July 26, 2012
LONDON CALLING (DAY 3)
Sleeping in is not an Olympic sport
By Michael Lewis
GLASGOW -- They don't wait for anyone in the Olympics.
And that includes sportswriters with sand in their eyes.
I went to sleep after 2 a.m. on Thursday morning after a long day of covering the U.S. women's team for Newsday and several websites, including this one.
I awoke a little after 6 a.m. and went back to sleep before crawling out of bed at 7 a.m.
I had places to go and things to do, such as returning to Hampden Park only 12 hours after I had left it on Wednesday night.
Honduras and Morocco, you see, were set to kick off their men's Olympic soccer game at noon. I had many things to do before that, such as taking a shower, eating breakfast, checking the internet and writing a couple of stories.
Now, the journey doesn't mean getting to the stadium just at the stroke of kickoff time; a lot of planning has to take place. That includes walking to the other media hotel where the media bus is -- a 15-minute walk (I have backpack that weighs probably some 20 lbs., thanks to all of the computers and electronic stuff I have in it; so that constitutes my daily exercise).
That includes a 15-minute bus trip to the stadium, walking to the ground, going through security, talking to some journalists and finding a seat (it is open seating for most of the journalists, unless you are a news service or a big-time newspaper and have a reserved seat).
I waited, or should I say wasted, a half hour waited for the Honduran team, namely for Roger Espinoza (Sporting Kansas City) and Andy Najar (D.C.), to get their words of wisdom on the 2-2 draw with Morocco.
Unfortunately, I had to leave for the start of the Spain-Japan game (which turned into a stunning 1-0 win for the Japanese).
Before I left, I was told the Hondurans still were partying in their locker room.
Partying after a draw in which the Hondurans allowed the equalizing goal in the second half?
Partying after failing to score despite having a man advantage over the final 18 minutes thanks to a Moroccan red card?
Man, I would not want to see how the team reacts when it wins a game or a championship.
It turned out to be a good day, however.
I got to see some Olympic history as Japan stunned Spain, one of the gold medal favorites (definitely mine), 1-0.
I also got an opportunity to see and talk to Carlos Alberto Parreira, the former New York/New Jersey MetroStars who guided Brazil to the 1994 World Cup crown, for 10 minutes. Parreira is working for FIFA, helping out with its technical analysis of teams.
On a personal note, I was able to buy his fresh fruit in a downtown market. So for £3.20 (about $5), I bought a bunch of bananas and five apples. Finally, I had healthy snacks.
And yet on another optimistic personal note, I managed to call it a night a little after midnight, which I considered progress. Since there were no early-morning appointments, I figured I could sleep late and get perhaps 50 instead of the usual 40 winks.