I’m done. I typed the final period and sent Polly off for a pork tenderloin. She deserves it.
This book did not want to let me go. I typed over 100,000 words (usually around 90,000) and did that in 30 chapters (usually 27). The last three days is when it all exploded. I should have been wrapping things up, but there was more to tell! For a girl who generally writes two-three thousand words a day, I’ve written more than sixteen thousand words since Saturday. The good news is that there is plenty of dross in the middle of the book that will soon be burned away.
I’m a couple of days behind my deadline. That will make this week a little hairy, especially with the newsletter coming out Thursday morning. That means I need to write a vignette, decide on a title (hah, like I have choices yet … they’ll come, but yikes), create and design a cover and finish the first round of edits. Yeah, yeah. Why not? I’m good at deadlines. They bring focus. And a level of insanity. There might not be enough caffeine in the house for this.
But … I’m done! That’s pretty cool.
Let’s see: I fell in love with rugby. That game is crazy-wild-fierce! Every single minute of those rugby matches was exciting. I want more of this. A lot more. When I watched the Fijiian team win the gold medal – the first medal ever for their country, I wept with them.
Volleyball – whether beach or court – is just plain fun. And intense. I didn’t care who was playing, I was watching. It was fun to just see that incredible level of play happening and then to realize that we live in such an amazing world. Sometimes we get so insulated here in the US that we forget about the excellence in sportsmanship found all over this earth. We are only a part of it and the more we engage with the world, the better we become.
Swimming – Phelps, Ledecky, Manuel, Dirado, Peaty, Hosszu … these are names that mean something. They showed the joy they took in their sport. And if you need to focus on any ugliness, stop it. I don’t want to hear about it.
Basketball – remember the days when our professional athletes couldn’t play? I’m still stuck in 1984 with the dream team. You couldn’t pry me away from the television when they played. Even now, to watch our teams go up against international teams in true competition, it’s exciting.
Gymnastics – the world was captivated. It makes sense. Beauty and power in tiny bodies that explode across a variety of events.
I watched diving and rowing, kayaking, shooting, archery, handball, weightlifting, wrestling, (whoa!), fencing, judo. A little water polo, but then I started yawning and thought I should try something else.
Track and field. Remember Carl Lewis? Flo-Jo? Marion Jones? Evelyn Ashford? I do. And now, Usain Bolt goes down in history. He is simply amazing. But we add names like D’Agostino (USA) and Hamblin (New Zealand) who helped each other after that gruesome fall. That’s what international competition is about. Michelle Carter and her gold medal for shot put. Girl! Look at you! Ashton Eaton retaining the gold in the decathlon and those amazing girls in the 4x100m relay: Bartoletta, Felix, Gardner and Bowie.
These amazing athletes will take time to celebrate and return to their normal lives. Did you know that one of the players for the USA rugby team was on sabbatical from the New England Patriots so he could fulfill this dream? He has a huge season ahead of him, but his team and coaches believed in this dream for him and gave him the time away. He didn’t bring home gold, but he is an Olympian now. That’s enough.
The moments of last week are beginning to fade from our conversations and thoughts. But they happened. In a world that seems so out of control, for one brief moment in time, it came together in a spirit of competition, sportsmanship, grace and unity.
I’m going to miss it all.