An unscripted glimpse at the Canadian Equestrian Team's athletes, supporters & fans before, during and after major games. #CanadaStrong

Archive for September, 2010

Where did the last 6 days go??

My apologies for the incredible long delay in updating this blog. Since I arrived Monday afternoon (Sept. 20) it’s literally been non-stop. The bed is so comfy in my room, but I hardly get to experience it.

There are many things to say, but I need to get up at 5am in order to be there for our Endurance team whose ride kickoff starts at 7:30am. Anyone who knows me will be suitably shocked when reading that I am gettin gup at 5am πŸ™‚

In the meantime, here are some pics including a pic from the Opening Ceremonies tonight which were fantastic! Our flagbearer, Para athlete Lauren Barwick, did Canada proud leading us into the big stadium to wild cheers from the many Canadian supporters who were there.

Many thanks to my Mom who went to Canadian Tire in Ottawa and scored a whole bunch of flags which the athletes and team members waved enthusiastically when entering the arena. Canada was the only country aside from USA whose entire team were decked out with Canadian flags.

Getting organized before the Athletes' Parade of Nations

Getting organized before the Athletes' Parade of Nations

About to enter the main stadium!

Sport's legend Muhammed Ali gives the main stadium a proper christening of greatness - let the games begin!!

The journey begins…

At least for me. Our Dressage team have been in Versailles, Kentucky for the last few days. Our Endurance team is also in the area starting their team training. And our Eventing team is busy in Florida.

But for me, my journey to the Kentucky Horse Park started this morning as I finished some last minute-packing, checked about a dozen lists probably a hundred times, made sure I had my “technology” bag filled with 2 cellphones (my iPhone and my unlocked Blackberry), chargers for both, my bluetooth, charger for that, my laptop, charger for that, my camera, batteries for that, extra batteries…and one last charger for that. I know technology is supposed to be liberating – liberation sure is heavy these days!

And what is it they say about the best laid plans? My leaving day today was preceded by a number of 5am nights (yes, no typo there) trying to get as much of the “paying job” done as possible while taking care of all the WEG-related work that was coming in fast & furious. By Saturday I was feeling exhausted, but fairly certain I was on top of things. That is, until I decided I should bring a small extension cord for the laptop & printer. The journey to locate an extension cord brought my husband to the basement, where he saw steam rising from the back of the room where the sump pump is. We’ve now proven the theory that if a sump pump is left to run continuously for an extended period of time, it will eventually boil the water thereby producing plumes of steam. Who knew!? So promptly added to the list was a trip to Canadian Tire Sunday morning, before I started my Kentucky roadtrip, to purchase a new sump pump. Major props for my husband Al who was then left to install said sump pump while I rushed off to hit the road so that I wouldn’t arrive at my destinationn (Mansfield, OH) in the dark.

Once on the road, things were uneventful until I reached the border. Thankfully Equine Canada had me prepared with a signed letter stating why I was entering the United States: as volunteer chef de mission for the Canadian Equestrian Team taking part in the World Equestrian Games.Β  I figured I would sail on through. I was wrong.

The first border officer asked me the standard questions, but when I gave him my answer as to the reason for my visit, that raised an eyebrow. “Do you have a letter stating this?” I promptly gave him said letter. I was then asked who was paying me “No one -I’m a volunteer”. He then got on the phone, then handed me a piece of paper saying that I’d have to go into the Border Control Office to speak with someone and that my passport would be there waiting for me. It’s a very strange feeling to see your passport go off without you – quite unsettling actually.

So off I went to the Border Control Office, now fully expecting a complete car search and to be delayed a couple of hours. Rememer that commercial they played during the Vancouver Olympics of the couple who are standing beside their car while the border officer is stripping their car? Camera pans out and you see the couple wearing Canadian hockey jerseys?

After a 20 min. wait (not bad really), I was questioned by another officer. Asked again who was paying me (no one, I’m a volunteer), asked what my maiden name is (McGregor), asked why I didn’t change my name (I like my name) then was asked how will I support myself while volunteering for such a long period of time. πŸ™‚Β  I tried not to say “Good question!”.Β  The officer seemed to be happy enough with my answers and gave me back my passport. No car search – yay!!

So off I went again. No further hiccups and I was left to admire the scenery on the drive down to the halfway stop – Mansfield, Ohio – while reminding myself that I will have to deal with my Tim Horton withdrawal symptoms gracefully and get used to money all being the same colour.

Looking forward to arriving in Lexington tomorrow and hitting the ground running….so for that reason, I’m OUT!

The final countdown begins….

It’s now 17 days until the opening ceremonies at the 2010 World Equestrian Games being held in Lexington, Kentucky.

Since Canada’s last major games outing, I’ve been promoted to Team Leader which is a fantastic honour if not a bit intimidating. I say the last part for 2 reasons: 1) I’m following in the large footsteps left by the previous Team Leader Mike Gallagher, who set the bar extremely high and ended his reign with Canada winning Olympic Silver and Gold. As he said to me when he passed the Team Leader torch to me last year “Beat that Kerri!”.

I can tell you that I will certainly give it my all and do my very best to help our athletes, owners and numerous support team members in their preparations so that when it comes to entering that competition venue, they are able to focus on their jobs and lay down personal best performances.Β  I don’t think I have to tell you that to play a small part in this is both a privilege and an honour – not to mention the experience of a lifetime!

The 2010 World Equestrian Games will be my first ‘gig’ as Team Leader….and what a gig! Canada will have 37 athletes, 46 horses, 29 support staff and about 90+ owners. Without a doubt it will be the largest single outing of the Canadian Equestrian Team in history. No pressure!

I’ll be blogging here about my exploits while in Kentucky to give people a taste of what things are like behind the scenes and up close & personal.
You can also follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kerrimcgregor

Hope you enjoy the ride as much as I’m looking forward to it!

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