So I recently went to the Olympics to watch handball! And, dutiful blogger that I am, I recorded what time things happened so that I could produce a day-in-the-life and get it online the next day. Four days later, and it’s finally here. It’s sort of like that time I liveblogged all of the Lord of the Rings films for you, but with fewer innuendoes.
Man, maybe I should start again.
7am Waking up in the morning. Gotta be fresh, gotta go downstairs. Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal.
Well now that song is in your head, what actually happened was that my father knocked merrily on our hotel door and said “Are you ready to go to breakfast?” and I stumbled out of bed, opened the door, squinted at my well-dressed and shiny looking parents through a haze of sleep and unbrushed hair, and said “I do not think that my alarm went off when it said it would.” But not quite as coherently.
7.20am I arrive in the breakfast area just as the rest of my family are finishing up. The toast is cold, and the filter coffee has been out for some time, so I have to balance the time of the morning against the fact that the coffee is really kind of gross. Time of the morning wins, so I just triple the amounts of sugar.
7.45am We arrive at Ilford station. Considering the transport panic (“Don’t travel in London! There’ll be so many people travelling in London! Are you thinking of going to London? THAT’S A TERRIBLE IDEA”) there aren’t that many people around.
7.55am The train arrives. I could have had 10 minutes more sleep.
8.13am Getting off at Stratford is fine, and as we approach the park everyone is incredibly friendly. All the volunteers welcome the crowds as they walk past, and one lady had a megaphone and was telling everybody that it was a beautiful day, we should all smile, we should get our tickets ready, we wouldn’t be allowed inside without tickets or a smile. It sounds annoying. It was actually quite cute.
9am After walking through the park, which is pretty impressive, we eventually reach the venue for the handball. It is called the Copper Box. It basically looks like a giant box made of copper.
9.16am To warm up the crowds, the host (who was wearing a flatcap and shorts, despite being over eight years old, and not a Victorian orphan) gets people dancing on the big screens if they were being individual enough. My brother and I make damn sure we appear on that screen, while my stepmum conveniently chooses that moment to investigate the loos.
It is probably the closest I will ever get to being on TV.
9.30am Worn out from all that positive energy and cheesy dancing, the handball game actually starts. I should point out here that I had absolutely no idea what handball was, or how you played. It turns out that the ball is not actually made of the hands of the losers, or even zombies, both of which had been previously suggested. Instead, the female Swedish team come bounding in and high-five the Republic of Korea, and then they all start running up and down to get warmed up. There are so many ponytails. They have so much energy. It is all so wholesome. I am exhausted just watching.
11am Eventually I managed to get a good idea of how game worked. Basically the aim was to throw the ball into the goal, except you could only hold it for a certain amount of seconds, and run for a certain number of steps. If you broke those rules, you had to give up the ball and everyone would run to the other end of the court/pitch/arena/prison. Eventually Korea won, but it was very close, and there ended up being 60 goals in total, making it far, far more interesting to watch than football.
And it’s okay, because apparently the Swedish handball team were spotted that night helping Usain Bolt to celebrate his 100m gold medal. So I’m sure they were fine.
Photos by Geoff Adams.