A strange Junior Olympics indeed.
Historically, JOs has been an easy and pleasant tournament from the BC point of view. The events are big, but until the Junior Team events were added, there were only three events per day—not a tough tournament to manage at all. Even with teams, it’s not a complicated event to run.
This year, though, we seem to have passed a tipping point: the events weren’t just large—they were huge, and came with the accompaniment of large numbers of testy spectators. (For purposes of this discussion, you may assume “spectators” = “parents + coaches,” with the emphasis on the former.) More on the atmosphere at JOs (or at least a specific aspect of it) in a day or two.
Otherwise, I’m choosing—mostly for my own sanity—to blog only the scenic parts of the trip to Baltimore.
More often than not, my flights leave at 6:00 or 6:30 am, which means I get to get up at 2:30 or so to get to the airport in time. (This assumes I bother to go to bed in the first place—I’m a night owl and often don’t get to bed until 1:00 or 1:30 am, anyway, so going to bed to get up in an hour or two often seems silly.) Once I get to the airport, I wait around for Peet’s to open at 5:00 am, get my mocha, and keep myself awake until boarding, after which I spend most of the flight sleeping. Though I usually choose a window seat, there’s often not much to see, because the view mostly looks like this:
But I’ve been lucky with my plane travel this season. Either I’ve flown in a day early for setup or I’ve not had to arrive before the eve of the tournament, so I’ve been able to leave home after sunrise. Not only have I been traveling during daylight, but the weather has been spectacular, justifying those window seats.
To Baltimore, there was first a short hop to LAX:
From LAX, there was desert and Rockies and plains (and then it got dark, but I prefer the western geography, anyway):
I suppose it was only to be expected that after a day staring at wide open spaces, I’d be so startled by the optically distracting hotel hallway—I was half-convinced it was all an illusion with mirrors:
I was tickled, though, to learn that my 15th-floor room overlooked Camden Yards. I looked forward to seeing a great view of the ballpark when I got up the next morning. Then, of course, I remembered—I was working a tournament and getting up at 5:30 am for breakfast at 6:00. It would be dark when I left. And we expected late nights every night, so it would be dark again by the time I got back to the hotel. I checked every night, just in case the park lights needed to be tested or something, but this was the view every night and morning:
But then I remembered—I’d changed my return flight in order to be able to attend the Tuesday morning board meeting. Not only could I sleep in an hour or two, but I’d finally have my daylight view of Camden Yards—barely:
Finally—inevitably—I offer the Baltimore carpet collection: