Monday, August 11, 2008

My first dream...

Someone asked me the other day when I first wanted to be in the Olympics. Typical question, usually accompanied by typical answers like, when I was young and saw the Games on TV. Well my answer is similar to that.
When I was in third grade we had a class assignment to write down something we wished for in our future. Some kids wrote about material possessions; other kids wrote about becoming doctors, or lawyers, or heaven forbid -- actors. Some were young philanthropists who wished for a better, more healthy and friendly , earth... dare say utopia.
Me, I wished to be an Olympian. I vaguely remembered this and only occassionally told people this because it was silly at the time and I had forgotten the specifics; until a friend of my mother's found a little book in which my wish (along with all the kids of John Thomas Dye School) was printed. It read something like this:

Peter Hudnut 3k,
I wish I was an Olympian
I would do the softball throw and play water polo
I would carry the flag and represent the USA
I wish I was an Olympian

There was a little more to it than that but I can't remember the rest right now. After the 88 Games a coach named Richard Corso (who coached Harvard School back then where my father worked) handed me a baby blue bad. The gym bag was a little ratty but it was possibly the determining factor in what laid ahead of me. On one side of the bag were the Olympic Rings, on the other side was written 1984 in big bold print. Inside was a small water polo ball and a water polo hat, along with some stickers and a USA pin. Corso said to me, if you want to be one of the world's best, and maybe have a shot at being an Olympian, then water polo is for you. Forget football and basketball, water polo is one of the toughest sports around and you get to represent the United States.
I was sold. I wanted to be an Olympian and that was that. I didn't know if I would ever actually make it but I sure as hell was going to try.
The funniest part about this 3rd grade project....... well two things; one I really thought that the softball throw was an event, and two, I didn't start playing water polo for another 5 years.
Once I started playing, well OCD took hold and that was that.

Just thought some people might get a kick out of this story, because like my title reads: DREAMS CAN COME TRUE.......

Some Crazy days...

Since we have been in Beijing life has barely stopped moving. Before the Village started to fill with athletes we were training and preparing like mad men for the Games; now that the Village is packed and the Games have begun, life is still busy as ever, just a little less practice time. The Village is -- in all its glory and infamy-- a special place. People are so incredibly nice and supportive, and seemingly so despite their country of origin. People are here putting their very best forward, both athletically and personally. Now it's not quite Kumbyyah and all that sappy nonesense, but people generally have a positive competitive energy here that I have never felt before. Maybe the 'spirit' that is the Olympics is truly that powerful and leveling for people.
Whatever you want to call it, the energy in the Village has an addictive quality. Maybe it is the somewhat OCD nature of high level athletes but the feeling you get from being surrounded by thousands of people trying their best to push their potential, their limits, that much further than before... well it is special.
This ramble is an attempt (poor one at that) to get me back on track writing, so for the few who may one day see this just know that somethings are hard to describe; the atmosphere (not the people, or the conversations, or the games, but the feeling in and of the air around here) is hard to describe accurately...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

a new journey...

I had an invasive wake up from a bright light that poured through the eye shade I wore on our flight; the all black shade, which read "BE QUIET", was a gift from the USOC for our long flight to the land of Mao and seemed to work very poorly. The onslaught of light was from my teammate Layne having opened the window blind to take in the view of what we hoped was Beijing. As my eyes slowly adjusted and my mind started to fire again (even more slowly than my eyes), I took to the window like a child, trying to see everything out there in the unfamiliar territory. What I saw I can only describe as a San Francisco fog that had rolled around in dirt; or possibly, a more polluted sheet which covered the city than a horrible August LA day. As the plane pushed through this filth, it eventually opened giving view of the expansive city of Beijing. This marked the end of an intense training phase and the beginning of a whole new journey: the biggest show that is the Beijing Olympic Games.

Seeing as this is my first blog I think it is important to write that I have never written a blog, nor have I ever even read a blog. I hope to write in more depth on our teams journey through processing, training, pre-competition days and then the Games themselves. It is a very exciting time and I am going to be a only lightly filtered voice of the experience here.

Unfortunately I must run to training now so there is much more to come...... please stay tuned and enjoy.