Special Olympics – part 2
“We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest. We must learn to sail in high winds.”
Grandparents, parents, siblings, cousins, friends and friends of friends; the entire green and gold supporter team was based at the Novotel Hotel in Athens. An information desk was manned by helpful volunteers who assisted with game info, last minute changes and important news about the latest round of strikes; what streets were on fire, which roads were closed. Greece was in General Strike chaos but we were the lucky ones whom after 10 days, would be able to leave.
The athletes were staying out of the Olympic Village with my brother now like the President, very hard to meet or talk to. At least they were all out of the trouble in Athens.
To find out when Matt would actually be bowling (he would bowl on 3 days out of the 10 that we were there) top level security code word: VERY SPECIAL was needed. No one seemed to know and the only way one could find out was to receive a late night secret text the night before from his head coach, Queenslander Shirley. All the coaches had been given Greek mobiles and obviously Shirley was still getting into the swing of hers. The CAPS we stuck on, so every time she sent me info, I felt like she was yelling at me. “MATT IS NOT BOWLING TOMORROW”. “MATT IS DOING WELL AND SAYS HELLO”. “NO, THERE IS NO MORE INFO AT THIS TIME”.
As it was likely Matt wouldn’t be bowling in the next few days, The Swedish Husband, me, his parents and the baby headed out by ferry to the idyllic island of Aegina, about an hour away. OH GREEK ISLAND JOY. Crack open the Ouzo, I’m in heaven. Olympic life is wonderful.
“Hi Theseus, my brother may or may not be competing in Athens tomorrow, I’ll find out tonight when I get a screaming text from his coach, but anyway, what time is the earliest ferry tomorrow?”
“No ferries”, he replied.
“What do you mean?”
“No ferries, tomorrow or the next day, or the next day, it’s just been decided, they are going on strike”.
Quelle surpise. It had been like this from the first day we’d arrived. Oh the high winds we must sail on. “Well then, what time is the latest ferry tonight?”
Yep, I ditched the kid, TSH and the in-laws, packed up my idyllic Greek island life and headed back to Athens to join my sister and mum at the Novotel. And a lucky thing I did because not long after arriving I got the text we had all been waiting for: “YOUR BROTHER WILL BE BOWLING TOMORROW AT 9AM”.
[Photos courtesy of www.sxc.hu ]