Saturday, September 10, 2011

Olympic Couch Surfing: 26.2, Kicking & Barely Moving At All

Before even the first date with my husband I dreamed we ran a marathon together and at the end, when I collapsed in the dirt, he put his hand under my head to use as a pillow. I think that's when I decided to marry him. And it only took a few short months after that for him to ask me out on our first date!

But until today, when each member of our family will face their own Goliath of the Sports World, our marriage hasn't exactly been rife with athletic achievement. Our son (who I've at last come to realize was trying to kick a soccer ball, not me in the womb) is starting not only his first soccer team, but his first team sport ever, a little later this morning. He's so excited he can barely stand it. When I got him off the bus yesterday he said, "I can't believe tomorrow is finally here!" Well, sort of, I agreed.

Not only is Henry starting his first team today, Stan is coaching his first team, too. After receiving several emails about the head hunt for a head coach, Stan left a message asking what was required for the job. Three days later he got an email thanking him for stepping up to the position. So, after a trip to the library in which he checked out no less than 15 books about the sport including "Coaching Soccer For Dummies," my man is ready to enthusiastically wrangle a gaggle of 6 year-old co-eds. An innate athlete who is great with kids, I think it suits him to a T.

So it's not my boy's athletic debut that worries me. No, it's my own. My motto comes from a line by one of my favorite writers, Natalia Ginzburg: "...if I want to finish anything it is absolutely essential that I spend hours stretched out on the sofa."

Nevertheless, today marks my first - and possibly last- marathon. But not the kind where you have to actually move. Oh, no. No way. I'm writing. For 26. 2 hours, thanks to my husband who called me a dummy when I suggested writing for 24. As in: "No, dummy. You gotta make it 26.2," although, at this point, that number is more likely to refer to the number of pounds I'm going to gain eating all of the amazing food Ward & Stephanie are cooking up for their 24 hour cookout (with your book out) in conjunction with our completely insane writing festival of insanity. Did I mention that this is insane?

I'm not 19 anymore (no, really!) and I'm slightly terrified at the idea of staying up past midnight. I turn into a pumpkin and start to both drool and snore hours before the witching hour. So staying up is going to be a challenge. As is! Except honestly, with all of the amazingly stimulating activities we have scheduled around the clock (open mics, zine-making, printmaking, songwriting, slam poetry, comedians, ETC) there are effectively enough distractions to keep me---or anyone-- from writing ever again! My favorite kind of writing of all.

But seriously. We've got a great cause. Scholarships! For the KIDS! And lots of amazing raffle prizes--including a typewriter! And an oil change! And my mother's art! And moleskin notebooks! And alter-ego nametags. And a prompt bucket. And laser-engraved RYW pencils. And totally hot 26.2 T-Shirts. Not to mention the most amazing fortress of solitude upon which I have ever lain eyes.

I would have done it just for the pure pleasure of working with Chop Suey's creative genius Ward Tefft and my own personal Queen among Women, Bird Cox, who is able to hang peacock feathers from the ceiling standing on a chair in high heels! Or, the many talented authors and artists, performers, comedians and poets who stepped up to help us out. Although I'm already a little sleepy, I feel tremendously grateful, connected and in love all over again with my fair city. As scared as I am about this test of stamina and endurance, I'm also excited about each part of this race, start to finish.

My cup runneth over. But luckily I do not runneth at all.

(A big thank you to Sarah Dawes at Richmond Magazine for her awesome article!)

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