Meghan McCarthy McPhaul
    Writings from a Full Life
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Memory Lane

      I attended my 25th high school reunion last weekend. Because my parents moved away about 20 years ago, I rarely have a reason to visit my first hometown. And because I wasn’t in any particular rush when I first arrived in town, I spent a bit of time driving around to once-familiar haunts.

As I cruised the streets where I spent my first 18 years, I found memories around every corner.

Although my first scheduled stop was the elementary school where I attended kindergarten through 5th grades, I drove past the Route 9 exit that would have brought me most directly there, continuing instead for another mile or two so I could drive past the house where I grew up, a pretty 1720 Cape with dormered windows and enough memories to fill an entire book case. READ MORE

                  Soccer Lessons

      Remember that feeling, I told my daughter Saturday afternoon. The one of elation that came after you buried the shot and were mobbed by happy, screeching teammates. Remember that one as much as the other one: the sad disappointment of landing on the wrong side of a hard loss. Both are important.

The first time I ended up in a dog pile of happy, screeching teammates I was a freshman in college, and my soccer team had beaten a tough rival. I don’t remember the import of that game, but I’ll always remember that feeling of pure, adrenaline-fueled joy and the camaraderie that comes with being part of a team celebrating in a grass-stained, sweaty heap. That was the same season we lost to another close rival on penalty kicks. Our last shooter was our senior captain – a four-time all-American and steady as they come – and she launched the ball well over the cross-bar, sending our hopes of defending the national title with it.

You win as a team, you lose as a team. And doing either by penalty kicks is a pretty awful way to end a game. But it’s a lot less awful when you win. It took me until college to learn that lesson. Our girls, mostly aged 10 and 11, learned it during Saturday’s annual Halloween Cup after a series of five games where they dominated play – but still ended up without the coveted candy-filled trophy.

We tell our kids – in sports and school and friendships and life – to give it their all, do their best, try their hardest, and good things will come. But sometimes you can do all that and still end up on the losing end. Sometimes you don’t make the team. Sometimes the best team doesn’t win. As country music icon Mary Chapin Carpenter put it in a song: sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug. READ MORE

Meghan McCarthy McPhaul is an award winning author and journalist. She lives in northern New Hampshire, where she works as a freelance writer, penning magazine and newspaper articles, as well as copy for newsletters, press releases, Web sites and Blogs.

Her Close to Home column appears twice a month in the Littleton Record newspaper, and she writes a weekly Winter Notes column for the Union Leader. Her work has also been published in Powder, Northern Woodlands, Forest Notes, Snow East, AAA's Northern New England Journey, and several local and regional publications, as well as two anthologies of place-based writing.

She has been honored by the New England Press Association for excellence in spot news coverage and feature writing and by the International Skiing History Association for her book A History of Cannon Mountain: Trails, Tales and Skiing Legends. 

Meghan is currently working on a collection of essays.

Winner of the 2011 Skade Award from the International Skiing History Association!

What people are saying about

Trails, Tales and Skiing Legends:

"The author's talent in writing the oft-neglected biographies of Cannon's pioneer skiers and d
evelopers in such delightful detail is commended and certainly the reader's good fortune."

"A nifty little book..."

"McPhaul ... gracefully and compassionately ... adds much to our understanding of Cannon Mountain and the forces and people that tried to tame it."

"...a really superb, well-done book. A History of Cannon Mountain does a remarkable job of conveying the spirit, atmosphere, and joy of ... Cannon Mountain."

This is the first comprehensive history written about Cannon Mountain, one of the oldest ski areas in the United States and a cradle of American ski history.
To learn more about the book or purchase a copy,
please visit the
Cannon Mountain page.

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