Crazy trip proves to be well worth it
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Hello from Berlin, Germany.
As the 2009 World Championships of Track and Field come to a close and the trip of a lifetime for this track coach nears its end, I can take the time to recount what has transpired in the last two weeks with a little more perspective and humor.
I receive a call at 6 in the morning from my dad informing me that after two years of planning this trip together, he is forced to cancel due to a cancer diagnosis the previous day. He wants me to go ahead without him and choose someone to take his place on the tour.
After the initial shock and his reassurance, I of course tell my wife that I would like for her to accompany me to Germany in his stead.
What next? Plane ticket? Passport? Work?
Oh yeah, what about the kids? The answers to these questions produce the most hectic five-day span imaginable.
My dad’s plane ticket is non-transferable. Great! We’ll just buy Nancy a plane ticket to match my itinerary. What? $1,872.01?
But what if we cannot get a passport on short notice? Let’s try to get a passport first.
What? We have to show the plane ticket to get an emergency passport? Great!
Put it on the credit card. What?
We have to be in Denver by 1 p.m. today to get the passport application processed? Great! Drive safe, Nancy.
I had better figure out what we are going to do with the kids for two weeks. Oh wait, I have jury duty today. Great!
How am I going to make all of the necessary phone calls?
Fast forward. My mom will fly out to stay with the kids for the first week and Nancy’s dad will cancel his vacation to stay with the kids for the second week. Scary thought, but we run with it.
Passport place in Denver says show up Tuesday at 11 a.m. and we might have your passport ready. Cross your fingers. Yes, the passport is waiting for us.
OK, pick up mom at DIA, drop me off at Red Rocks for a concert, let her take my car and kids back to Glenwood, and hope she returns it for us to have after the trip.
Shuttle to DIA, fly to Washington D.C., fly nine hours to Frankfurt, Germany. I am a self-diagnosed ADD PE teacher. I can’t sit still for nine hours. Great!
OK, we made it to Frankfurt. Now let’s find that $14 per person train fare to Berlin I found online. What? The cheapest train fare will be $170 per person? Great!
No thanks, we’ll just rent a car and drive. What? Every car rental at the Frankfurt International Airport is sold out? Great!
We were happy to get on the train and set our bags down and sleep for four hours. “Tickets, please.” What? We are sitting in first class and we have second class tickets? Great!
So sorry. No available double seats in second class? Great! See you in Berlin, Nancy.
We arrive at the Berlin train station. How do we get to our hotel? I should have learned a little German before this trip. Great! Hop on another train and we finally arrive at the Maritim.
The next nine days we take the city train system to and from the Olympic Stadium. This is how everyone in the greater Berlin area gets to and from the stadium. Time it wrong, and you are packed in there like sardines – and the smell is not much better. I feel bad for those that possess a hyper-sensitive sense of smell – like my wife.
Despite the trials and tribulations, this was a wonderful trip and an incredible experience. Thank you for allowing me to share it with you.
Dad: get well soon. Bryce and Bailey: mom and dad are on their way home.
The United States closed the meet in triumphant style by winning the men’s and women’s 4×400-meter relays.
The women’s team of Debbie Dunn, Allyson Felix, Lashinda Demus and Sanya Richards ran a world leading 3 minutes, 17.83 seconds and were paced by Felix’s split of 48.76 and Richards’ 48.37.
The men’s team, consisting of Angelo Taylor, Jeremy Wariner, Kerron Clemment and LaShawn Merritt, also ran the fastest time in the world this year clocking 2:57.86. Wariner led the men with a 400 split of 43.52.
The U.S. collected more hardware on the final day with Bernart Lagat claiming silver in the men’s 5,000, Shannon Rowbury garnering bronze in the women’s 1,500 and Brittney Reese celebrating a gold medal in the women’s long jump.
Way to go, USA!
Blake Risner is Glenwood Springs High School’s track and field coach and is currently overseas in Berlin taking in all the action at the World Championships. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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