Pan Am Fun and Pan Am Games: Day 3

Morning practice and mosquito mayhem.

My uncle Spiro used to call me kounoupi, which is Greek for mosquito, so I imagine that's why I was such a target for them on the docks this morning. I guess that's the price you pay for flat water. And it must be some sort of training technique; kind of like blood doping, but they're sure taking a long time to bring that high-red-cell goodness back to me. I think I got ripped off. But as Monty Python would suggest, always look on the bright side of life, and in this case it's that next time I'm schmoozing with the rich businessmen in the hotel bar I too can say that I got sucked dry on a boat in the wee hours of the morning.

Now I have about 30 bites on me, including 29 from mosquitos and one from my double partner who wasn’t too keen on constructive criticism. Luckily I play well with others, even when pulling 4x2k time trials moments after shaking hands for the first time and learning that he’s been rowing for about as long as the average queue in a Wal-Mart check-out. (I couldn’t be rude and avoid the handshake so I decided to just turn my hand over to hide the fact that I’d accidentally rested it in goose turd.)

Since I didn't scope out the venue before I joined, I missed a few details, like the lack of running water. And by the end of practice my mouth was as dry as a Hugh Grant quip. I forgot my bottle at home and during the sprints I felt like, and probably looked like someone’s grandpa eating sour grapes without his dentures in. Luckily (or unluckily) for me, they club is of town for a regatta this weekend so I can saturate with hotel water and avoid all the traffic. But, the gods of torture did put a rower in the hotel gym so I have that to look forward to. Plus it’s a different model than usual (nerds: Concept II Model E), so it sits about twice as high off the ground and feels like you’re riding a horse but doing all the work. Knowing I’ll be doing Concept II Equestrian all weekend is a little daunting, but it’s unhealthy to go about your day without a minor sense of dread.

Accordingly, the hotel fire alarm is going off and we’re being told to stay in our rooms with a mere 26 flights of stairs between death and safety when they finally tell us the blaze is nigh, so that’s my dread for the day, no need to throw an erg workout in there too.

I blame Greivis Vasquez for being careless with his torch carrying:

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Two hands on the torch! Since I - incoming understatement – “know very little about professional sports,” I had to get someone to explain to me that he's a basketball player and former Raptor. Personally, I think he looks better as a human being. He morphed way more cleanly than Chris Bosh, who is clearly still a dinosaur.

As a small compensation for the scary moments, we’re sporting our tie-dye shirts today, so I can fearlessly eat messy food - and probably a tab of acid to keep with the theme. My guess is that with my current streak of luck I’ll get all the ketchup and mustard on my white shorts instead of the shirt, and then I'll look down at the shirt and freak out at all the trippy colours.


Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto. When the acid kicks in your first thought is, whoooaa brother, I wonder if someone gave this city to Ron, but then it went from Ron to someone..but to who?? ToRonTo…Who got the city next! I bet it was the the government mannn.

Mid-afternoon we made a trip to the Athletes’ Village to deliver some kits and see a few teams formally arrive.

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Team USA arrives at the Athletes’ Village.

While I was there I saw two young guys having a very smiley conversation that sounded like it was about nothing (sadly not a Seinfeld script), and then I realized a photographer was outside the window gesturing at to them to look natural for one of those “candid” moments, like in reality shows where they film the surprise at the front door but there’s a camera following them from inside as they answer the door. Suspension of disbelief is for fiction, frick-off-and-wait-for-a-good-moment is for everyone.

After a handful of other meetings and venue visits, I returned to reality and to my bed. So here I am now, trying to sleep but realizing it’s a fruitless effort (see, rowing does apply to life!). Originally I thought my body was too alkaline from that acid tab, but I just realized the thermostat says 82° so I guess I have an AC problem on my hands, like when Zack Morris had a crush on the same girl.

Have a good sleep, Preppy.