|By Ed Barnes, Staff Writer|
Olympic Journal, Part 4|
Thankfully not much was on the agenda today except to see the venue and to sleep. The time change has absolutely ruined me up to this point and I'm glad that I will be able to crash for most of the coming evening.
The first order of business was to finally see the Helliniko Olympic Complex on the site of the old Athens airport. Some of the airport buildings are still there as I saw signs like "Domestic Flights" a block before turning into the complex. At the entrance, the Greek Army greeted us and demanded to see passes for each member of the softball crew. After passing the security screening, we headed up the stairs of the softball stadium, led by Dot. She was hyper during the car ride over and had been asking to see the venue since we arrived. Like we were expected, music started to play over the PA as we walked into the seating bowl. Okay, they were testing the sound system and it was just dumb luck but it felt cool none the less. The size of the venue hit us, though. Helliniko will host several sports in addition to baseball and softball field hockey, kayaking, fencing and preliminary basketball will be there so when I found out later that it's the second biggest complex behind the main one in the heart of the city, it made sense.
After getting a good look at the field we headed to the upper deck of the stadium to see our broadcast position. Unfortunately we found that we'd be seated directly in the sun until at least the middle of the afternoon. I immediately thought about how quickly I would be scorched and wondered just how long it could take skin cancer to develop. Regardless, this was the Olympics and the venue at least looked like a good softball venue, even if the Greeks had no history with the game.
We found the baseball venue very similar. It has more seats but still it was just a cookie cutter double-A level stadium. It seats 8,000 and its completely symmetric outfield threw me off I've grown used to the strange dimensions of Petco Park. Other than the huge batters eye that was put up, the backdrop was the man made kayak venue which looked like a huge lake at the time we were there. We were told that the water would be made into whitewater for the actual competition. Past the kayak venue, mountains reminded me more of Southern California than Europe and made for a picturesque view from our press box position. Thankfully, that position is tucked under the stadium overhang. Though it's still outdoors, I won't be worried about melanoma.
We headed back to the hotel by the early afternoon and I took the opportunity to nap the afternoon away so I could start to develop any sense of time. Matt and Dot both told me how they were having trouble sleeping through the night like I was. Tonight I didn't take any chances I downed a couple sleeping pills and quickly drifted off.
|Article last modified September 1|