Fla., April 2, 2012 — “Hit it!” These two little words entered my vocabulary in July of 1974, when as a four year old child, I found myself floating in the waters of the Pamlico River in Bath, North Carolina, with water skis on my feet and a rope in my hands. I had just experienced being pulled up and down the shoreline in the shallow water, now it was time for me to make the decision to follow the boat out into the deep.

To go, or not to go, that was the question.

To a four year old child, the choice seemed simple … either remain floating in the water or give the boat the command to “Hit it!” and zip across it! So, with every bit of gusto I had in my little lungs, I gave the command to the boat driver and off I went, out of the water and off on an adventure that would eventually take me all over the world and open doors that I could have never imagined.

As I look back over my career, I can say without a doubt that my decision to say “Hit it!” over and over again is one of the key factors in the level of victory I experienced on the water. It was the difference between one whirl around the river and standing on the top of the podium as a world champion!

In 1974, saying “Hit it!” really wasn’t that difficult. I had perfect conditions, a body full of vigor and strength, a family lining the banks to cheer me on, and little expectations on my performance. But through the years, saying those two little words became a bit harder to say. The conditions weren’t always perfect; the people standing beside me on the dock weren’t always wishing me well; and my body was often screaming in pain.

“Hit it!” wasn’t always about going out and having a good time. Nor was it always void of fear, doubt, and expectations. Sometimes I just didn’t feel like skiing, emotionally or physically. Sometimes I simply wanted to do something else. Sometimes I grew tired of wrestling powerful emotions that stole every bit of joy out of the experience. Sometimes I just wanted to yell “I quit it!” rather than “Hit it!”

But I didn’t. Why? It’s simple. I wanted victory and I knew victory would only come if I was willing to lay aside my feelings, emotions, and expectations and say “Hit it!” time and time again.

I’ve learned this same concept holds true in every aspect of life. Victory only comes when we are willing to “get off the dock”, that place of comfort, and say “Hit it!” despite our feelings, our pain, and our circumstances.  Making the decision to give that command won’t always be easy. I don’t care who you are or what you do, every day will present it’s own set of challenges, challenges that can overwhelm us with emotions making it difficult to even imagine ourselves taking the first step out onto the “water”. Sometimes we may even be tempted to say “I quit it!” in life.

But just as in skiing, if we can come to a place where we are willing to say “Hit it!” above all the emotions that flood our minds and above all the physical pain that may ravage our body, victory will come. No, it won’t always come easily or quickly. It may even bring a little bit of pain with it. But just like in my skiing career, as we persevere and refuse to give up, as we continue to say “Hit it!” over and over again, victory will come.

And boy is the journey worth it!

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Kristi Overton-Johnson


As a professional water skier for over 20 years and the World Record Holder in women’s slalom from 1992-2010, Kristi Overton Johnson has taken to the waters of the world with passion and perseverance. Kristi began her waterskiing career at the age of 4 and turned professional at 13. For 15 years, Kristi dominated women’s slalom, accumulating 80 professional wins and capturing more number one world rankings than any other female skier in history.
Before retiring from professional sports, Kristi founded a non-profit water sports ministry In His Wakes. Since its inception, In His Wakes has touched the lives of over 10,000 at-risk youth across the nation and internationally. This unique ministry brings hope, healing and encouragement through the avenue of water sports and through the message of God's love.
For years, Kristi has travelled nationally and internationally as a faith-based motivational speaker encouraging people through her life experiences as an athlete, wife, mother and ministry leader. Kristi also ministers through song and through her gift as a writer. In Running the Course, her first book, she wrote about her experiences as a top professional athlete and how through faith she found purpose for her life. 
Although Kristi is committed to helping others achieve their God-given destinies, she realizes that her first priority is her family. Kristi has been married to best friend Tim Johnson since 1994. Tim and Kristi have three children, the youngest of which were both adopted from Russia in 2004. They reside in North Florida where they raise their family and serve their community through Kristi Overton Johnson Ministries

Contact Kristi Overton-Johnson


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