I’ve been around our neighbourhood near Copacabana more than a few times, we drive through Beautiful Downtown Barra to get to the press centre and even though I was scrunched down in my seat to avoid the bullets on the way to and from basketball I saw enough of a small business area to realize that not every store, every corner is hawking Olympics merchandise.
Even here in Barra where 15 sports are being contested in basically the same park, there is no ginormous store that sucks the people in like to the swirl of a tornado and separates them from their hard-earned Reals.
And the downtown streets, at least in our neighbourhood that’s about five or six blocks up from the beach, the kiosks on the street will sell you chocolate and magazines and fresh air but they aren’t clogged with shirts or souvenirs or knickknacks that no one basically wants.
Things I have now said out loud:
“Could you please put the fencing on that television? Thank you.”
It was the first Olympic tennis match I covered – the odd Rogers Cup day has been in my past – and I guess the one thing that struck me was how small and out of the way the court was that they used for something as important as a semifinal.
It was way in the back, only held a couple of thousand people, tops, and it was so crowded there were fans outside the fence who’d ripped holes in the mesh draping so they could watch, kinda like a modern day Knothole Gang (Google it, young ‘uns).
I get that there was rain early in the week and they got backed up but to ask players of such international significance as Daniel Nestor and Rafa Nadal to play a medal match on a court with no replay, no full cast of line judges and so far off the beaten track diminished the moment.
I don’t know if we’ll ever get enough to make it worthwhile, and I don’t know if my new friend Tash is around on the weekends to help us out but I can start putting a mailbag together if you get to firstname.lastname@example.org and do your business.
Things I will never get used to and it’s in the TMI department but being asked to dispose of paper in a garbage bin rather than the toilets is a thing here in the Main Press Centre, aka, jail.
Ate a new place last night, a joint that opened right next to our hotel about 24 hours earlier. Solid risotto, the Chopp was either Brahma or Stella so I switched back and forth and we might have found at least a secondary home.
So, I see the schedule is out for the HOTH and, man, at first glance it looks like a tough one.
And I have yet to speak to The Mighty Quinn about it but I cannot imagine flying home from Salt Lake (you have to go through somewhere, no directs) on Dec. 24 and then back out to Portland on Dec. 25.
That’s pretty much not going to happen.
Three things that aren’t too bad
Three things that aren’t too good
Anyway, that’s how we look at things when we get a chance to see how the season might unfold.