with a red guitar, on fire -- desire
a little while ago, danielle over at the always-excellent music is art asked me to contribute a piece for her song/context/result series, in which she asks contributors to share a song that has a particular personal meaning and explain the context. when i was asked for my own contribution, there was never a doubt about what experience i would share. but when i originally wrote my piece, i left out a lot of details for the sake of brevity and the resulting piece was a little confusing. so here is my rewrite for one of those rare choices that i have never had a second thought about. it's a bit unlike me to speak so freely about accomplishments i've achieved, but this particular confluence of song, context, and result that this experience represents is what sand is overrated is all about.
by u2 [rattle and hum]
context: from the very beginning of my junior year in college, my sights were set on march and the 1998 ncaa division ii national championship swim meet. every 5:30am swim practice, every 2pm swim practice, every swim meet leading up to march, i reminded myself that my goal was to win the 100 yard backstroke on the biggest stage i would ever face. finally, after 6 months of anticipation, the moment arrived. like every big competition in swimming or track and field, every swimmer entered swims in preliminary heats in the morning and the top eight swimmers advance to the finals that take place later that evening. my good fortune had me as the top seed after the prelims, and one of the perks that came along with that was the choice of a song that would be played as the finalists marched in line out onto the pool deck and to their starting blocks. after some thought, "desire" by u2 came to me and i knew that there was no other choice. and so it was that later that evening, as the other seven finalists and i paraded out to our position, the edge's opening guitar riff and bono's simple "yeah!" signaled that i was ready to fulfill a year's worth of dedication and hard work. it was loud, it was inspiring, it was perfect. i knew, as i entered the water to begin my race, that there was only way this could end. swimmers, take your mark. [beep!]
result: 1998 ncaa division ii national champion, 100 yard backstroke
for the rest of the contributions in the series, visit music is art.