A couple of years ago, Disney ran a commercial on TV. Like most of them, it featured some impossibly cute little window-licker kid tossing and turning in his bed. His watchful mother peeked into his room and said,"Johnny, aren't you asleep yet?", to which the the kid croaked back, "I'm too excited to sleep!"...because mom and dad were taking the family to the Magic Kingdom. Remember that one?
About the same time that a was popular, I was getting ready for my first season-long adventure as an unlimited crew member with The Spirit of The Navy team. I was flying out the next morning to Evansville and was pretty jacked up about the trip, though I hadn't said much about it at home, other than asking my wife for a ride to the airport. Anyway, I was tossing and turning the night before the trip and sometime during the wee, small hours, my wife woke up and asked me what was wrong. My response, which was croaked out in the best squeeky-kid falsetto was "I'm too excited to sleep!"
I've been to a ridiculous number of boat races since I started following the sport. And, I'm still waiting for me to reach burn-out point. I know everybody does at one time or another, and I have no reason to believe that I'll be any different. I just can't see it coming anytime in the foreseeable future. I know the sport, I know the players, the good, the bad, the BS and everything to expect, which usually happens. The only thing I don't always know is why I keep coming back. It takes the sights, the sounds, the smells and the whole vibe of the experience of being at the race to remind me why I'm still doing this....to make me want to go to another one...and to have my wife look at me in the morning after a crummy night's sleep to say to me, "are you going to be like that Kid again?" That was the question of the morning, and she already knows the answer.
So, tomorrow is the day of departure. Nate Brown and one of our crew members left this morning. They will be getting there to get an early jump on getting the boat set up. Current travel plans have the rest of us arriving in Doha Wednesday evening, and I suspect I'll head straight to bed when I land. I've never been very good at sleeping on airplanes, so I'm not sure what to expect with the whole jet lag phenomenon.
It will be many of the same faces, the same boats, the same type of racing that we've done all summer long. For me, I'm looking forward to see ow it all plays out in a culture and setting that is as far different as anything I could imagine. Nate wrote an extrememly conservative Game Plan for San Diego, in spite of the fact that the boat is running better and better with each race and the little changes he has been making to setup and ride. Kip is doing an amazing job of acclimating himself to those changes and can drive the wheels off the thing. We all had to buy in to the conservative game plan of San Diego to make sure we had a good, completely intact race boat to send around the globe immediately after San Diego. Once we were through there, Nate promised us that we will go racing "for real" in Doha. Man, I can't wait to see what that looks like. Even though I am the self-professed "FNG" on Our Gang Racing, I continue to be amazed at the talent of the guys that Nate has surrounded himself with, and at Nate's own abilities to stretch the resources that he has into making a race boat that has proven in qualifying that it's fast. Now we get to see what it can do in a racing situation.
There's still a little bit of packing left for me to do and a couple loose ends to tie up. WIth any luck, my next post will be from somewhere "out there."