So a few nights ago, after a full day of working, writing, networking, what have you, I needed to relax. Not enough time or energy to watch a movie. Caught up on TV shows. Too tired to read a book. Too late to go out. Network TV in reruns.
Basically, I’m justifying watching male figure skating at the Olympics.
I love the Olympics. Winter, summer, if they had them in the spring and the fall I’d love them as well. Some of it bores me (Ice Dancing) and some inexplicably keeps me mesmerized (Curling! Curling! Curling!) but I always marvel at people at the top of their game. Same goes in the arts. In any field. If you are excellent at what you do, I will be impressed.
Male figure skating did not go well for everyone that night: Jeremy Abbott placed ninth at the Vancouver 2010 games, and this year had something to prove. Unfortunately, a few seconds into his routine, this happens:
I mean, the dude went DOWN. HARD. Hits his hip, slides into the wall face down, and just lays there. The music plays on.
Years of training, over in a second.
There is nothing he can do to overcome this. No routine, short of actually flying or shooting Vladimir Putin with lasers from his eyes, will get him a medal. It’s over.
But he gets up. He skates on. He has nothing to prove. He just has to finish.
There are plenty of stories like this in the Olympics, and in every sport, and in life. Against literally impossible odds, great athletes still have a desire to finish.
We all should be that way.
It’s far too easy as a writer to give up, to move on to something else, to quit. There is life out there. There are other things to do. Hey, it’s 9pm and I want to stop and sit in front of the TV. Well, I can do that, or I can keep plugging away. We writers and artists can take a lesson from those kids that go to the slopes or the rink seven days a week, multiple hours a day, in a quest to make themselves better than everyone else. In my business it is very easy to blame others, circumstance, the fickle nature of the arts, for why we are not more successful. When I feel that way, I just need to put my head down and go back to work. Because hard work, real hard work not talking about hard work, will get you rewarded.
No one casually makes an Olympic team. A good lesson for all of us trying to make it in any competitive field.
Another lesson learned from the Olympics: if an athlete can fall on his ass in front of a worldwide audience and his peers, then I can continue to fall on my ass with my work as well. Keep pushing the envelope and risking new things.
Go U.S.A.! Go every athlete. Keep inspiring me.
Now nobody talk to me until after the Curling finals.