Thursday, February 9, 2012

we are the champions

I didn’t go to work yesterday! How great is a Wednesday vacation day?

It was a beautiful day in southern California, I don’t know what happened to winter but I gotta say, if this is global warming, I am a big fan. It did rain for a few hours on Tuesday, maybe that was winter?  Anyway.

Although yesterday was a stunningly sunny day that allowed me to continue to extend the lifespan of my Hawaiian glow, I did not spend the day at the beach. I chaperoned a field trip with my girl’s 5th grade class! She goes on field trips with absurd regularity, almost weekly. This week there are two.

Back in the day when my kids were wee, I valiantly coordinated my work schedule so that I could volunteer in their classrooms and drive/chaperone all field trips. Fortunately, we all tired of this perpetual parental presence at about the same time in life. Nowadays my school involvement is less hands on, although no less relevant. I turn forms in on time, I send checks, and I manage the class webpage. Win-Win-Win. Every once in a while, however, a field trip is announced and I feel compelled to volunteer. This was one of those whiles.

Cue Bugler’s Dream, it’s the Olympic Training Center!

I love me some Olympics, I really do. And there's something so passionately appealing about the idea of elite athletes living and training in a microcosm of reality right here in my very own 'hood. It was built in 1990. It's free and open to the visiting public - how have I never been there?

Needless to say, I jumped at the chance to chaperone this field trip. I even yanked my boy out of school for the day, he who has had no more than ZERO field trips all this year. On the absence form, I offered the excuse: "educational opportunity." Do I lie?

It was awesome, and awe inspiring. Not at all over the top PR, just a low key tour on a couple of miles of paved pathway in and around the complex, led by volunteers. We saw the facilities for crew, track and field,  beach volleyball, soccer, lacrosse, rugby, archery, and BMX.

We had the chance to see some of the action, starting off big with  Lex, a long jumper whose attention we caught by being a generally loud and 10  year old pack of spectators. We were excited to come across our first obvious athlete, so we hollered and cheered when we saw him warming up on the track, and he waved and smiled at us, so we stopped to watch. We had no idea that he was totally blind, we were entranced as a guide runner clapped his hands overhead to designate the landing site toward which Lex launched himself.  Our guide stopped for a minute to ask the kids if they'd ever felt like they couldn't do something.

Lex is in a white tank, his guide is in a blue USA tshirt

Soccer field in foreground, BMX run in back - the one that was built to replicate the one in Bejing. London version is under constriction 
One of the kids in my girl's class is involved with youth BMX, and his coach came and chatted everyone up. Again with the "you can do it" and the "follow your dreams"... what's to become of this next generation?

Busted wing, but he's hoping to be one of the three BMX athletes to represent team USA in London 

Beach volleyball with its magic sand... it doesn't stick to your skin!

Throwin the ol' discus
So we had this whole great tour, then suddenly it was time to eat and someone mentioned having the bus come early but it was barely noon and this trip had been scheduled for the whole school day! I was suddenly cast into the common "i have to be a responsible mom but I really just want to stalk more sexy athletes" conundrum. Turns out that a huge corporate sponsor had the run of the joint on this particular day, and had opted not to allow our school group into the visitor center to view the inspirational Olympic film or see the more historical, PR friendly aspects of the venue.


So all the kids piled onto the bus and headed back to school. Except for my kids, and me. So they didn't want school groups up there, huh? We were no school group! Commence inspirational  film!  

Commence inspirational photo ops!

Commence crashing of private event viewing!

That's what I call an educational opportunity.


Me, You, or Ellie said...

Oh, how utterly gorgeous. Look at those mountains! Look at that facility! Look at those blue and green trousers!

You all -- you and your children and every person in Southern California -- looks awesome, and how *exciting* you got to get up close and personal.

Oh, I am *so* excited for the Games of the XXX Olympiad.


Pickles and Dimes said...

So cool! I love that you came back and crashed the private event. That's gold-medal craftiness at its best!

Your kids are totally going to remember this day.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

I too love the trousers! And that one mountain shot is excellent. it makes me want to head down there, RIGHT NOW. I would, of course, hope to run into Lex while there. I mean it is not every day that you find yourself in the "i have to be a responsible mom but I really just want to stalk more sexy athletes." Ooh, good idea, we go together and leave the kids at home. (Following their dreams.)

I must say though, Jacquie, bronze? C'mon, girl, you're gold all the way!

Excellent, and educational, post! Love it.