Highs and lows and a bad burrito

Day one of the 2011 World Championships is in the books and while the US team fell a little short of where they wanted to be, we were competitive at all three weights.  I’m sure you’ve read or heard all about the team, what you probably aren’t aware of, or can’t fully appreciate, is the absolute chaos that goes on in photo row on the first day of the Worlds.

For three years running the first day has been insane for us shooters.  In Denmark they had

The Japanese media gets angry!

n’t planned on where to put us, eventually deciding behind all of the coaches and on-deck athletes was a good idea, in Moscow they followed suit and we were in the stands behind the coaches and on-deck athletes, but this year we had highs and lows.

Things started off fine, because  we were right next to the mats _in front_ of the coaches and athletes, but as the day went on (slowly) it started to dissolve into madness, brushed up against lunacy, and finally settled on disorganized madness.  They bounced us all over the place, including a stage set up for the opening performance which we got kicked off 2+ hours before the performance, then they moved us to the sides of the arena.  No respect.  The Japanese media, who don’t like to be pushed around to begin with (they like to push if anything), did not take this situation well. With the event running very, very late and the two hour opening ceremony out of the way, we finally had full access on the stage again, so the finals were fine if crowded, we were just missing a few US guys.  I did get to throw a pretty good body block when two Iranian news guys tried to step by me just as the Iranian 66kg was winning and about to celebrate.  What a great time to step in front of a photog.  The first guy got by me, the second guy did not until I was done.  It helped that he wasn’t much bigger than me.

It was a long long day, so everyone took off pretty shortly after the last medal was awarded.  I was tired and stinky, but did learn that I can walk to the venue, or take a 7 lira cab ride.  Sweet!

The Irnian celebrates.

On traveling: I love “conquering” a new area, city, transit system, that to me is winning when I travel, the only hard part is reminding yourself of that the first few hours you set foot in a new doorstep like a baby gerbil blind and without fur.  Which is why I have to give myself pep talks when things seem down.  It’s amazing what you ca discover in 12 hours, or just by getting a map from a hotel lobby.
Larry (Slater) and I had a chat about traveling, as you will read in his blog, he gets hit on pretty hard by the touts and taxi drivers.  That sucks if his experience is compromised because of that.  He does have a tendency to wear Tommy Bahama shirts which pretty much scream “Tourist” like Sheriff J.W Pepper in The Man with the Golden Gun (arguably the worst James Bond film of all time).  I’m not judging, his collection of shirts is quite impressive; I just think blending in a little is also an option.

I’ve settled into a nice routine, my apartment is awesome, and there’s a little corner store under the parking garage where I can get food for breakfast and lunch.  Today we had a meal at the media center at about 1pm (wrestling started at 1:30), but were not prepared to skip dinner and get out of the sport salon at 11:30pm.  I got home and decided it was a good idea to eat the half burrito I had brought with me from SF that was four days old and had been hot, then warm, then cold, then hot again.  Oops.  I think I narrowly missed poisoning myself pretty bad.

Next up to Betterman, Byers and Haight, let’s see if we can get on a podium.  If Byers can get through the first match he should do well, the Cuban, Russian and Turk are all on the opposite side of the bracket.

About Tony Rotundo