Monday, February 22, 2010

Two-Man Bobsled Finals

Today was Sunday, and it started with a walk then a bus ride then a walk to the Multi-Faith Centre at the Athletes Village for a worship service with some athletes, some volunteers, and some chaplains. Good music, a good message on John 1:19-34 (where John the Baptist directs all the fame to Jesus), and the Lord's Supper. Then chatting with a couple of the athletes before they headed to breakfast.

From there, I connected with Matthew, the chaplain from Australia, and we had lunch at a very good (and very reasonably priced) Greek restaurant in Whistler. Then we met up with Lindsay - our young Canadian friend who works with us in the Multi-Faith Centre - and my friend Sid Hopkins, and the four of us headed to the bobsled track to watch the race with John's mom, Betsy, and his sister, Meg.

After a short gondola ride that lets you off near the entrance to the bobsled track, we were almost the first people in line. Lindsay needed to buy a ticket to the event but the ticket booth didn't open until 1:00 PM, which was the same time the gates opened for the event. So what did we do? Well, Lindsay, the polite Canadian was just going to wait. I, being a typical American, didn't mind asking loudly to the crowd, "Does anyone have an extra ticket!?" In about 10 seconds, Lindsay had purchased a ticket from a nearby spectator who was more than happy to sell his extra ticket. That's one big difference I've noticed between Canadians and Americans - Americans don't mind being a bit loud and taking charge; Canadians are quite a bit more laid back in an effort to not offend anyone. Maybe they inherited the "polite gene" from the British, and we Americans didn't get it passed down to us!

Before the bobsled race began, we hiked up the mile-long track to the grandstands at the Start Area. We knew these seats would become premium, so that's why we arrived there about 2 1/2 hours before the race. They were filled in a very short amount of time. Since there was so much time before the race began, Matthew and I did a little educational/comedy routine we called "Bobsled 101" and had the crowd at the start deck laughing. Leave it to an American and an Aussie.

From the bobsled track, I was able to text with Pastor Rick Wilburn from Tupper Lake, NY who was traveling today to connect with More Than Gold on a mission trip to Vancouver this week. He and a father/son mission team (the Wittemores) from Plattsburgh are serving together.

The two-man bobsled race was a good, safe race of extremely fast sleds. Our USA teams slid well. Holcombe's team was 6th, Napier's team was 10th, and Kohn's team was 12th. They all hope to do even better next weekend in the four-man competition. Congrats to the Germans, Germans, and Russians for their gold, silver, and bronze performances today.

After the race, I was able to stay at the track a little bit to watch the women's bobsled teams practicing. Our friends Erin Pac and Elana Meyers were among the teams practicing. I watched a bit of practice with Erin's boyfriend Peter, who is a good friend of our family. Peter's friend Josh came with him. We also met Elana's dad, who was also there to watch practice. The women's competition is on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Next we went back down the gondola, connected with Wynn, and headed over to the Lake Placid Frienship House here in Whistler. (You can find the Lake Placid Frienship House on Facebook.) We joined in a nice reception being held there to celebrate the Lake Placid athletes and all the athletes who are competing in the Games, and to give everyone a chance to connect. I had some great chats with several people there.

After a quick meeting with John to tell him "great job" on his race, it was time to go back to the host home. When I got back to the host home, some friends from Hebron Baptist Church (Dacula, GA) had arrived. They are here for a one-week mission trip. [Hebron is where I served as a youth pastor for 9+ years before moving to NY.] Some of the guys on the team that has come here to Whistler have joined us on mission trips in Lake Placid before. It will be good to serve with these guys for a few days.

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