I sat in the very front. Front and center to be exact. You know that kid back in school who would sit in the front of class and raise their hand eagerly at every question that was asked? Well that was me today. Total geek. Except I didn’t answer any questions, I just listened and took it all in. Normally I’m not such a nerd. Normally, I would be in the back with all the other cool kids, whispering amongst ourselves and typing on my blackberry while I impatiently waited for the boring team meeting to end. But for some reason it wasn’t boring to me today. Sure, I knew all the information they passed along to us, and spending 2 ½ hours going over information already handed out might have seemed monotonous on any other occasion, but I wasn’t about to let a silly thing like repetitiveness be a damper. The one cool part—even though it took forever-- was all the athletes introducing each other to the group. It’s an awesome thing to be able to meet your teammates, and learn more about people you usually only see in passing. We broke up into groups and had to introduce another team member and share one thing about them the group may not know. I don’t know what is about a group of type A, uber-competitive athletes, but rest-assured our introductions were nothing like what you’ve experienced in previous ice-breakers. So many of them were hilarious!
I’m here to enjoy each and every part of this experience. When your journey has been as long and tedious as mine, a 2 ½ hour team meeting seems like heaven, simply because you are in the meeting. The USA team we have is a great one, and it is an honor and privilege to be able to say that I’m a part of it. Whatever else happens is simply icing on the cake. I say that not to imply that I don’t intend to go out there and shock the world. I’d be lying to say that I’m just content with being here and had no extra goals or desires, but, and this is truly my heart speaking, I want to be proud of this moment and truly acknowledge it for what it is. There are people on our team who have made the U.S. team for 10 and 11 consecutive years, and perhaps for them this type of accomplishment is so commonplace they hardly even blink an eye. But that is not my story. There have been many who accomplish far more than I ever will and there will be even more who hope to accomplish what I have, but for me, making it here is one of my own mountains that I have climbed and I am proud of that. In another 8 days I will have another mountain in front of me that deserves all my attention and focus, but while I’m thinking about it today I wanted to say that I am really happy to be here. No strings attached.