I was young when “Meet the Beatles” was released in the U.S. Just barely ten years old. I’m pretty sure I watched the Beatles on The Ed “really big shoo” Sullivan Show in February, 1964. But I’m also pretty sure I didn’t understand Beatlemania, and why all those girls were screaming and crying and ripping their hair out. But the Fab Four faced some pretty stiff competition for attention in my ten year old life – the formidable likes of Julie Andrews, Colorforms and my Barbie!
A couple years later, I got it. The Monkees exploded onto TV in 1966. I was totally smitten. Beatles smeatles – THESE guys had talent and no funny accents. Classic! I used to pass notes – a quaint, ancient form of texting – in school with a fellow Monkee lover. We drew little pictures in the corners of our notes of Mikes’ cute little wool hat, ever present on his head. Now I wonder if his head ever got hot.
I even saw them in “concert”. I’m still not sure who actually played the instruments, but ignorance is bliss and I screamed until I had no voice.
I’d forgotten how it felt to have that primitive, star struck, visceral response that reduces you to squealing mass of tongue tied tween. Until last summer…
I went to the Tour de France.
I’ll pause for a minute to let that sink in…
If you’re not a professional cycling fan, you won’t get it. I’m not even sure I get it. I don’t even ride a bike.
All I know is that I became a quivering, teeny bopping mess all over again. I saw, live and in person, the professional cyclists I greatly admire and knew only from my Mac and flat screen TV! Incredibly talented, world class athletes in the most grueling endurance sporting event in the world, and some of them were standing right beside me.
On the outside, I played it cool. Most of the time.
Inside, I was a roiling, tumultuous, star struck twelve year old who just wanted to squeal, “OMG, is that Marcel Kittel sitting over there?” and “OMG, there’s Peter Sagan!!” and “OMG…Jens! Jens!! JENS!!!” And sometimes, despite attempts to control myself, it just came squealing out – quietly – anyway. I couldn’t help it.
My 36 year old Australian TDF roommate didn’t know what to make of me. I think I scared her a little. So, okay…you know you’re really kind of nuts if you out-crazy an Aussie cycling fan, right? I think I scared myself a little.
But boy, did it feel good to be so thrilled and excited and passionate about something on such a gut level! To give yourself the permission to feel that innocent joy and limitless possiblity of your youth again after so many years. Catnip for the soul. Fountain of youth for the spirit. Definitely NOT aging gracefully!
Amgen Tour of California this year anybody? I promise, I’ll try to control myself.