Saturday, 12 April 2014

2014 Pan American Championships: Day 3

Day 3 in Bolivia was pretty uneventful but it was our second practice day as well as the opening ceremonies so I’ll recap our third day here and give the results of Team Canada’s first day of competition in a brief post tomorrow .

The day began with the team meeting downstairs for breakfast around 830am. Following this we packed up and boarded the shuttle at 930 for our 10am practice time at the club. Upon our arrival we were pleasantly surprised to find that a large portion of the outside entrance to the club had been finished, but this feeling was short-lived, as much of the inside remained the same as the previous day, dusty and unfinished. Some of the court floors had improved though and luckily one of the practice courts we had was one of these. This made for an improved quality and intensity to our practice, which I think benefitted everyone on the team. We practiced until noon and then caught the shuttle back to the hotel.

Upon our return to the hotel, I needed to stop by the front desk and change some American dollars for the local currency, the Boliviano. I had required some cash over the last couple of days and since I didn’t have any, had to resort to taking loans from other team members. The tab I had racked up was becoming substantial so I thought it best to balance the budget before getting too deep into the tournament. After doing this I grabbed a shower in the room before heading down with some of the team to grab lunch at the restaurant. Following our meal we went back to the room and I filled the remainder of the afternoon putting together a blog post for the first couple of days and taking some photos of the room that I’m going to put together for a virtual tour of our villa (stay tuned!).

The buses to the courts for the opening ceremonies were scheduled to leave at 6pm, so the team met down by the pool at 5pm to take pictures before we left. The best of these were posted to facebook yesterday so you should all be familiar with how the uniforms look. This took about half an hour, after which we headed to the lobby and after a short while, boarded the bus for the club.

I really wish I had more positive things to say about the opening ceremonies but the truth is they were pretty terrible. Now don’t get me wrong I understand that there is a lot of work, collaboration, and money that goes into putting an event like this on, especially when a new facility is built to house it, but normally (or at least for the few of these that I’ve attended) there is some form of entertainment mixed in to break up the monotony and/or some type of activity afterwards to promote the social nature of the event. In this instance, there was a local band, which played 3 songs before the ceremonies began, followed by the speeches, which lasted about an hour. After this, the ribbon was cut and the tournament was declared to officially begin. All in all, this took almost 3 hours as we spent about half that time waiting at the venue before the ceremonies began (in true latin American fashion). By this time even those who had eaten a meal shortly before departing were starving and a few of us vowed to get pizza once back at the hotel.

I won’t go into too much detail, as it’s just not that interesting to be honest, but we arrived back at the hotel around 10pm and promptly ordered pizza. For whatever reason it took almost an hour to arrive, and thus social conventions were completely disregarded and it was gone in less than 10 minutes. By this time it was almost midnight so I quickly said my goodbyes and retreated to the room where sleep awaited.

That’s day 3 in the books! I’ll post about day 4 tomorrow, as well as try to get some pics up. We don’t play until the evening so look for another post in the afternoon. Bye for now!

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