Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's the name of the game

Tough. Challenging. Hard. It's the name of the game for a professional athlete (and his wife!).

Mark swam the 100m breaststroke today at the Short Course World Championships. He had a good morning swim (58.2). I set my alarm for 1:45 to see it online (though I didn't need an alarm. Annabelle was up all night with an ear infection and respiratory funk). I felt good. Confident. It looked like he did, too. I saw his name next to "4th." I thought this meant that he was fourth going into finals.

He was not.

Mark was 4th going into semi-finals. Semi-finals?! I didn't even think this meet had semi-finals. Bad swim wife. Bad.

So, after a quick trip to the pediatrician and a swift internal conversation with myself in which I questioned going into my office to watch the race versus staying at home with Turtle-my mother-and Annabelle, I sat in the living room with my girls to watch our everyday Olympian swim. Just as he was getting on the block to start, Brett, Mark's coach, called me. We watched the race together over the phone and live streaming.

He swam.

Not as fast as he had hoped. He added a little time. 58.4. This is where my heart breaks for him. 2 tenths of a second is nothing, right? Well, in this game it is and was enough to keep him from moving onto the finals.

No, this is actually not that big of a deal. It was not a great swim, but this meet (in a weird way) doesn't mean as much as others. However, it doesn't matter to me or my heart whether it is a friendly race in a backyard pool or the Olympic games, it hurts when Mark doesn't not swim the way he wants to swim. So, a million, ga-zillion, miles and a 10 hour time difference away, I sat on my living room floor to watch Mark swim to an 11th place finish. He did not make the finals. I was sad for him.

Though it was a disappointing race, I still got the chance to chuckle a little bit. I watched the race via live streaming from a German website, so I got to hear "Gangloff" repeated over and over in native tongue. For some reason this was quite amusing. It was like the mother ship calling back her Gangloff.

After a little sadness following Mark's race I picked myself up, loaded up my computer bag, and headed to Panera to work (nothing like crunching data that just doesn't want to work with me to get my mind off of swimming). I got an email from Mark. It read, "Are you by your computer?' Yep. So I logged into Skype (did we tell you that we got it working?!).

There I sat, at Panera, talking to my computer like some crazy lady. Mark was fine. Disappointed, but fine. I was happy to get to talk to him, even though I looked like a complete loon with voices in her head. I just wanted to make an announcement to everyone drinking their coffees and eating their Gingerbread bagels, "My husband is an Olympian. He is in Dubai. He just swam. I haven't gotten to talk to him in days, so I am talking to him via Skype. Yes, I realize that I am in public, but please stop staring--turn around and get back to applying your utterly delicious Honey Walnut cream cheese to the bagel that is nothing more than a cookie!"

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