Blurtful (adj.): inadvertent in nature and with the potential to be harmful to feelings, image, self-esteem, or judgment.
My team mates and I were walking down the hallway in the Team USA building on our way to the dining yurt of the PanAm Games athlete’s village. At this point, we cyclists had been on the ground in Guadalajara for only a few days; a handful of athletes and staff were still trickling in before competition began. Liz Reap, Maddie Godby, Robin Farina and I were about to board the elevator when off walked USAC’s Olympic Team leader Ken Whelpdale. Liz greeted him with her usual friendly “Hello!” (as Liz seems to know all of the important people) and we went in a semi-circle of introductions.
“Hi, I’m Ken, ” he said as he extended his hand to me.
“Hey, I’m Dana. Dana Feiss,” I replied with a firm shake. Not too firm, not too lame. MAN-SHAKE.
“Ah, so you’re our keirin racer,” he asked.
“Yep, that’s me.”
“Feeling good and ready?”
“Aw, hell yeah! Ready to murder some bitches!” I piped emphatically. Oh, man. Did I really just say that? Blurtful. Didn't even flinch.
Ken blinked for a beat and straightened up. “Well, okay then!” He made his way to the coaches’ room and we proceeded to file into the elevator. As the doors closed, Liz glanced at me.
“You realize who you just said that to?” she said. “That’s our team leader and USOC representative right there. Might want to be careful what you say.”
Didn’t the intros already cover this? “Oh. Shit. Hmm.” I’ve said before that I have peculiar neurological condition in which my lips move when I think – the end result being statements that often push the limits of social grace. In this particular instance I had had a terrible lapse.
Robin chuckled and said “That was awesome.”
“Send me off to the ladies room the next time we run into someone important,” I huffed. I gave Robin a half-hearted high-five and studied the linoleum as we descended, trying to decide if I should be proud or ashamed.
I would learn later in the week that not only did Ken himself curse like a sailor, but that he was rather impressed with my confident response. My stupid knee-jerk reaction turned out to be one of my more socially savvy achievements. Two points for Dana – blurts be praised!
The New Year is everyone’s time to pick something that we need to change about ourselves. We vow to do something that will make us better individuals in some way: lose weight; drive less; get fluorescent light bulbs; be friendlier. But what about things we like about ourselves?
Understand that I’m all in favor of resolutions for self-improvement. But, to add to that, here’s my New Year’s proposition: find something that you like yourself and won’t change, no matter what. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do – chances are that you bring at least one cool and good quality to the table. Something you think a flaw just might be a saving grace.
Go be blurtful if you want. But more importantly: Train hard, ride well, love yourself, and be good to everyone else. Let’s make 2012 awesome – GO TEAM!