Take 2 — London Calling
American learns the international language of basketball
Editor’s note: Sherry Schriver has met people from a number of nations during her time watching women’s basketball at the Olympics. Here are a few of her stories and observations.
Friday, July 27: I took a test run to Olympic Park — just one Tube change. Piece of cake. I met a couple on the ride home. He was from Iraq and had competed in the 1948 Olympics. They live in the U.S. Southwest; she had some beautiful malachite pieces on.
Friday evening: I watched the opening ceremony at my dorm. We did hear the helicopters — must have been the queen and Mr. Bond.
Saturday, July 28: This is why I came. I’m ridiculously happy to sit in the arena and watch. Three two-game sessions means six games or about twelve hours overall. What does that mean to me? Up at 6 a.m. and head home sometime after midnight. I learned that water is banned from the park but not snacks. This is really good news since several venues ran out of food. I’m so glad I bought all of the tickets. I ran into a lot of people whose home teams weren't playing in the session they had tickets for.
The people! I met a young Brit at the first session. He knew virtually nothing about basketball (called the court a pitch). He was astonished that I favored Russia over Canada, but he was a Becky Hammond fan by the end of the game. She is a U.S. player who plays for Russia. I am in awe of what it must have taken to make that choice.
In the second session, I was near a lot of Aussies, which is always a treat. In the third session, I was seated between a French couple and Montenegrin brothers. Another incredibly young-looking Spanish student is here for the summer to improve his English. He just wants to talk.
Monday, July 30: I noticed the Today Show was set up near the basketball arena on my way into the park. Since they clear the arena and the surrounding area after each session, I used that opportunity to make my first Today Show appearance. OK, I was behind the archery guys while Al Roker interviewed them. But that has to count for something. Just before I left, Ryan Seacrest walked by so close I could have touched him.
I got home with blistered and bruised feet — didn't sign up for quite this much walking.
Wednesday, Aug. 1: I met two other Michigan State alumni at the games yesterday and two people from Vancouver, B.C., plus a bunch of Brits. Imagine going to your first basketball game at the Olympics. My impression is that going to the Games was important to the local people, regardless of what they get to see.
I'm having a wonderful time. So happy to be taking this opportunity, and to be able to share.