Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Beijing arrest? No thank you.

I am trying to figure out exactly what baby 'gear' I should be taking with me to California and to the meet. Should I plan on being allowed to bring the stroller in? Should I ditch the stroller and just plan on using a sling? Baby Bjorn? Moby wrap? Should I attempt to pack our homemade baby food or just bite the bullet and buy baby food there? How should I prepare Annabelle for the time change? I think the hospital forgot to give us the baby manual. Can I borrow yours?

My other minor concern is event tickets for the Pan Pacific Games (Pan Pacs). I just bought my all-session pass for $106 assuming that Annabelle will not need her own ticket. Fair assumption? Fingers crossed. If she does need a ticket, this meet (not including travel expenses) will cost us $212... for a swim meet!

The cost of this trip is slowly but surely creeping up (and up, and up, and up). I thought "Yippee a big international meet right in our own backyard... this is going to be great... and cheap!" Yeah right. Thankfully (kind of), because I never took my trip to France I used my Delta credit to buy my plane ticket to California. Not a bad deal, though I was really hoping to wear a beret this summer. Don't tell me that I could still wear a beret... that's just ridiculous.

I received a question a couple of weeks ago regarding tickets. "Don't athletes' families get free event tickets?" Nope (hence the $106 charge on my credit card). This is not usually an issue; tickets are usually only $10 or $15 a day at most (not cheap, but doesn't totally break the bank) until it comes to the Olympics. USA Swimming reserves 2 tickets per athlete for each day that he or she competes (which we totally appreciate), however, there are a few things about this arrangement that make things difficult. First, the only day athletes are garaunteed to swim are prelims. Then you have to retrieve new tickets for the days of semi-finals and finals. Luckily this has been a problem---in other words, at both Olympic Games Mark has qualified for semi-finals and finals. The second issue occurs when you have so many family members willing to travel around the world to watch you swim (yes, I traveled to China and back--even threw up in the Olympic bushes but that is a whole different story--to watch Mark swim for a total of 3 minutes). In 2008 Mark's mother, father and sister traveled to Beijing as well as my mother and I. One of Mark's dear friends from high school (Go Firestone) and his wife also came to cheer for Mark. Let's do the math... 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7... less the 2 free tickets. That leaves us with 5. 5 tickets short. Ugh.

We searched ebay, ticket websites (some scams), ticketmaster and other organizations selling tickets. It was a nightmare. Yes, there was an $800 ticket. Yes, we bought it. Before the Beijing Games there was a big scare that there would be no scalping tickets and anyone seen buying or selling tickets outside of the venues would be arrested. I certainly did not want to get arrested in Beijing. This is what led us to our crazy ticket-searching project.

See, in Athens in 2004 you could pretty much find a ticket 10 minutes before just about any event at any venue. Piece of cake. But almost a full year out from the Beijing Games I let people get to me and I let myself get nervous (imagine that).

The reports of ticket scalper arrests scared the mess out of us and scared us into $800 ebay tickets. Of course, once in Beijing we saw plenty of tickets being bought and sold and no arrests. Ugh. Also, dissappointingly, there were empty seats at every venue we visited. They actually had "seat fillers" to make each venue look more crowded for tv.


Anyway, Annabelle and I are hanging in there without Mark. Mark, on the other hand, is really seeming to miss us (oh, who am I kidding... he is really missing Annabelle... I guess he is missing me a little bit, too). He says that training camp has been "pretty good." Whatever that means. He got a massage today and said that he certainly enjoyed his 'recovery' day (easy training days that follow a day or two of difficult trianing days to allow your body to recover) today.

When I asked, "Are you getting excited about the meet?!" He said, "Not yet."

This is equivilant to me asking, "How was practice?"



Well, we are getting excited.

Please comment to tell Mark good luck and share your support. You are also welcome to email him at

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