Saturday, January 22, 2005 - Perspective
World Universiade Update: Adventures of a Bathroom Nature

- By: Magi Scallion

Sunday-race morning dawned (January 16th) in the usual sunshine-manner of Seefeld, Austria. Most of the teams' mood and physical disposition matched the weather... with one ominous exception. But more on that in a moment.

Sunday's 10 km skate race for men and 5 km race for women were excellent for most involved. The boys produced respectible results and the ladies all achieved at least one square of chocolate. Both races were very tight and a few seconds change in time would have produced signifcantly different finish positions. Of particular interest on the ladies' side gaming pool was a sundae-reward for the closest estimate of the winning time. Magi's guess of 13.00 was closest to Svetlana's 12.56 victory (although a narrow margin over Sarah's guess of 12.49).

One name, Skeets Morel, denoted on the results list by DNS, was the beginning of this weeks' masculine woes. It is suspected that the stomache flu originated from the communal feeding grounds as other teams also experienced the effects. This particular affliction began with vomiting and irregular sweating and culminated with diaherra and pure exhaustion. The entire men's team was struck down to varying degrees: Mike and Skeets being the hardest hit and Carl and Timo escaping nearly unscathed. Even Gibber was not left untouched.

Tuesday's men's relay team was an indication of the wounded as coach Matt Cummings had to strap on a set and step up to the line. The racing men, however, produced a very respectible result and the boys have been in better health since. All of us, though, are feeling the effects of Gibber's home remedy: an overdose of garlic. We love him dearly but have all had our gag reflexes triggered by his garlicy aura.

Wednesday was the the ladies' opportunity to rumble on the ski trails. The relay started with Christine's starting up the hill in 5th position - our best ranking of the relay. Sarah was able to tack onto a train and ski to the exchange zone with such notables as Italy and Finland. Canada's anchor, Shayla went ripping out onto the course with Magda (Italy) and Rika (Finland), both noted World Cup skiers who were broght in only for the relay. Determined to stick with those skiers clearly above her ability, at 4 km Shayla was having the race of her life. By the finish at 5 km, Shayla was skiing for her life: "I used to tease my dear friend Tara Whitten about her trip to the medical tent following a 5 km race. Now that I have had the experience myself, I only sympathize. I'm not sure if I should be proud of the accomplishment, though, or simply embarassed."

All of the relaying women pushed very hard for excellent finishes. One, in particular learned a lot of new information on her body's reaction to stress. As team doctor Julia later explained, "People generally lose control of their bodily functions in stressful situations." Luckily the overstressed Canadian team member was able to rearrange her race suit exchange to take place after a laundromat could be located.

One of the nicest features of our four-star hotel is a spa. This spa has not only a large poool and two hot tubs in a beautiful grecian-themed room, but also two dry saunas and a steam room. Unlike in North America, nudity in spa situations is common. Simlar to North America, only older folks can afford to stay at ritzy hotels. Thus, the members of our team who have enjoyed the spa's luxuries have also had the opportunity to research what they will look like as naked grandparents. Normally the nudity is quite natural although there have been a few interesting encounters. Of particular note was the large pot-bellied gentleman stretching and hip thrusting in the steam room. Thankfully these experiences are the exception and not the rule.

It is now the eve of the men's 30 km and the eve of the eve of the women's 15 km and closing ceremonies. I am sure there'll be another update to fill you in on those expereiences.

PS: Today (20th of January, 2005 AC) our francophone had her first scrabble victory. Those whom she defeated are not resentful as it is well recognized her hours of dedicated training: predominantly in the form of scribbling vocabulary into her little notebook.

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