In No Way Am I Qualified To Say This

Posted: 13 August 2008 in observations, other folks

I was a swimmer once.  This in no way qualifies my to evaluate the olympians.  But I remember that gasping moment when my fingertips hit that rough, concrete wall and I popped up, spinning to look at the time, leaning on the lane line.  I remember feeling like I wouldn’t get enough air and savoring it all at the same time, the luxury to inhale at will.  

I can’t possibly understand how the olympians feel when they emerge at the end of a race and turn, facing the cameras, to see what they were able to achieve.  Most of them, it seems like simple acceptance, celebration, frustration.  But there are a few of the US women, and one in particular, who look positively blue when they turn around.  Their eyes bulge, their skin is a waxy, oxygen deprived green blue, their lips are purple.  They don’t look like they’re enjoying near death at the end of every race.  The one who looks worst, I just want to tell her to breathe.  That this blue face isn’t winning any races, that taking one more breath just might.

Of course, I stopped swimming when I stopped enjoying it.  I assume they still are.  But I worry for their blue faces.  Is it worth it when there isn’t even a medal on the other end?


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