Michael Sullivan Online
Week 20: Mike's Olympic Weekend
CANBERRA AUSTRALIA - 20 September 2000 - This week, Mike attended the Games of the the XXVII Olympiad. On Saturday night, Mike saw Germany defeat Brazil in Women's Soccer at Bruce Stadium in Canberra and the USA men play to a draw with Cameroon. It was amazing for Mike to see how quick all these players were and how they could handle the soccer ball. Mike went with Mark, a friend of Danne's that Mike met the passed week, to Bruce Stadium in the morning to pick up tickets. They waited in line for about 20 minutes and got second row tickets. That evening, they returned with Sue to watch the two matches. In the USA game, the Americans missed some golden opportunites but finally tied the score with a penalty kick. It seemed like justice as Cameroon scored their goal on a penalty kick. Mike had a great time as the fans supported their teams with chants. Unfortunately for Mike, they were seated one and a half sections from the Cameroon supporters so he had to tame down his cheering. After some trouble with the buses out of Bruce, Mike got to bed at about 11:30pm.
Mike woke up int he middle of the night at about 2:30 and had some trouble falling back asleep so he decided to turn on the radio. It was then that Mike realized he hadn't actually turned on his alarm clock. He promptly turned it on and took a couple of deep breathes of relief. After a short night's sleep, Mike got up at 4:30 to head for Sydney. Dave was at Mike's flat at 5:25 and they made the hour drive to Goulburn where they caught a bus for the two hour ride to the suburb of Sydney, Cambelltown. From there, they took the train into Olympic Park. Transportation was really efficient and there were plenty of volunteers to point people in the right direction. Mike and Dave arrived there at about 10:15 for their 12:30 baseball game. On going through security, Mike ran into a small problem: his money clip had a nail file and letter opener on it. The security person called over a police officer to inspect it. After some short discussion, Mike was allowed to keep his money clip. Having some extra time, Mike and Dave wandered around the grounds. They went over to a pavillion that had a display by Samsung where they showed some of their new technology including cell phones with TV's. After they went through the display, they watched a Samsung acrobatic show that was mildly entertaining. From there, they headed over to the Baseball Stadium to see the United States take on Japan.
Dave had never seen a baseball game before so Mike explained the rules and lingo. They sat in the outfield just behind the American bullpen and watched as Ben Sheets, the pitcher, warmed up before the game. The game itself turned into a pitcher's duel; through six innings, there was still no score. In the seventh, the US scored two runs but gave up a run in the eighth. However, it was a throwing error by the American third baseman in the top of the ninth that allowed Japan to tie the score. After three scoreless innings, the Americans hit a two run homerun in the bottom of the thirteenth inning to win the longest game in Olympic history. The weather was gorgeous which made it great to be in an extra innings game. Japan had some great vocal fans sprinkled throughout the stadium while some crazy Americans walked around with flags draped over their bodies or painted on their chests.
After the game, Mike and Dave soaked up some of the Olympic atmosphere by walking around the grounds and going into some exhibits put on by different companies. They then walked up to Kronos Hill to get a good look at Olympic Park. From their vantage point, they were at the same level as the Olympic Cauldron and could clearly see the Olympic Village and the Sydney skyline. After running into a Minnesotan who asked Mike if he had heard a Gopher football score, Dave headed for home and Mike went to the evening baseball game between the Australian and the Dutch. Danne was suppose to meet Mike there, but he was running late and went to the wrong baseball field to compound the problem. He and his sister, Perry, showed up in the ninth inning and saw the Aussies hit a home run to pull within two runs. Unfortunately, Australia's pitching wasn't too strong and they lost to the Netherlands, 6-4. In the middle of the game, Mike encountered an usher who saw Mike's Minnesota shirt and asked if he was really from there. Of Course he answered yes and it turns out she grew up in Albert Lea in southern Minnesota and came to Australia after she married a native.
Because of Danne and Perry's late arrivial, they and Mike hung around for 20 or so minutes to get a look at the stadium. Afterwards the flame burned brightly above Stadium Austrlia and the darkness of night made for a magnificient background. In addition, there were blue lights that shown up on the main stadium. After a cup of coffee, Big Sister, the woman's voice that sounds like she rules the world and we are just her drones, told everyone that the Park was closed. The three of them dutifully followed the rest of the herd until they encountered a ticket center where ticket availabilty was posted. After looking at the piece of paper for a couple minutes, they decided to recycle the paper themselves and so they undid the couple of pieces of tape and tried to get back in the herd. They weren't sure exactly which direction to go but they'd caught the end of a message a volunteer had proclaimed over a megaphone. Mike then asked him what he's just said and he responded through his megaphone in a rather snooty way, "For those who weren't listening, you go over the bridge and..." Apparently, it had been a long day for him as well. By this point, Mike was pretty tired. It was about midnight and they got on their train to head to Danne's car. On the way there, they looked over the ticket availability and decided to try and get something for the following weekend. After train ride, they dropped off Perry and Danne and Mike headed back to Canberra. On the drive home, Mike and Danne talked about everything from dance music to law. Finally at shortly after 4am, Mike arrived home tired and smelly. He'd had a great day and saw the Olympics. Mike is going to go back to Olympic park next Saturday to see a session of table tennis and anything else he can get tickets to. However, there aren't too many tickets left so he can't count on too much.
Mike Goes Skiing Again
While the Olympics were very exciting, Mike went skiing again earlier in the week with Danne and Alistair, a researcher at the supercomputer facility. Alistair was a very experienced skier and Danne wasn't too far behind him. Mike was the one that held things up a bit. They started out by going down the really hard hills and then later on they kept going down the really hard runs. Mike kept up in the morning and conquered his nemesis from last time with relative ease. It helped that it was properly groomed. Mike still had some trouble with a mogul run and survived a couple really steep runs. One of the more fun runs was one where Danne led the others through the trees and fresh snow. At times, the trail narrowed but it was lots of fun. After a few more runs, Mike was getting pretty tired and they headed off to the chalet for lunch.
After lunch, Mike was pretty tired and skipped a few really hard runs and just waited for Danne and Alistair to come down. On one section, Danne took a T-bar up the mountain by himself while Mike and Alistair followed on the next bar. About half way up, Mike made a comment in jest that it looked like Danne was going to run into that pole. Sure enough a few seconds later, Danne was wrapped around the pole. For a moment it looked as though he'd recover but alas the pole had stopped his progress and he had to ski back down a little earlier than planned. In an exclusive interview afterwards, Danne said that he saw the pole coming but couldn't steer out of the way as the snow was a bit icey and very smooth. By the end of the day, Mike was exhausted and quit skiing an hour and a half before he had to. Mike ahd planned to meet them at the ski tube station for the 4:32 train. The train showed up but Danne and Alistair hadn't. Mike boarded the train wondering where they were. Once he'd got to the bus, Mike called Danne after he informed the bus driver of the situation. At first the driver was a bit concerned but soon he realized that the perfect weather had kept about a third of the bus on the slopes a bit too long. After the next train arrived, the bus was able to head for Canberra. To end a long day, the three went to King O'Malley's for a drink and a bit of dinner. It was the second night in a row that Mike was there as he had gone there the night before with Steve before Steve headed to New Zealand for a two week holiday.
On Monday, Mike had a lovely dinner at Mark's house. Mike had some wine and watched the Olympics along with Danne, Sue and another Mike. Mike was still recovering from the weekend on Tuesday. In addition, Mike has been attending baseball pratices on Tuesday and Thursdays. The first game is scheduled for October 8, which doesn't allow much time for Mike to hone his skills.
Here ends Mike's twentieth week in Australia.