Cuba Heartache

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This is Diana Nyad for KCRW, and this is The Score.

Hello, everybody. It's been a while. While I was down in Key West over the summer and into the fall, pursuing my lifelong Extreme Dream of swimming from Cuba to Florida, my buddies here at KCRW not only graciously gave me some time off from my weekly Score duties, but I'm sure you noticed that they reported my progress and the weekly drama of the endeavor with great enthusiasm. Our boss/ guru here, Jennifer Ferro, led the KCRW gusto. Matt Holzman dived in with weekly passion….and compassion. Sarah Spitz created a web presence that allowed me to hook in with all of you who have your own stories to tell.

In the end, after 15 months of grueling training, fundraising, and considerable stress in obtaining government visas from both sides, it turned out to be an unprecedented year of Atlantic hurricanes and heavy Easterly winds. In the end, for 2010, my Extreme Dream was not to be. I can tell you that the disappointment ran deep through our entire team.

This is life. I am very sure that every one of you listening today has experienced heartache of much greater magnitude than what we just went through in having to pack it up, after working so hard, after believing so resolutely. YOU have known loss, disillusionment, the despair of letdown after putting all your resources, your heart, your soul into something you deeply cared about, only to eventually face an outcome you never wanted to face.

So what do you do? Crawl into a corner in the fetal position? Maybe. You're allowed a period of lament. Perhaps ironically, I prepared for absolutely every detail of this fairly complex expedition. From tricky navigation to dangerous sharks to the prospect of non-stop swimming for two and a half days, we had an expert team, ready to tackle all of it. The ONLY thing I didn't steel myself for was not even having a chance to try. It was a month ago today, October 4, when I dived in for yet another training swim, two full months after training should have been completed, that the descending water temperature sent a chill, first along the skin, then into the spirit. It was over. Denial wouldn't let me accept it. We spent one more desperate week, talking ourselves into warm and calm water materializing on the heels of Hurricane Pauline. But, in hindsight, it was October 4 when we knew. It was over.

I spent a few days in the negative space of "All that for nothing?"

But the spirit rekindles. And now, just a couple of weeks past that October 4 chill, I am brimming with all the privilege and joy that came through the commitment. To get in that kind of shape again, to work with experts from so many fields and draw my own confidence from them, to hear from so many of you, not only your well wishes, but the stories of your own commitments. It was a force of positive energy, all of it.

And the dread and disbelief of just a couple of weeks ago, not being able to imagine training again, organizing it all again, has quickly turned to hope and appreciation. What a way to spend one's time, digging down to one's ultimate potential…..and bonding with a community who wants to lift the inspiration even higher. Thank you all for your support over these last few months. It meant a lot. You helped a lot, I assure you.

So now, with the Cuba Dream officially postponed to next summer, I'm back at the Score desk, excited to share the poetry, philosophy, and eccentric stories of sports with you.

This is Diana Nyad for KCRW. Tune in for The Score next week.



Diana Nyad