Friday, October 2, 2009

Chicago 2009

The olympic vote is today and they have a countdown clock on the Tribune website. Sure, it's a big deal, but dare I say it, I don't really care that much. Seems to me the whole process is a bunch of schmoozing instead of actually selecting the best city, but whatever. I do, however, absolutely love the Olympics. I always cry at least once during the coverage. They get me with the music and some story about what someone overcame to get to the Games. I remember a story about a swimmer in 2000 from some small African country who swam the 100 free in something like 1:45. He had never seen a pool as long as 50m, never dove off the block, never done a flip turn, the list goes on. However, he gave 100% to finish that 100m free as quickly as possible, I was crying when he did.

******UPDATE as I write this, Chicago did not even make it through the first round of voting, guess there was not enough schmoozing from Chicago reps.******

In 1992 it was the story of Derek Redmond in the 200m at the track. He pulled his hamstring and was determined to finish. His father jumped onto the track, around security guards to help his son the finish line, more tears from me.

Those stories illustrate something to me---drive, the ability to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Is that innate or is it learned? Probably a bit of both but I have to think that some people have it and some people don't. Kind of separates the players from the wannabes. Some people will sacrifice everything for a dream, an athletic goal and others will give a little of themselves but not everything, something along the way will stop them and they won't go far enough to keep that dream alive.

The other day we were standing around before practice discussing one of the swimmer's scabs and infection from Poison Ivy. As a side note---my male team members went on a camping trip and several of them came back with poison ivy with one having it in a place no one would ever want to have it (hint: they did not take toilet paper). We were discussing the gauze getting stuck on the wounds and ripping the scabs off when I remembered something that happened to me in 5th grade. I was going to race Samika Brown across the playground. She was FAST but I was up to the challenge, bring it, I'll step up to the plate. So the race began across the cement playground. As we neared the finish line it was neck and neck. In an effort to win the race I figured that the only way to win the race was to dive for the finish causing me to skid across the ground. Can you say road rash! All up and down the side of my body. I don't know who won but I was going to try my hardest to be first. I ended up with gauze taped up and down one side of my body. That night, my dad had to take it off and it was stuck. I remember saying 1, 2, 3 and he just ripped it off in one smooth motion, OUCH! One of my swimmers, Marc, looked at me and said "sometimes I really don't get what goes on in your mind." I told him I wanted to win the race and damn the consequences. I am certainly not saying that I have "it" but I'll do a lot for my dreams, always have, and I don't know if my parents taught me that or if I just had that motivation on my own.

In 6th grade I was doing gymnastics and swimming. I remember telling my parents that I thought I needed to concentrate on one sport if I wanted to become the best. I decided that it would have to swimming. I reasoned that my body type was just not going to led itself well to excelling in gymnastics. I thought I was going to be to tall since my mom is 5'7" and my dad is 6'1". And so began my quest to become an Olympic swimmer. I was practicing 3 times a week with the Albion Aquacats but I thought that was not enough. I began writing my own workouts three days a week and completing them on my own at the Albion College pool.

When I was a junior in high school I failed to make the National Honor Society. I had good grades and I was excelling in swimming but was not selected. When I asked why I was told that I did not have enough "activities" to qualify. I remember saying "why would I do several activities moderately well instead of one activity exceptionally well?" I thought it was stupid and I still do. If I do something I am going to give it 100% instead of spreading out mediocrity into several different areas. Do it well or don't do it at all.

No olympics for Chicago. I was hoping we could at least get a new pool out of it but I guess not. We'll just keep chasing dreams in our older 50m pool, it works pretty well. Hopefully I can help our team members dream big and have the motivation to do anything to achieve their goals.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Emily! Great the story of you racing the girl in 5th grade! I read a book recently by Geoff Colvin called, "Talent is Overrated, What Really Separates World Class Performers from Everyone Else." Some of it is dry, but I really enjoyed it...Hope you are well and enjoyed (enjoying) your R&R.