Oh, ye gods. I leave for Chicago and the Gay Games in about thirty hours, and it’s going to be a full-on freakout from here to the airport. I have a ridiculous amount of work to churn out to my freelance employer tomorrow. I haven’t packed. I have a writer’s group to attend tomorrow evening, which a little voice in my head is telling me that I may have to pull a no-show on.
Once I get to the Windy City, though, I am resolved to leave the crazitude behind. In past years (Amsterdam 1998, Sydney 2002]), I have spent most of my Gay Games week at the glowing nucleus of a ball of pulsing neurosis. What if all my hard work doesn’t pay off? What if I let myself down? What if my times aren’t the best I’ve ever done? What if all this was for nothing? What if my beard were made of green spinach? Aieeee!
Yeah, and like that. My friends end up having to scrape me off the ceiling; I can’t eat, and I can’t breathe, and I can’t sleep. Somewhere around my last individual race, I suddenly realize that I’ve been having no fun at all, and I get a grip, but by then five days of potential fun have gone down the tubes.
This year, there will be none of that. I’ve realized well in advance that my training has not been as rigorous as I had planned, and that I’m not in the sort of shape that suggests that I’ll be punching out personal bests in each of my four events.1 I look at my seed times, which it’s much much too late to revise, and I think: oh my god, no effing way, ha ha ha ha ha. So I’m just not going to worry about it. I’m going to hit the water and let my body do what it feels ready to do. I’m going to have fun, dammit, because that’s why I do this. And if nothing else, I’ll take the time to enjoy the boy-watching, which is truly world-class, because not to do so would be a criminal waste. And just maybe a miracle will occur, and I’ll boil the water behind me as I blast torpedo-wise through it; but if it doesn’t, that’s okay, too.
Watch this space for intermittent reports from the field.
1 Actually, there will be one guaranteed PR. I’m swimming my very first 800 Free, and I still have no idea why. Because my coach told me to do it, I think. It probably won’t be pretty, but it’ll be a personal best nonetheless.
2 It scares me that I’ve been keeping a blog long enough to be able to go back and read my Sydney journals.