October 3, 2010
Hey there Family, Friends and Field Hockey Fans,
Today started off as usual with an early wakeup followed by breakfast, but unfortunately our table was thinned out a bit due to a couple of the boys being a little under the weather. Nonetheless, there was a definite added buzz in the air as we were all anticipating the festivities surrounding the opening ceremonies and were hopeful that the whole team would be feeling better by the evening.
We left the dining hall and a couple security checks later we were on the bus headed to the hockey stadium where we would have our last practice before the start of our Commonwealth Games. Minor complications have been a bit of the norm so none of us were too fazed when it turned out that we had boarded a bus that did not have the proper credentials to be allowed into the stadium grounds. Two laps by bus around the exterior of the stadium and park (~20 minutes) didn’t seem to change the fact that our bus would not be allowed inside the complex, so much to the displeasure of our security entourage we exited the bus and decided to walk.
Once we finally arrived at the pitch our practice went without any problems. The weather on the other hand seems to be getting hotter by the day, so acclimatization has been pretty tough so far. We have been assured that the temperature will be a whole 2 degrees cooler in the coming days, so I’m sure all will be alright!
Having arrived back at the athlete’s village we ate a quick lunch and started getting ready for the opening ceremony! To our team’s great disappointment, two of our guys were still feeling quite ill and as a result would not be able to join the rest of us for the ceremony.
At 3:30 pm we all met downstairs with the rest of the Canadian contingent and boarded buses headed for the Nehru Stadium. The next 4 hours could be summed up in a sentence from Mark: “hurry up and wait!” Every half hour or so we would be told to quickly assemble for something and then we would end up standing around for about an hour before that something would happen. In the end, after an hours wait in a scorching hot tunnel in the bowels of the stadium, we made our grand entrance. The first few steps into the Nehru stadium were quite possibly the most amazing steps I have taken in my life. It could have been due to the fact that we were finally exiting the 45-degree tunnel or the fact that we marched into a stadium packed with around 60,000 spectators, but this was definitely a moment that most of us will never forget. What made the evening that much more special for the team was being there to witness Ken wave our Canadian flag and lead us on our lap around the stadium! The ceremony itself was also fantastic with some amazing dances, music and colors – all in all a night to remember!
We had strategically planned out an exit strategy from the ceremony so as soon as we saw that the last act was nearing it’s end we were already heading straight for the exit area so that we would be on one of the first buses into the village, therefore beating the rush! A few sprints and a bit of pushing later we were safely on a bus and eating dinner back at the village within half an hour.
After this day of excitement we were all pretty exhausted and headed straight to bed. We are all really looking forward to our first match vs. South Africa and hope that you will all be tuning in either online or on CBC Bold to cheer us on from home!
Hope you are all doing well and we’ll check back in tomorrow!
By: Antoni Kindler (Men’s National Team)