Monday, February 22, 2010

Under Pressure

I absolutely love the Olympics! Winter or Summer--it doesn't matter. There is something magical about the games for me. Here are people who've devoted themselves to a particular sport--they've made sacrifices in order to compete with the best in the world.

Such great stories come from these games. Tragedy and triumph. People who, for a moment, have the attention of the whole world. Sometimes they excel and succeed--and sometimes they don't.

I've competed at things my whole life. Tee ball, softball, basketball, cheerleading, and the list goes on. I know how it feels to be victorious. And I know how it feels to be the last batter--the one who could keep the game going--and the one who strikes out.

As I've gotten older, I've learned that sometimes my biggest competition is in the form of my own negative thoughts. As a writer, self-doubt creeps in all the time. Sometimes I sit and dwell more on one bad review than I do on ten great ones. Maybe we want to believe the worst about ourselves, I don't know.

In the Olympics, we see athletes who face harsh critics--sometimes it's from the media. Sometimes it's from a fellow competitor. Sometimes it comes from an entire country.

And yet, they go out there and do their thing. Some of them crack under pressure. They have one shot and they blow it. I hate watching it because I know we've just observed something that will haunt them forever. A fall on the ice. A missed goal. A ski jump gone awry.

But I love seeing their faces when they know they did it. When they stick the landing. Or land the triple axle. Or make the goal. They've silenced their critics. And proved to themselves that what seemed impossible is possible.

I'm under my own kind of pressure this week as I try to finish up a book that's due in March. And it would be easy to break under the pressure. Honestly, there are moments when I want to throw my computer out the window and run away. :) But I'm not going to do that. Because sometimes your dreams really do turn into reality. Just ask Evan Lysecek, Lindsey Vonn, Shaun White or Apolo Ohno.

The song of the day is Chariots of Fire...

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