The first week back at school!
There is something shiny and unwrapped about the first couple of athletics meets at the start of the season. We athletes share amazingly special bonds and experiences together, and every year we go away for at least a few months and see nothing of our spike wearing loved ones. This can be tough. Often we pine over Facebook pictures and engage in mindless banter over twitter, but it's just not enough. It may sound suss, but I miss the sweaty embrace of my mates after a race. And no Facebook picture can do any justice to how hot some of the girls (and guys, I am sure) are on the athletics track. We go off and train the winter months away and come back (hopefully) stronger, better, and faster.
I can only liken this to 'back to school' after a holiday break!
You look around and see who made it through the break and is still at 'school' from last year. You see who is looking fit. You catch up with the great mates that you aren't quite close enough to keep in contact with but love nonetheless. You promise to do a better job next year with staying in touch, but you can chat about that next week in Hobart.
You are a little nervous as to how much wine and chocolate you ate over Christmas and wonder if the guy/girl winning your event indulged as much as you did. Probably shouldn't have gone back for fifths. But you did make up for it with that great Boxing Day session. Hey, there's Sally! Holy Crap she ran well at Worlds! What a superstar!! You got along really well with her last year, but you haven't seen her in a few months. Maybe she is big time now and doesn't remember who you are... "Hey Sal!" Phew. She remembered your name.
You recall trudging through the winter months training and calling your coach all kinds of four-letter words on Wednesday mornings (a notorious spew session), but remember why you do this pure and beautiful sport as you look around your surrounds! First race down. Sweet. Racing is so much more fun than training! 'Why can't I just race all year round?' you ponder... Then you can earn money all year AND follow the summer round the world. You make a mental note to chat to the coach about that.
You had a bit of a crush on whats-her-face over there last year, and didn't get to chat at the nationals after-party. Hopefully you won't have to wait until then end of season this year. You decide to make a move in Perth.
Just like the new year of school, the commencement of the athletics season brings the sparkle of unknown potential, of things that will shape your next 12 months, and the chance re-live the ones that have past with your kindred athletic spirits on tour.
"2012. This will be my best year yet!" you promise. And for that moment, whatever the coming months deliver matters not. Because at THAT moment it's true...