Saturday, August 4, 2012

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.

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