Raise your hand if you’ve turned into a snarling, drooling, foaming at the mouth addict to the Summer 2012 Olympics taking place in London at this exact moment in time?
No one? Anyone? Are you sure?
No, my hand isn’t in the air, either.
BUT…I have become a total Olympics Junkie since the opening ceremony took place last Friday evening. And, yes, I didn’t capitalize the word ‘junkie.’ It’s only fair I pay my dues to what I have become and wear it like a patch on my sleeve with pride.
One of my friends commented the other day about how watching the Olympics makes them feel more patriotic than any other time of their lives. Watching members of our country compete against our rival countries (like those dang French in the swimming competitions who knocked my beloved Ryan Lochte out of medaling yesterday and pushing him into 4th place…just shy of a medal. Dang you, Frenchies!!), it really does lift something in the spirit.
As I watched the women’s gymnastics team achieve gold for the first time since the Magnificent Seven, I felt a different sort of pang resonate through my chest. It was a pang of longing.
I miss competing. Plain and simple. I miss the rush of adrenaline that let me know something exciting was about to happen, and the result totally rested on my shoulders.
At that point, I could only hope I’d trained long enough and hard enough to face my opponent. Tennis, once again, pops into my mind. That sport, for me, will always hold a special place in my heart. My high school was small, and barely had a sports team of any kind. Somehow, we managed to amass enough students every year. Well, upon my entering high school, I knew I wanted to play basketball. Tennis, on the other hand, was something my cousin convinced me to try out the summer before I entered official high school status. It didn’t hurt that my sister also played on the team for a few years prior to my entry into high school, so naturally, I wanted to follow in her footsteps (but discreetly. No one likes to admit they did something because their sister made it look cool!)
A long story short, I was hooked after my first summer lesson. So when “try-outs” for the team came up later in the summer, I got a call from the coach asking if I wanted to see what a couple of practices would be like, and make my decision to be on the team from there.
You should know up front that there as no C-Team or JV squad for this tennis team. When you joined the team, you were playing at the varsity level immediately, and for someone who had never touched a racquet prior to that summer lesson, it was slightly terrifying.
Even more terrifying? Being placed at 3rd singles for my first match ever. I was playing opponents who had been playing for 5+ years, and literally would kill me if I got in the way of the ball without my racquet to deflect its speeding orb-like self.
I won’t lie. It sucked at the time. I knew I wasn’t the best of players, but I also knew I was better than what my scores reflected. I considered it a victory when my side of the score cards shined with a game or two in my favor, and not big fat zeros. 6-0, 6-0. I never hated a score total so much in my life.
Like I said, it sucked at the time. But I was too young and dumb to acknowledge the training and skill sets I was picking up right away from playing opponents way beyond my skill set. As I grew older with the sport and my own personal skills began to expand, the tides were turning. I was suddenly that player other teams hated to play. My years of being pounded into the tennis pavement paid off. I became one of the best players in the conference. It took a lot of patience, a lot of practice, and a lot of beatings to reach the skill set I eventually entered the season with my senior and final year of high school. Now, to say I was undefeated that season would be a total lie. I was beaten a handful of times, but the beautiful part is that it wasn’t by complete shut-out.
I made myself a promise when I advanced to the 2nd singles position: If I was bound to lose, I would win at least 2 games every set and not go down with a shut-out. It kept me swinging, that’s for sure. When I assumed the 1st singles position, it became my goal to shut out players the way I had been shut-out all those years ago.
You know what? I achieved that goal a number of times. My time had come, and I wasn’t about to forget it.
“It’s straight from the horse’s mouth.Not that I’m saying I’m a horse.”
We only like to tell it how it is, don’t we, Victoria Beckham, the erstwhile “Posh Spice”. She may have been talking about her autobiography with those words, and I guess in a way, so am I. Tennis is a part of my life, so consider this a fleeting story in a long, long, not-even-close-to-being-completed autobiography about, well…me!
So, how does this tie in with the Olympics?
Like previously stated, I miss the competition. I miss the mental preparation needed prior to the event. Seeing the athletes sitting and watching/cheering on their teammates with their ear buds tucked safely in their ears…I used to do that. I needed ten minutes of “me” time before stepping out on the court. I miss the routine. I miss the physical and mental discipline.
I need to find myself an adult sports team. Now that I have a Big Girl Job and everything, I have my evenings to train, and a fighting spirit that just don’t quit. I’m always looking to prove myself. Maybe I could be on the national tennis circuit yet.
I think it’s okay for me to hold on to that longing, the want to be a part of a team again, the want to be disciplined enough to take the reins on my own but also have a bigger picture in mind. SO…with that in mind, I realize it’s been awhile, but here’s my latest installment of ‘Hey, It’s Okay’s”
Hey, It’s Okay…
… If all your future baby names come from celebs. Cate? Shia? Adorable, right?
… To know what only four out of the 12 keys on your key chain actually go to.
… To still be forwarding people that ridiculous “Talking Twin Babies” YouTube video. Funny on the first or the dozenth viewing.
… To pretend you’re getting in shape for your wedding even when there’s no ring on your finger. Really, whatever motivates you.
… To make everyone else turn around, walk 10 paces and sing cheesy Bon Jovi songs while you attempt to pee in the woods.
… If one hot dog is pretty much never enough.
… To ask him to kick in for your birth control pills. More than OK!
… To look up, realize you and your significant other are both on your phones and totally feel like those people.
… Not to have the foggiest idea how to talk to a three-year-old.
We still have a lot of summer left ahead of us, and I intend to fully grasp each day with a new fervor. It’s amazing how knowing I have a new job starting in a few weeks has totally changed my perspective on things. I go to and leave work totally smiling, and it’s incredible.
One nice thing? Soon, I’ll be buying myself a new laptop, so when I get home from work, pop a beer and snack a little bit, I can sit down on my porch, open my computer, and blog away, be done in like 1.5 hours, and still have time left in the evening to go out and do a few things yet.
How nice will that be?
Until then, I’m glued to this schedule and to my TV. Every glimpse I can have of Ryan Lochte these days, I’m taking it. Damn, how someone can look so good in a swim cap and swimming trunks is beyond me.
Mr. Lochte, you keep doing what you’re doing, and I’ll keep watching and cheering from my living room. You’ve got a fan in me, sir. (And half the country’s female population, I’m sure.)
But they don’t really count 😉