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Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Emily Seebohm blew her wad early in the 100 backstroke with swims of 58.2 in the heats and 58.3 in the semis; she only had a 58.6 left in her for finals. Missy Franklin did the opposite, going a 59.6 in the heats, a 59.3 in the semis, and saving her best for last: a 58.3 in the finals, even after having just swum in the semis of the 200 free fourteen minutes earlier.

It was a masterful performance; and Missy is obviously an all around exemplary girl.

I just wish they wouldn't interview her afterward. Am I the only one who feels as if he needs an insulin shot every time he hears Franklin speak?

Everything means the world to her, everyone is just so wonderful, and every new experience is just the greatest ever.

At a certain level, her uniformly upbeat emotional state seems to keep her on an even keel; it must help her swimming to only think positive thoughts. (She is the poster girl for Norman Vincent Peale.)

But there also seems to be an undertone of near-hysteria to her niceness. You almost get the impression that if a single negative thought entered her consciousness, her head would explode.

She reminds me a little of all the people I've met who alway try to say the right thing. I always want to tell them, "You know, you'd be a far more interesting person if instead of always saying whatever it is you think you're supposed to be say, you'd occasionally say what you actually think."

Who knows, maybe Missy really is that nice. Maybe when she was born, the dial just got set to HAPPY, and that's just where she's at neurobiologically. Maybe she was born with an excess of serotonin, and the world is just a great big rave party for her.

She's certainly not a hypocrite: she's turned down an awful lot of money just to be able to have the experience of being on a college team.

(Note to Missy: I've been on one, and it ain't all that great. After these Games you'll be at your peak earning potential: take the money and run!)

Yes, I know I'm a horrible old grouch for pointing all this out.

I guess I'm jealous, partly of Missy's Olympic gold, but mostly of her frame of mind. I only wish that over the course of an entire week I could experience the amount of happiness she seems to feel every five minutes.


Brian Fradet said...

John--A very interesting article, and one that begs the question of where personalities are formed. I personally sense that kids are mainly born with a certain persona (smile on their face or not), etc. from a very early age. I've seen many kids with varying dispositions, that don't seem to correlate with anything. Perhaps it's brain chemistry, the serotonin/dopamine levels or not. Then again, I've seen a lot of certain kids who, while they seem like the life of the party while being a teenager, as they get much older burn out and become depressed. So as for this particular kid, I would say that she's either born with a cheerful and permanent upbeat attitude, or she'll crash and burn in a few years. And only time will tell. From what I've observed, you're a pretty friendly guy, friendly to most regulars, so maybe you might know more. Let's see how long it lasts. Brian

John Craig said...

Brian --
I subscribe to the nerobiological explanaiton myself; i think we're all just wired a certain way.

If I appear upbeat myself, I'm not; it must be a facade. The real me is the one with the sour take on everything and everyone, as demonstrated by this blog.

Brian Fradet said...

John--I wouldn't say that you appear overly upbeat, just normally friendly and pleasant, not a downer at all. If you are in a sour mode, you at least are polite enough not to allow others to know and make them uncomfortable. And lastly, I see that one of the features of this blog is to point out the hypocrisy and inconsistencies in many areas of life, so perhaps it's a good outlet to write about. B

Gilbert Ratchet said...

It's not neurology, it's that blood is her ascendant humor (and they know because they test athletes' blood a lot). She'd have a different personality with an excess of phlegm or choler.

In other news, Canada is pissed that she's not swimming for them:

Greg said...

My daughter swims HS and club in Colorado. As such, we have been around Missy a fair amount the past few years. This is a special kid on several levels. She is the product of very good parents, good friends and many other people who care about her.

I would have loved to see her lactate levels before the 2fr semi, after the 2fr semi, after her 8-9 min cool down, then after the 1bk, then after her cool down.

Beyond her winning attitude and physical stature, I wonder where she is biochemically?

John Craig said...

Greg --
Missy is undoubtedly special. Her talent is amazing, and I suspect her freestyle, which was a touch slower than last year, will come through in the future.

I was just being a sourpuss about her somewhat saccharine interviews, but several people have reminded me since that she just got out of 11th grade, and that I was being unnecessarily harsh. All true.

Yes, I'd be curious about her lactate levels too; I wonder if she has that thing that Phelps was supposed to have, where they just don't get that high.

Anonymous said...

There is a Chinese version of her, Fu Yuanhui.