I’m generally not too fussed about packing. Most of my packing is done haphazardly the morning of my flight, or the night before in the most extreme cases, with clothes tossed semi-folded or wrinkled into a giant duffel. No lists, no planning, as little forethought as can just be managed. And, aside from a few forgotten toothbrushes and way too many pairs of socks, it’s served me rather well, all things considered.
The reason this matters is because I find myself looking at my bed and desk in my room in the AIS European training centre, and all I can see is two full duffels and a neat pile of carry-on things. You might think that my flight to London for the Olympic games was tonight, or if I was feeling particularly inspired, tomorrow morning. This is not the case. We don’t leave until Sunday morning. That’s right, I’m all packed at least two full days in advance. I’m so prepared that it’s probably detrimental, as I’ll be digging through my suitcases to find the necessary clothing to get me through the next few days.
There is only one possible explanation for this out-of-character behaviour: excitement. I’ve spent over two months overseas preparing and competing ahead of this event, and turned down the volume on the other things in my life to a bare minimum, leaving me with the crescendoing, triumphant march of an impending Olympics. The Clash’s “London Calling” has, ironically, become a major theme of this massively mainstream event, but I can’t help but feel like it really is reaching out to me, the siren song of an event I have been anticipating for four years.
In my last post I talked about devotion, and the sacrifices people make to get to the Olympics. As the days tick rapidly down to the Opening Ceremonies of the Thirtieth Modern Olympic Games, all those things I gave up start to fade away, and I am overcome by the power of the moment. I find myself absorbed in the event, and the fact that something that I have thought about abstractly for months and years is now becoming real. I can see the past and the present merge, and all the hard training, the setbacks and successes, public triumphs and private tears, are all culminating in this event. It’s pretty amazing.