Indypendence Day

This post is going to be a marathon. (But hopefully not as terrible as running a marathon would be. Maybe more like a two and a half hour Harry Potter movie that you never want to end.)

This week I’ve been so busy. I’ve been running around like a cat that just had a particularly large dose of catnip. It’s the week before the USA Gymnastics Championships in Louisville, and everyone in the office has been going nonstop trying to get everything squared away so we’re prepared. But before I get into all of that I want to talk about my mini-vacation.

I went home two nights before the Fourth of July. It was my first time flying by myself, Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 9.03.30 PMbut everything went off without a hitch although the security lady did want to inspect my bun. We boarded the plane just as the sun was setting, so the majority of the hour-long flight was during dusk/nighttime. Let me say, I’m only flying at night from now on. It was exhilarating. The clouds, which had a dingy orange tint to them from the sunset, looked like the fluff you pick out of the bottom of the vacuum cleaner when it gets too full and stops working. Once it was dark, the cities glowed orange like a bad spray tan on a college co-ed gearing up for spring break. Houses and towers twinkled like stars. I’m a sucker for a starry night. It was mesmerizing, and I couldn’t look away. I need to get out more…

Anyway, once I got home, I visited with my parents some even though it was late. I also got to see my cat for the first time in four weeks! He bit me affectionately for a while. Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 9.03.19 PMTotally normal. On the Fourth of July, I woke up to my blaring alarm at 6 a.m. and got ready for the Peachtree Road Race. Now let me take a step back for a second. I am not a runner. Every year, for about 10 years now, I subject myself to this torture on July 4 just so I can get a T-shirt and lie around for the rest of the day. Every year I train some and then whip out a 6.2 mile run. Every year I’m sore afterwards — like so sore I can’t move. Every year I say never again. Don’t ask me why I do it. I must be crazy.

My time home, as it always seems, was too short. But that’s how it always is, isn’t it? I flew back to Indianapolis Sunday night and the next day started the busiest week of my life. This week I worked on a little bit of everything to get ready for Louisville next week. A lot of the things I did were to make life easier next week — my kind of work. I did everything from writing a field of competitors release for the championships (more than 1,600 competitors), which took about three days to get finalized and ready to send out to the media, reformatted a spreadsheet for ease when it comes to posting results, writing a Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 8.00.06 PMmedia opportunities release for the local media to let them know what each session contained and when it was and writing media advisories for the media day and kick-off celebration. I got to use my fancy Excel formula, which was exciting. Call me a nerd. Go on. The formula turns all that jumble in the picture into something like this when you plug it in: Elizabeth Grimsley, Decatur, Ga., and Caitlyn Stroh of Thomasville, Ga. both of University of Georgia.

I also worked on a lot of releases not having anything to do with the following week’s championships. Eddie Penev was awarded the USOC June Athlete of the Month, which I filled out the application for. Kerri Strug had her second child. The field of competitors was released for next week’s men’s national qualifier. The USOC announced the official delegation for the Youth Olympic Games, which includes four gymnasts. I also proofed releases coming in from France where Scott is covering the 2014 World Acrobatic Gymnastics Championships.

I sat in on a call with a local Louisville newspaper editor as he and Leslie discussed feature story ideas and media day for next week. I also had what felt like 50 meetings and cleaned out the stuff Scott no longer wanted from his old office so the new person moving into it would have a fresh start. I was even so busy Thursday, I almost forgot to eat. I definitely know what Nick means when he says sometimes it’s just so inconvenient.

Although this week was non-stop work, it should make next week a lot easier and a pretty fun event. I even get to take pictures of the gymnastics going on when I’m not doing anything else. I also made sure to plant the seed that if there was a feature story idea a reporter didn’t want to write about, I would be MORE than happy to write it up for the website. I’m hoping next week I’ll not only get to take some pictures of stunning gymnastics but write about those stunning gymnasts as well. Besides that, I’ll be coordinating media at the convention center during the day and helping Leslie with the task at the Yum! Center at night. I might also get to finally meet some of the trampolinists (trampoliners?) in real life that I interviewed for stories over the phone a while back.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with trampoline and tumbling, rhythmic or acrobatic gymnastics, here’s the brief lowdown. Trampoline and tumbling has three and a half disciplines basically. There’s individual trampoline, synchronized trampoline, power tumbling and double-mini. This is not your ordinary backyard trampoline. Rhythmic gymnastics is all about flexibility, dance, balances and dynamic movements. With rhythmic there’s individual and group routines. Its events for this quad are rope, hoop, ribbon and clubs. Then there’s acrobatic gymnastics. It’s similar to the stunt work done in cheerleading or the balancing acts you see in Cirque du Soleil shows. In acro there’s mixed pairs, women’s pairs, men’s pairs, women’s group and men’s group. While watching acro worlds live today, I was already envisioning pictures I could take next week.

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 9.11.32 PMThat’s pretty much it for now. Next week is going to be crazy, but I’m sure with it will come some great stuff to write about and even greater pictures to help tell the story. Until then, go watch some Potterhead Weekend on ABC Family.

Oh, and I forgot to mention the 20,000 Jahovah’s Witnesses at the convention at Lucas Oil Stadium across the street from my hotel this weekend. I’d say at least 100 of the foreign delegation is staying at my hotel. It’s lovely. I’ll leave you with that.