Posts Tagged ‘journal’
As we raced, I kept a journal. I never shared it with anyone. This is the beginning of it.
Once-in-a-lifetime experiences don’t come around often. Second chances at once-in-a-lifetime experiences are even more rare –so rare they’re oxy-moronic, in fact… yet that’s the only way to describe what Zev and I were about to get.
They had brought teams back onto The Race once before. Season 11. Then, it was referred to as “The Amazing Race 11: All-Star Edition”. This time they were calling it “The Amazing Race 18: Unfinished Business” – a little less flattering, but completely accurate. Unfinished Business was exactly what we felt we had left behind after our first go-round, which ended brutally when I dropped Zev’s passport in a dark monastery in Cambodia. We won that leg, but we were disqualified, exiting The Race prematurely after just 4 legs.
“Thanks for ruining my life,” Zev would delicately put it every time the subject came up.
He was only half joking, but if that hadn’t happened – if we – I should say I – hadn’t failed so epically and memorably, we might not have been where we now found ourselves: Back on that bus, heading to the starting line, with a second opportunity to do what most people would kill for just one shot at…
Running THE AMAZING RACE – The greatest Race there is.
From the moment Phil said those dreaded words and eliminated us on that mat in Cambodia a year and a half before, we had allowed ourselves to entertain the notion that maybe – just maybe – the powers that be would decide to do another All-Star season, and maybe – just maybe – they would find it in their hearts to include us… but as the months passed, the slim hope faded.
Then the phone rang, and here we were.
This was our shot at redemption.
Maybe everything does happen for a reason.
The bus left at 7AM and drove for 2 hours. We had no idea what direction we were headed. The windows were completely blacked out. LA was our home turf, but after a few turns I lost sense of where we were and gave in to the mystery of it all – we’d find out soon enough.
The ride was silent. People shared a few words with their partners, but talking to other teams was still off limits. No talking without the cameras. It’s the rule of The Race, and the truth is it’s more intense that way… but after days of sizing each other up, the time to finally break the silence and get the fun part going was just a bus ride away, and it couldn’t come soon enough.
The building pressure was also building pressure on everyone’s bladders, especially Zev’s. During the 2-hour ride he must have gone to the onboard whiz room 5 times.
“I’m so nervous,” he kept saying. And also, “My stomach hurts.”
His stomach always hurts – it’s part of his whole Asperger’s Syndrome thing – so I’ve learned not to overreact. The nerves were understandable – hell, I was nervous too. If he hadn’t been nervous I would’ve been more worried. So much build-up to this moment… and now it was here… and we knew all too well that it could go away in the blink of an eye, with one mistake.
“DBL” – we would say to each other. Don’t Be Last. It would become our mantra.