After I graduated from Stanford in 1996, where I had founded the Stanford Water Ski Team, I moved to Orlando, Florida to work for world-record-holder pro water skier Jennifer Leachman.
In return for 8 hours of work per day, I was paid in the form of two free ski rides – one with instruction, one without – and permission to live (illegally) in the unfinished attic above the pro shop and ski school. But I was following a dream, so the exposed-framing walls, the utility sink as a kitchen, the enormous flying cockroaches, and the hot plate as stovetop were worth it.
I had water skiing goals. Big ones. I wrote them on 8×10 piece of paper and pinned them to the wall. On each paper was a slightly higher slalom course score, with a blank line at the bottom. As I accomplished each score, I wrote the date of achievement on the piece of paper. Most of the dates were still blank. But they went as far as I would need to win on the women’s Pro Tour someday: 3@38′ off. That means skiing around three turn buoys at 34mph using a rope that has been shortened by 38 feet. At that length, the rope is several feet shorter than the distance to the buoys.
One day, Jennifer’s husband went up to the attic for something. He came across my goals pinned across the wall and scanned through them. He snorted, laughed, and said to my friend – who was on the phone with him – “She’s never gonna be able to do that!”
That was 1997.
Six years later, in the spring of 2003 at Cottonwood Lake in Brighton, Colorado, I ran 3@38′ off in a record-capability tournament. So there.
(By that time, not only had the qualification for the Pro Tour steadily increased over the years, but there wasn’t even a women’s Pro Tour any more, so I couldn’t join the tour. But at least I achieved the original goal.)
“Catch Me” is a song for when people don’t believe in you, like Jennifer’s husband didn’t believe in me. It’s for when you’re toiling unrecognized and unappreciated. When you haven’t found your stride yet, but you’re trying hard. This song is to remind you that your work adds up, even if it doesn’t feel like it day to day. Even if people might not appreciate or even like you. Even if you don’t fit in. Even if you feel like you’re going backwards sometimes.
Honestly, this is the way I feel a lot of times about the band. We’re doing this because we love it, and the first focus is on the music… but there sure are some ups and downs. We’re grateful, and honestly and pretty amazed to be playing theaters lately, but by the same token, we got booked for only one community festival this summer – less than ever before.
So I wrote this song during a period when I was feeling down about where it was all going, which felt like nowhere. I wasn’t sleeping well, I was working really hard, I was wired and jittery, and all the effort didn’t seem to be adding up to much at all.
But then this is the song that every producer we’ve talked to wants to work on the most, so…. there you go.