Marion Haerty – « My escape »
Since it’s that time of year, I’ll allow myself: certain Christmas gifts are worth more than others.
That year, an aunt gave me a magazine called Snowsurf.
I know, said like that, it’s not too sexy. But still. I flicked through it and saw girls living off their sport and travelling the world. It looked fascinating.
At that time, my big brother used to snowboard a bit on Sundays and if you’re wondering what my 10 years old self looked like, close your eyes and imagine me listening to Sk8ter boy by Avril Lavigne, with my board and my friends.
Looks cool right? Well I was quite undisciplined.
That deserves a few explanations. And without all that, I probably wouldn’t have been a double snowboard freeride world champion.
My ID says I was born in Colmar. That’s almost true. The truth is, after I was born, my family move a lot. I lived in the North for 6 years before ending up in Grenoble at the end of the 90’s. I was 6 or 7 years old. It’s my second birth place.
The place of the new family adventure too. After having worked a long time for a packaging company, my father used that fresh beginning to start his own company. An odyssey joined by my mother as well as my big sister and my big brother. An expedition which happened without me because, as the last in the family, I lived far from these concerns, although it was ever present at diner amongst the potatoes and the salt and was quickly becoming a source of anxiety.
That’s how snowboard entered my life. Imitating my big brother but also something personal, which allowed me to progress and develop myself alone.
To tell you the truth, my family never quite understood what I was doing. They knew I left to participate in competitions, that I got up at 5 in the morning on Saturday to get there and that I came back on Sunday evening to do my homework… when I did do it, I’ll get back to that.
In truth, I think they only grasped the importance of that when I became world champion in 2017. But I can’t blame them, they had other things to do.
Not long after the creation of the family business, everything got complicated. In Grenoble, we switched houses 4 times, we sold then rented, because my parents ran into countless problems because of the family business. We had it all: judicial receivership, filing for insolvency. For the kid that I was, seeing the bailiffs at home wasn’t the most agreeable thing.
I really needed a turf to express myself. A place far from the tension at home. They couldn’t do anything about it but my parents didn’t really take care of me because they were busy trying to save their company. I went from being the little favorite to the one they didn’t ask about at diner because they were busy talking about… you know what.
So to exist, I went through an adolescent crisis. In primary school, I was well behaved in my little village. Then everything degraded when I went to high school at le Chamandier in Gières. Really, it was tough. I found people mean, I didn’t feel good in my shoes.
My first two years of high school were terrible. I started to rebel to get accepted in some groups. I smoked cigarettes, talked back to teachers, skipped classes. Pardon my French, but I became a little bitch.
I remember the day I really broke down. A technology teacher gave me a zero because we were doing some welding, something serious and I was just mucking about. I got angry, left the classroom to go wander in the streets of Grenoble before I went to hide at a friend’s house. Obviously, during that time, the school had called my mother to tell her I had left and they couldn’t find me. The getaway ended at 9p.m, when my friend’s mom entered the room to find a kid who didn’t belong there. She notified my mother who came to get me the next day before not talking to me for two or three weeks.
It was at that time I think, that I realized I had gone too far. It was also then that I met my first coach at the club in Chamrousse.
Only set-back: I couldn’t join the team directly because my parents had asked me to improve considerably my school grades in order consider anything. The new Marion was born.
The years that followed were easier to live through from a personal standpoint. The high school years in Grésivaudan allowed me to have a healthier entourage. I met some wonderful people who are still my best friends to this day and teachers who, knowing my love for snowboard and competition, did their best so I could succeed.
At home however, it wasn’t going much better. My passion took up a lot of space and opened some doors for me which I couldn’t have dreamt of, but I was mainly structured by the fact that no one had helped me. The hardships my parents went through, in the end, allowed me to become the woman I am today.
And too bad that as I was starting to get good grades, I still couldn’t join the special sports and study school because my parents couldn’t afford it.
Because of that, I learned to cope on my own.
At 14 years old, I was baby-sitting to make some money on the side. Yes, I know, I did stupid things but rest assured, I wasn’t mean.
Then I made French fries at Quick and stuck advertisement posters in the toilets of restaurants and nightclubs. Sincerely, I think that was the worst. But I was only thinking that with this, in a few months, I’d be back on a board and it would be cool.
I was a waitress too and a hostess at a Wakepark center.
A small part-time job agency all to myself.
I took my revenge over school too. When I started travelling thanks to snowboarding, I realized how important it was to get a degree. When I got to high school, they offered me a BEP. I refused. I did one of my school years twice. The result: I have a BAC degree + 5 years in commerce and business.
In the end, I feel lucky to have lived through that. Really, I’m happy. If everything had been simpler, I would have never tried to spend so much energy to accomplish my goals.
I dreamed to become snowboard champion. I knew I had it in my legs and my head.
And I lived all that with even more luck and happiness when I compare it to my everyday life. Even if at times I felt almost guilty, in the end I just wanted to win for my parents and it hurt me to see them go through so much hardships although they had worked all their lives.
Today, I thank them.
I thank the magazine I had under the Christmas tree.
And I also thank Avril Lavigne. One never knows. If she reads this text.