Sunday, January 30, 2011

a week in greensboro, north carolina (m)

The good news:  Harrison made the cut to compete at the U.S. Championships.  The bad news: the host city was Greensboro, North Carolina.  Not a destination city for anyone for any reason.  I went with a full suitcase and a closed mind.

We took a chance weather-wise and opted to leave the day after a major snowstorm.  People said we got lucky with the weather as that Friday afternoon when we left was sunny and clear.  Honestly, if the venue had been in a nice city, I would have gone a day earlier but the very thought of an extra day in the middle of nothing was not a viable option.  I'd rather drive from Boston than sit there an extra day.

You think I'm being harsh?  Well, I ask you to picture a week in a mid-range hotel overlooking a highway.  The only "establishment" within view was Hooters.  There was a strip club around the corner from Hooters which one could see if one were to crane one's neck. 

The internet service was down more than it was up.  I had to get a few reports in for a project I'm working on so I had to choose between that and blogging.  

Here's what the week looked like.  Breakfast in the room.  Practice.   Lunch in the room.  Practice.  Competition one day, watch friends' competitions the next.  Dinner in the room.  Repeat.  We had no car because the shuttle buses to the arena were free and the brochure said we were adjacent to a mall.  Sears.  We were adjacent to Sears.  Oh, and a place you could go to have your ears pierced.

The days when he competed, I awoke with my stomach churning as if it were on the spin cycle of a washing machine.  I tried to remain calm but it was tough to do when I saw his foot swollen like a balloon.  The trainer iced it and taped it.  He competed with a large ganglion cyst on his foot.  Needless to say, it impacted his performance even though he placed in the top ten which was his goal.  His coach said he was never so proud of him as Harrison never once complained.  It was a test of his character more than anything else.

And me?  I tried to diet.  I bought yogurts at the local grocery store but they froze in the in-room refrigerator which apparently had two settings: off and freeze.  Even Harrrison's Lactaid milk solidified.  I snacked on bananas and clementines.  By the end of the week, however, I broke down and had lunch at the arena.  The healthiest thing I could find was a Chick-Fil-A franchise and, for $9, got four pieces of fried chicken tenders.  I tried to amuse my palette by sampling each of the four dressings: blue cheese, honey mustard, barbecue sauce and sweet and sour.  The blue cheese won, though I'm not sure it tasted anything like blue cheese.

By the sixth day, I found myself slipping into some awful habits....a box of Dots for lunch, for example.  I started eating like a refugee from a trailer park.  The only dinner out was at a Carrabas' chain restaurant which tasted like haute cuisine.  I had Chicken Byron and could only eat half as I had severe pains on my right side under my ribs.  Gallbladder? Gastritis?  Must get it checked out as this is the third episode I've had in the past four months.

Each night, in bed, I thought about my mother and cried myself to sleep.  I so wanted to talk to her and tell her how things were going.

Left the hotel at 4:30 a.m. on the last day to catch a plane at 5:50 a.m. for Washington, then Boston.

Arrived in Boston just in time for another massive snowstorm.

Not a good week.

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