Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Where do you want me to start?
I guess I should start with the really bothersome aspects of this entire experience. If I get that stuff off my chest first then I'll be able to move on with the positives of the trip (there were plenty of positives) and not drone on about the BS of it all.
"Donde agua?" "Where's the water?" This was a phrase that everyone should've mastered on the plane from Miami. I recall receiving an email from the organizers where they clearly stated that no one was to drink, brush teeth, or in any other manner ingest the water once we were abroad. This statement was followed by a statement saying "we will have plenty of bottled water for everyone!" Upon arrival I relized that this was not the case. Not only did they not have plenty of bottled water for everyone - they had NO bottled water for everyone. The hotel did have filtered water that they would give you to drink, but upon arrival it was pretty scary trying to decipher what water was safe and what water was not because none of it was coming from a nice sealed bottle. I pretty much beat my head off the table anticipating the entire US team balled up in their rooms dying of dysentery prior to competition ever commencing.
Continuing in this same vein.......... We get up the next morning and volleyball needs to have practice. I come out the front door of the hotel to find that they're out on the sidewalk hitting balls around cause no bus has come to pick them up. Inevitably this turned out to be a positive for me because I really just wanted to work volleyball and swimming and here was my in. I claimed the volleyball team.
Nevermind that we had absolutely no schedule. No practice schedule, no bus schedule, no food schedule, no events schedule - nothing. The coach and players are asking about water, but again, there isn't any. I thought that there would be a simple explanation about the absence of bottled water, so I went to find the team leader. Simply put - he had no water to give. This of course begs the question "why did you send out an email saying there would be plenty of bottled water for everyone?" We did manage to squeeze a few bottles out of his personal stash to take to practice and that was gone before the practicing ever started. I can't tell you what it's like to travel to another country - with questionable hydration practices, with an organization that doesn't see a need to stockpile bottled water for it's athletes. This was quickly becoming an Athletic Trainer's nightmare. So we had the first practice. It was hot, and sweaty, and everyone was awfully dehydrated by the time we got to the Olympic Villa (OV)for lunch. As a team we stole no less than 1 case of water from the OV "cafeteria" and decided then and there that we would make our own stockpile - eff the rest of them. The next day the "cafeteria" began monitoring the water and would only allow a person to take one bottle. Later in the week we would find that if you weren't in the first "wave" at a meal, the water would just be gone (as would food on some occasions).