Husband and I have been glued to the Olympics since the start. We're total Olympic junkies and cannot get enough.
One thing, though, that has struck me time and again is the look of absolute focus certain athletes get before a race/match/event. it's something in the eyes. A sort of "I'll do whatever" look that makes you feel like they're going to give it 110%.
I happen to know for a fact, despite rarely looking myself in the eye, that I have never had that look on my face. I have never in my life had a moment of absolute and total commitment. I've been committed. I've been focused. But I've never had that cold-blooded look of a predator about to eat everyone in the competition.
And perhaps "competition" is the key word here. I'm not a competitive person. I hate playing games with people I love because I always want them to win. Husband will tell you I've been known to cheat in his favor. No. Really. I have.
It's this quality in me, though, that would make me a lousy athlete. I don't have it in me to win at all costs. I have it in me to be dedicated, sure; to give something my best. But not in any area where I'm competing against someone else.
Back when I was an acting major I would definitely find myself getting into character before shows, and would put my mind on my performance. But it wasn't to the exclusion of all else. No matter how focused I was, I would still notice things like the stage manager's beer breath or the fact that the lighting guy was wearing white sneakers. I could never, ever, manage to block everything out of my mind and think about nothing but Shakespeare.
And this quality of focus, which denies me my Olympic gold (that and the total lack of any type of athletic skills) is also responsible for my lack of sleep. I am an insomniac because I cannot shut of my mind. I will lie in bed at night and my mind is racing 95 mph over bills I need to pay, duties I need to take care of. I'll be lying there thinking that I'm trying to sleep, and then realize I've been writing a short story in my head or trying to remember who played Sam in Casablanca. (And yes, I know it's Dooley Wilson.)
I've tried bio feedback and acupuncture. I've tried chiropractic care and meditation. I've tried sleep studies and keeping a dream journal. The only thing that reliably gives me a good night's sleep is Ambien. And as for meditation, I'm a total failure. I do not possess a brain that can be shut off. I've tried for over 40 years and never once been completely quiet, blank, focused. Not on getting down the hill faster than anyone else. Not on pushing out care and focusing on my breathing. Not on shutting it down and getting some sleep.
Like many of my photographs, I am out-of-focus. And I will never be in the Olympics. Or, alas, sleep.