I started noticing on Sunday.
For so long, those of us working at the Olympics were so consumed with our work that we rarely talked about our families. We reveled in the excitement of the Olympics, focused on the many assignments and opportunities in front of us, and tried to stay afloat long enough to get a sustainable amount of sleep per night.
Things changed Sunday. The weekend brought, for many, a relative lull, in both activity and demand for content. We run far fewer newscasts on the weekend, so we can dial back somewhat on how many stories we produce. Many of us did so, enabling us to catch up with family members who had previous received the briefest of conversational windows.
For my part, those catch-ups – and the simple opportunities to breathe – allowed me to think about my life back home. I quickly realized how much I missed it.
I was not alone. I took part in and passed by conversations that included statements like this:
“Only one more week …”
“I talked to my kids today, and it just broke my heart …”
“I think I’m ready to go home.”
I have seen this happen before. On both of my previous Olympic assignments, I noticed a tendency for journalists to get antsy towards the end of the Games’ first week – which, for most of us, marked the end of our second week in a foreign country. The end draws nearer, and people begin to get both restless and wistful for home – even despite the mountain of work still ahead.