I noted in my most recent FB update that time is blurring. It is. Some combination of all my comings and going, the pressure to get down to my weight class limit by 5pm today, the CNN event in Atlanta, and finally the upcoming US Nationals competition all seem to have me living in a bit of a twilight world.
First, a bit about the last couple of days.
I flew from Charleston to Atlanta on Wednesday afternoon. CNN had a car waiting for me that took me to the Four Seasons downtown. I had an hour to either relax, or to go to the fitness center and sweat a bit. I chose the latter.
The CNN event was a lot of fun. Thanks and kudos to everyone who took part in planning and making it happen behind the scenes. We've been talking about it for 6 months or more now so to finally see it happen was wonderful.
I also applaud the producers for selecting such a diverse group of panelists. Each of us brought a unique, different, relevant perspective to the various topics we covered during the evening and I think the moderator kept things moving and focused throughout the night. I could spend a couple of paragraphs on each of the panelists but for the sake of brevity I'll simply say that (a) it was truly an honor to be part of that group and (b) I hope we have more opportunities for similar discourse in the future.
Two big, black Esplanade vans pulled up to the front of the hotel to collect us at 5 and within an hour we were getting make-up done, getting to know one another, doing the obligatory photo op, getting mic'd, and generally chilling. It was a very relaxed atmosphere which is probably a result of the people involved. We were all pretty chill.
I'm sharing this photo via a blog dedicated to Johnny Weir. They ran a long story on the event and have several pics (see it here). The GA Voice did a good story on it, as well (see it here). I'm told that CNN will be making it available on iTunesU shortly, and that segments may be featured on CNN.com.
I had a small dinner (and a drink) with a friend in the area afterwards and got to bed by midnight.
My 18-hours in Atlanta ended when a car met me in the lobby of the hotel at 6:30, took me to the hotel, and got me to the airport to catch my 8:30 flight to Dallas.
Now it's time to get serious. I mean, really serious. Because what comes next can be dangerous and needs total focus.
|The lobby of the Main Hotel for the US Nationals|
I'm as prepared right now as I can be, and the final (and critical) component of all this is to actually make weight by 4pm today. Within an hour of arriving yesterday I was in a plastic suit on an elyptical trainer sweating off water and by late afternoon I was 2 1/2 pounds over my limit. That means I've got a bit more work to do today. Believe me - this is no fun.
The venue here is the Arlington Convention Center which is located right next to Texas Ranger stadium and the new Dallas Cowboy Stadium.
|The US Nationals - before competition begins...|
There will be video streaming of the event as it unfolds (see links). The way it works is that each wrestler will have several matches - and the finals will be held in the evening. It's not like you're done the first time you lose. It goes on. All the elite competitors in the country in these divisions are here...past Olympians, World Champions, World medalists, current and past US champions, University All-Americans, elite athletes from the Army, Navy, and Marines, athletes currently training at the US Olympic Training Center....all are here for this. And, one insane competitor who is twice as old as everyone else, who has a unique history, and who for some reason still loves this sport. Anyway....as a spectator who enjoys this sport I'd love to watch. As a competitor....well, it's just amazing.
There's more going on with this, but I'll keep it at that for now. I'm very hopeful that things stay focused on the competition and don't get too "complicated". But I've also learned to stay focused on the things that I can control (or at least, that I think I can) so I'm doing that. First hurdle was to get here. Second comes at 4 today to make weight. Third comes tomorrow with the competition. Then? I guess time will tell....