The things we do for the things we enjoy. When I train for wrestling I drive across the entire state of South Carolina. Total drive from here to the wrestling facility is almost 250 miles which is quite the hike given that training itself lasts 90 minutes. Then I turn around and drive back. On Tuesday night I didn't get home until almost midnight.
The people I'm training with are some of the elite wrestlers in this country. Without naming names (not that anyone who reads this would recognize them, it's just that I hesitate to use names in general here) one of the coaches/trainers won a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics, and others there are just as amazing. As someone who appreciates the sport it's a joy simply to watch them do what they do so well. All things considered that alone would be worth the drive. They fact that they're as good at coaching as they are at competing makes it all the more amazing.
Speaking of driving, I'm scheduled to begin the 900+ mile drive from here to Rochester after work today I think the weather will be fairly kind so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I'm planning to drive 5 hours tonight, I'll finish the drive tomorrow, compete on Saturday and Sunday, and drive back on Monday. Yeesh. I'm renting an Economy car instead of adding to the 142,000+ miles already on my car. The good news is that the gas mileage is great (cheapest price I've found here in recent days is $3.14/gallon). The bad news is that it doesn't have cruise control. Anyway - such is life.
BTW: For those who travel with a dog. A website that's useful is bringfido.com. They list pet-friendly hotels in an area, specific policies, and even provide discounted rates.
Most people don't have a clue as to the pressures of competing at that level in a sport that is as physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding as wrestling is. Without any other attribute of myself as part of the mix, my age alone is something that makes this a challenge. Add to that a minefield of sensitivities that require respect while at the same time maintaining focus on the job at hand. It's critical to keep distractions to a minimum and in that regard all I can do is all I can do. I work hard simply to get to the point of being able to compete but this is truly one of those things in life where the key is the journey, not the destination. Simply getting there is a test in and of itself.
How do you explain to someone that you do it because you enjoy it. Last year at this time I got hurg and didn't expect to compete again but here I am. Early last year I was coming off a 30 year hiatus that I never expected would end. But as with most things passions are as hard to explain as they are to define. The main opponent in all of this is myself - mentally and physically - and in that regard I'm determined NOT to allow myself to stop myself. Where it leads? Who knows. I've stopped trying to rationalize this and am focused on simply doing.
I have absolutely no clue what to expect so I'm pretty much prepared for things to go to hell in a handbasket and I'll hope it doesn't. I've packed my USA Wrestling card, my passport, my birth certificate, my blood tests, and other "stuff" that I might need. I'll hope I don't need any of it and can focus on the tasks at hand: (a) competing and (b) not getting hurt.
I'm also looking forward to spending a couple of days with my brother and sister and their families, and friends in the area. Since the trip is a quick one I won't have much "extra" time but I enjoy going home and I look forward to some of the social opportunities. Two additional goals: (a) a visit to Wegmans to fill a cooler of stuff and (b) dinner at The Dinasaur BBQ.
My friend from Phoenix went back home on Tuesday and just avoided the crazy dust storm that rolled through the area in the late afternoon. Some of the photos of it were absolutely amazing. I'm glad her plane got in because they shut down the airport shortly after she landed. We had a very pleasant visit. Here's a photo of the 4th of July fireworks across the harbor. We had a great seat with our feet hanging over the edge of a pier enjoying the gentle evening breeze.