I love racing. Running. Swimming. Anything. I love to race. I love sports. I was coaching at a big swim meet last sunday, and for the first time ever I noticed how loud it gets in the building. It was the first time I'd ever been to that pool for a meet and not been an athlete. I miss it so much. Being an athlete was a big part of my life. I may not have been the best swimmer out there, and I may have struggled in running as well, but I loved every minute of it. I love the practices and the meets, and the team dinners, and the meetings. I love the big meets like regionals and conference. I love being with my team. I love racing. Swimming in a race is probably the most exhilerating feeling I can think of. You become the center of attention as they blow the whistle telling the athletes to mount the blocks. Everything around you disappears. I can't remember ever hearing people cheering before a race, although I KNOW they did. Every sound, every person, everything goes away. All I can hear or pay attention to is the starter. He tells us to take our marks. I take my position ready to explode at the sound of the horn. There is nothing in the world at this point but me and the horn. The horn sounds and I jump as far as I can off of the block; I shape my body into the most hydrodynamic shape that I can possibly assume. My fingers, then my head, then my body, and finally my feet all enter the water. My legs start to kick as hard as they can and I burst out through the top of the water. Everything starts to come back. There are other racers now. I can't hear anyone. All I hear is the sound of my arms and legs splashing the water; pushing it harder and more effectively to get ahead. I don't even think about breathing. I simply go. I shift my eyes slightly to the side to see where my competition is. As I speed up to beat them, I start to feel desperate. The turn comes and my legs tighten. My arms start to move fast into the wall. Finally I reach the wall and do everything in my power to get away from it as fast as I can. My legs start to kick again and my lungs start to scream for air. I have to breathe as little as possible. My arms start to move again and on my second stroke I fill my lungs with air. My opponents are inching ahead. I yell underwater, feeling as though there is nothing else to do that will help me go faster. My arms cannot move any faster, and my legs are burning. I have done all that I can. My only job now is to keep going. Don't slow down. Keep my legs pumping. Keep my arms pushing the water. Finish hard! Come in fast!
There. Thats the end. The race is over. It lasted for 30 seconds. All my effort. All my training. Every day that I spent in the pool working so hard has come down to the last 30 seconds. Now I hear the cheers. The encouragement. The world suddenly hits me. Everything comes back. I get out of the pool, and wait until the next race.