Promising yourself that you won't write anything unless you have something to say is all well and good, in theory. It also is in direct conflict with my other rule: You will write at least once a week. I would like to believe that my life isn't that boring. I should be able to find something worthy to touch base on.
The Olympics are on right now. My girls are watching beach volleyball. A couple of nights ago, the women's gymnastics team performed feats of agility that were truly mind boggling. There is something that everyone seems to forget: Training for that level of competition is painful.
As a teen, I was a member of our high school gymnastics team. Thrilling. Awesome. Confidence raising. Those are the words I'd use to describe it. I also remember the salty sting of the chalk as the blisters on my hands tear open. There were weeks when I couldn't even hold a fork to feed myself. I dutifully shaved my calloused hands, but most of the time the results were raw craters across my palms. My hands looked like I'd put them in a meat grinder, which coincidentally was our nickname for the horizontal bar. A concerned teacher noticed I was having trouble writing one day and asked what was wrong. Holding up my hands was usually all I had to do.
The memory that will stay with me forever is that of blood welling up from between my fingers as I begin the second set of giant swings in my routine. All I could think of then was 'that blood is going to make the bar slippery.' Twenty-six years later I still remember the image of crimson lines blossoming across my knuckles. The pain fades. Skin heals. Bones knit. I still have that medal from the competition. The glory doesn't go away. Team USA all the way.