You know those days where it seems like everyone around you is acting like a complete ass? Then finally at some point you realize, your the one who is real the problem. Well to be honest, I've been noticing that a lot lately. I do my best not to bring other people down to my level when I'm in the dumps myself, but some days it feels like a full time job. I tried to figure out why I've been acting this way, and I've come up with several reasons. After attending the Drake Relays Mall Vault this weekend it all became clear. I need to be jumping. Holy shit I miss jumping, so much. Watching my friends and peers burn down the runway and fly over bars in style, for a massive crowd, made me extremely nostalgic. Normally when I attend a large competition as a spectator I have a really hard time with it. I can remember being bumped out of the USA Outdoor Championships in 2003 by 1 measly centimeter. I was still in college and USA's just happened to be near where I grew up. I decided to go and watch the meet even though i was heart broken about not getting in as an athlete. It turned out to be an amazing meet to watch but I remember telling myself, never again, never again will I stand on the sidelines and watch elite competitions like this. Guess what, the same thing happened the following year as I sat and watched the Olympic Trials while being the first athlete out by 1 measly centimeter, they even had my BIO in the program at the meet. That was hard to watch, but ultimately exciting, actually the most exciting vault competition I have witnessed to date. You get my point. Sometimes it's hard to watch. Honestly though I've got to give a big shout out to the organizers of the Mall Vault because I have seen a lot of street type vault meets in my day, and that competition was done very professionally in so many ways. Other organizers could learn a lot from them.
When I arrived at the meet I must admit that I rolled in with a baseball cap tipped down low, a dark coat and a quiet disposition. I did not want to be recognized as an athlete in the crowd. I would have rather been seen as a quiet camera man with no ties to the sport. In anticipation for the competition I thought I would have that feeling again, the feeling of being left out, or picked last, or not being good enough. When I arrived, it wasn't there. I walked into the mass of people heard the loud music, clapping, and became so excited for my friends on the other side of the fence. I wanted to shake hands, scream when they were on the runway, catch steps, start the clapping, and be a part of something special. It was something special. I fought through the crowd, jumping around with a tripod and HD camera, held it high above my head to pan over children resting on parents shoulders, because the best thing I could do for those athletes that day, was shoot the best videos I could. I had a blast, and the feeling of inadequacy, wasn't there. I'm not sure how I am supposed to feel about that. At first I thought, maybe your ready to be done, your ready to be a spectator. After the 4 hour drive home I stayed up till 3am editing and posting videos to the best of my ability alone with my thoughts. I felt so confused about my excitement for a meet and the performance of athletes that I was not a competitor in.
The flame of doubt, in my devotion as an athlete, was soon extinguished when I sprung out of bed this morning to finish my uploads for Derek and Kylie then head to the gym, where I spent an hour sprinting between the elliptical machine and the pool, like an injured athlete should. It felt amazing and I felt as driven as ever.
So no, I'm not ready to be a spectator full time, and thank you to all the great athletes who jumped at the Mall Vault for the fresh burst of Inspiration.