Training for the Olympic Atmosphere
I attended Star Wars Celebration, a mega convention celebrating all things Star Wars, in Chicago. If you've read my Blurbs for a few years, you know that I published Star Wars Saturday articles in anticipation of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, ran a Star Wars Half-Marathon, and participated in a Star Wars seven movie marathon!
It definitely was a no brainer to attend when I realized that the next Star Wars Celebration was only going to be a couple of hours away (and that it wasn't on Easter weekend!). Since I would still be teaching, I made it easier on myself by only buying passes for Friday and Sunday, giving me Saturday as a rest/recharge day. (Sorely needed, BTW. I'm typing this on Saturday and am so glad I have this day free.)
I felt like this was a good chance for me to experience high crowds in a large city while attending an event that we all enjoy. Kind of sounds familiar, right? If I am going to still keep my goal of attending the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, I wanted a bit of a warm-up.
So what things did I take away from my first major convention, and how do they connect to an Olympics experience?
Plan, plan, plan!
I have attended a small convention before for the Lutheran Women's Missionary Society, where women (and men) gather to speak to missionaries from around the world and find out ways to support them. The planning involves reserving a hotel room, finding where to park, and picking out what panels to attend. (The panels are always a guarantee.)
I have also been to Walt Disney World and Disneyland many times, and I have that planning down to a science. (Shamless plug to my former employer.) The planning involves finding a hotel, buying park tickets, booking plane flights, figuring out any sit-down meals, picking which park to attend on which day, scheduling FastPasses, and maybe even selecting the main attractions to see every day.
Olympic Connection: There is no possible way to attend the Olympics without any planning. If anything, you need to buy a plane ticket! So if you plan on attending, then be sure to gather where you're staying, where you might want to eat, what events to attend, and what to do on the days when you won't be seeing events.
Get ready for people. Lots of people.
Olympic Connection: Not only is everyone a sports fan at the Olympics, there are people from all over the world who are sports fans! If you want to have a worldly experience, the Olympic Games is the place to be. But remember that everyone has different cultures and different ways to do things, so it's important to be respectful of that. Just enjoy the fact that you're all together to experience something amazing!
Don't be disappointed when things don't go as planned.
Olympic Connection: Weather will probably be the greatest enemy to Olympic fans. While planning is great, understand that not all the plans will happen. Don't be specific with your plans. If you go into something saying, "I must see Simone Biles do a perfect vault!" then you might be disappointed. But if your plan is to attend a basketball match, then the goal is much more achievable. And never be afraid to improvise, because some of the most amazing things might happen!
Lines are everywhere. Just be okay with it.
Olympic Connection: You think there won't be any lines at the Olympics? Ha! How many times will you have to go through a security checkpoint? How many lines will you wait in to get to an event? How long will the bathroom lines be? What about food? Learn patience. Figure out how to meditate in line - and yes, I did do a bit of mediation while I was in line! Did I mention learn patience?
Don't forget to hydrate and eat.
I also made sure to bring a giant Tervis tumbler with me. It needed to be empty because the security won't let you bring in outside liquids, but once I got in, I filled it up with ice and water. (They actually had a refill station for pop with a purchasable refillable mug, but I just went with ice water and didn't buy the mug! Yay ice!)
Olympic Connection: It's going to be hot in Tokyo. I really hope they've thought ahead and made it possible for there to be free water stations around the outdoor event areas.
But eating and staying hydrated is all on you. Drink lots and lots and lots and lots of water. Don't be tempted to purchase the food in the arena when it might be expensive and not very good. If Japan is good for anything, it is good with convenience stores. 7-11 is huge there, and is light years beyond the 7-11s you're used to in America! Food is cheap, and usually delicious. If you just need a snack, that is much better to do.
Realize where you are.
It is easy to let the planning, goal-getting, and occasional frustration overtake us. But remember that there are millions of people all over the world who desperately want to be where you are, and you get to be there!
saw myself in the background! (It would take a bit to see me, but I knew where to look!) I have watched this live-streamed for so many Star Wars Celebrations, and was so determined to see it in person. And now I was! Live in the moment!
Olympic Connection: Do I have to say it? Live in the moment! You are watching people win freakin' gold medals! The real deal! You're gazing at the Olympic flame! You're seeing famous athletes from all over the world! It is, for some people, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and millions of people on this earth will never experience it. Enjoy this wondrous experience.
So thank you so much for letting me relate my amazing weekend experience at Star Wars Celebration and find a loose way to connect it to my Olympics blog. All of my points work for many experiences, so make sure to use them!
Weekly Cauldron Check