Thursday, September 13

After a hiatus of a few months, I'm back on the blog again. This is the second year in a row that I have taken a break from writing over the summer. During the school year, I usually preach twice a week, and often teach another time or two, and I guess I just get tired of "talking" so much. But now I'm back.

I'm writing this post from a track in Riccione, Italy. For those of you who don't know, I am one of 14 track and field officials from the US invited to work the World Master's Championships. This is the largest of the world championships, with almost 9,000 athletes from 96 countries ranging in age from 35-97. They compete in 5 year age divisions and 430 are from the US. The meet is actually held at three different stadiums in this area, with Riccione being the major one. The others are at Misano and San Giuvanne. This is my second international meet (the first actually outside the US) and it is a great honor to be here. The meet actually started on Sept. 4, but I have had trouble finding internet connections! But I'll write a little at a time so, if you're interested, you can read a little at a time.

Some of the athletes here have been very accomplished. There are many former Olympians who are still competing. In fact, Willie Banks, a former world record holder, is here. And there are others who were never stars but who love to complete. Since there aren't any entrance standards, whoever wants to enter (and pay their way to Italy) can compete!

The trip here was a long one - about 32 hours of travel on three flights, six trains, a taxi, and about 14 hours in terminals. Which was about two trains and four hours more than I anticipated. Lesson one: not all train stations are open all the time. I discovered that as my train zipped through where I wanted to get off at 1:15 am! The train finally stopped 45 minutes later. It took a while to find my way back.

The hotel we're at is nothing fancy, but the food is great. A big continental breakfast in the mornings and a huge buffet of pasta, seafood, beef, pork, etc. every night - with a half liter of wine per person for the wine drinkers. It sets a pretty high standard for our Arkansas meets!

I'll quit for now, but will try to post more later.

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