Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Knock on wood

Every summer I either (a) pay way to much for last minute travel arrangements or (b) miss out on the best trips. Why, you ask. Well, I am a bit superstitious.

It stems from my own childhood and athletic career. Now, remember, I was a diver. I was pretty darn good, too. Well, I was pretty darn good at the end of my career I should say. Early in my career I was perpetually the girl that didn't qualify. See, in the diving world you qualify for each meet (Zones, Nationals and international competition) by earning a very specific place at qualifying meets. For example, in my day (I'm not that old, but diving has changed a lot), to qualify for zones you had to earn a 12th place finish or better at Regionals. Typically, if you had to get 12th, I got 13th and when you had to get 5th, I got 6th--do you see the trend? Qualifying meets usually took place a week or two before the next meet. So, parents would either go ahead and make travel plans under the assumption that their child will qualify or they would wait and pay an arm and a leg for last minute flights, hotel rooms, etc.

This past full of qualifying meet disappointment has created a superstition that I just can't shake. I never (with the exception of Beijing) have made travel arrangements to go watch Mark at a meet until after he qualifies. I know, I know, Mark typically qualifies (knock on wood), but I truly believe this is partially because I have NOT purchased plane tickets yet. Stupid? Maybe.

So, here is my dilemma. Mark will be swimming at Nationals in Irvine, CA this summer (two weeks from today to be exact--ugh, I have the sudden urge to bit my finger nails). This summer's Nationals serves as the qualifying meet for the Pan Pacific Games (double ugh... now I have a belly ache). The Pan Pacific Games will be held in late August in Irvine as well. This is huge. Typically Mark is flying half way around the world a few days after Nationals to attend Pan Pacs and this year they are not only in the same location as Nationals, but in this country and easy to attend!

This doesn't really sound like a dilemma, huh? Sounds perfect, right? It is, or, I guess, will be as soon as he qualifies. But until then I am just sitting here twiddling my thumbs not making travel arrangements.

I have friends who will be attending Pan Pacs; I get calls and emails asking what my plans are. I DON'T HAVE PLANS YET. I can't bring myself to buy a ticket (yet). I am paralyzed by my superstition.

This nervous paralysis has cost me a lot of fantastic trips. Last year I didn't make plans to attend the World Championship in Rome (you heard me... ROME!). And, once Mark qualified, tickets were too expensive.

So, here I am. Surfing the internet for great airline deals only to not buy one. I can't. I would love to go to Pan Pacs, but Mark has to qualify first. Honestly, I can't even believe I am talking about this. Now, I have to go knock on every piece of wood in the house. Let's just pretend I didn't even bring it up.

1 comment:

  1. Ugh! I'm a superstitious athlete, too, and they can be as you put it- paralyzing. Abbey Musch, a Drury U swimmer, said in a video that she was very superstitious, too. She had a lucky towel for years that had to be sewn over and over again, lucky shoes, water bottle, and routine. She identified her superstitions as distractions and only kept a stretching routine. I don't know how she cured her superstitions, but she's still an amazing athlete after breaking them. Pretty much what I'm trying to say is that superstitions are only superstitions! They won't change the outcome of something totally unrelated (yes, a swim towel is unrelated to a race, and same for airline tickets). Not all superstitions are bad, but when they hold you back from experiencing world swim meets with your husband I'd say it's time to break them!

    Good luck!

    p.s. I'm really glad you're writing this blog. We all now get to see another side of the swimming world through your eyes.