For the past 12 years I’ve been watching Michael Phelps (no secret to those of you who follow me on twitter or who were around on this blog back in 2008)! And I’ve had the most bittersweet feeling watching him finish his career. Obviously, it’s his choice and his time, and I’m so excited for him (did you hear he’s going to be on the Hank Haney Project, and now I have to get the Golf Channel)…but, as Rowdy Gaines said, “I am going to miss that man.”
And as a storyteller, man, he killed it in these games. First we saw him a little worn down, finishing off the podium for the first time since Sydney. Then we saw him bring it together for his relay team in the 4 x 100, only to see Lochte lose it at the end (no offense to Lochte fans but man, that was a bummer). Then he just got out-touched in the 200 fly by Chad LeClos (who was so adorable and excited to even be swimming with Michael that I loved Chad in spite of myself). Then he turned right around and rocked it in the 4 x 200 relay, getting a gold, becoming the most decorated Olympian of all time, and getting teary on the medal stand. Then he just came out and killed it in the 100 fly, winning gold and becoming the first male ever to defend a title in three consecutive Olympics…and then he did it AGAIN in the 200 IM. And then, one more gold with a rocking leg of the medley relay. And all along the way, those interviews, just taking accountability for his own swims, talking about the sport and the other swimmers…it was such a ride. You couldn’t write a better story. And he wrote it all, he and his coach and his family and friends. We just got to sit back and watch the result of years of hard work. And what hard work it was. I cannot even imagine.
Sometimes, I will not lie to you, writing feels like hard work to me. There are days when I feel flat, uninspired, a little worn down by life in general. So I have three or four things at any given time that will charge me up and make me feel inspired again. Here they are:
1. Watching Phelps and the men’s 4 x 100 freestyle relay in Beijing. It makes me want to just rock the paragraph I am writing, throw my arms up in the air, and roar like Phelps when I’m finished.
2. Listening to this song by the Piano Guys and Alex Boye. I love the song, and I also, as you all know, am pretty crazy about the landscape they use as a background.
3. Looking at this painting by John Singer Sargent. And yes, this might be a little tiny hint about something that will appear in REACHED…and that’s all I will say for now.
I think it’s exciting that we can derive so much inspiration from things that we personally cannot do (in my case, swim, sing, paint, etc.). I’d love to hear some of your inspirations in the comments below.
And Michael Phelps: thank you. It was such a pleasure to see someone do something so well.