Sunday, March 20, 2005 - Perspective
NSDT Update: Some reflections from the airport…

- By: Charles Nadeau

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To be a high level athlete in North America involves many challenges such as the joy of travelling. Throughout a racing season, you will eventually be forced to spend some good quality time in a real wonderland, the airport…

An international airport is a really special environment where you can learn many things about our healthy modern society and human behavior. First stage to our journey at the airport, the bathroom. Simply crowded, everybody looks furious and in the rush and it seems that the race is on to know who is going to be in and out in the shortest time. Only one detail: not a single person seems to have enough time to wash their hands… conclusion: don’t ever touch anything in a airport.

Second stage: entering the gates. Since, 911 we notice many changes related to the security on the airplane. I have to admit, I feel much better now that I know that the 70 year old lady sitting beside me had to leave her nail clipper with the friendly guy at the gate. Of course, ten minutes earlier, the exact same guy had to gather the whole airport crew to decide if I could or could not board with a copper brush to wax my skis…

Third stage: lets try to find a screen where I can check where and when I should go to catch my flight. I have a special request here for all of you guys jammed in front of the only screen with all the little families trying to find a compromise between a good old slice of pizza from Pizza Hut or the famous chili in a bread bowl of Tim Horton's. Would you please consider that you are not alone on this planet and there is some guy like me trying to accomplish the impossible and catch the last boarding call. Finally on the plane, sandwiched on the usual “hospitality” class middle seat, I can enjoy another exotic trip between Calgary and Thunder Bay.

Fortunately, our journey at the airport is far to be over and it is now time for our fourth stage: baggage claim. While I am walking to the carousel, am I never surprised to notice that it is invariably surround by all those passengers, complaining about why their bags are not first to come out. Well my dear friend, if we estimate that there are 100 passengers on this plane and probably 150 bags jam packed somewhere, the chances your nice 1970 pseudo-leather flower pattern suitcase will be first out are pretty thin… However, while you are waiting there standing six inches from the roller carpet, I cannot even manage to catch my bag coming out for a third loop…

In conclusion, I would like to provide a few tips of respect for you during your next escapade to the airport. First, arrive at least an hour before the boarding time. Everybody knows this simple tip but for some reasons, there are still people like me always on the edge. To be late in an airport means more risk of committing stupid mistakes and disrespecting the other travelers around you. Second tip; wash your hands, as an athlete, there is no good time to be sick.... Also take special care of your hydration too, the air in the plane is usually warm and dry, keep it hydrated. Third tip; avoid travelling with electronic apparel, metal objects or suspicious fluid as much as possible. As a good teenager, it can be funny to be stopped by the guards at the gate but after a couple of years of travelling around North America, you want to avoid as many trouble as you can. Finally, when the time to claim your bags comes, don’t run to the carousel and stand within six inches of the roller carpet. Think about the people around you and don’t ever consider yourself as a priority.

Good racing,

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