The Bubbles

I’m a former Olympic level athlete, with an eating disorder…

I ritualize.

This weekend, I coached my first regatta. The night before the race, one of the moms asked how early before the start time should they be there. She figured if it takes her kid 8-12 minutes to rig up, than 15 minutes should be plenty early enough…

At which point I had a full on I-can’t-breathe-and-feel-like-I’m-going-to-die-can’t-stop-crying colossal melt down.

It may only take 8 minutes to pop the sail into the boat, but it takes AT LEAST an hour to get ready!

One of the things I do before I race is a relaxation/visualization technique while stretching the toes to get the bubbles out. Most athletes have some quirky thing that MUST happen in order to compete. For me, getting the bubbles out is just as important as putting my sail in. So after the mom asked about only leaving enough time to rig, I stayed awake all night crying because there’s no possible way to race with the bubbles still in.

Anyway, they arrived on time, the start ended up delayed two hours, we had plenty of time to sit around. Her son was really nervous. So, while we were waiting, I taught him how to get the bubbles out. At first he laughed, but then he said it helped.

When we finally did get out on the water, the conditions were challenging. We had 14 little Opti kids out on the water, and 12 of them cried, screamed, freaked out, and asked us to find their parents. Mine was one of the two who didn’t.

This morning, he told me he didn’t cry because I got his bubbles out before he launched, so all he felt was calm and relaxed.

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