Get ready for a Fantastic Voyage at the 17th World Maccabiah Games. Follow all the action through the eyes of an athlete (that would be me) and learn more than you ever wanted to know about bowling (please, control your enthusiasm, you're embarrassing yourself). Fasten that seatbelt and make sure your tray table and seatback are in the locked and upright position -- this is going to be one crazy time!

Friday, July 22, 2005

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I just said goodbye to all my teammates, watching as the dashed off to their connecting terminals. Erica should be here within the hour to take me home. The time of this posting is back on New York (Eastern) time.

These past three weeks have been a whirlwind experience. I can still vividly see our flight arriving in Israel, the sights we explored, meeting all the athletes and competitors -- it is so fresh in my mind. I know these visions won't quickly fade.

Our travel day wasn't without its bumps along the way. Driving to Ben Gurion Airport from Jerusalem, we heard that infamous dinging sound again, but the driver apparently ignored it as we plugged along toward the airport. Then at the airport, we got back to our favorite activity -- hurry up and wait. The line to x-ray the luggage, and check the luggage, and to order food at the kosher McDonald's (that was a great treat ... Chicken McNuggets at 10:30 a.m.) -- it was all about waiting and waiting some more.

After my luggage x-ray, the El Al people needed to search through my baggage. Apparently, my bowling shoes have metal in the heel (it was news to me too) so they wanted to search through all my clothes. Then, to make matters worse, I had to open up my casebox, the box I used to package my four bowling balls. What a pain in the tuchas that was. What was even worse was that I couldn't find my duct tape and had to use the wimpy packing take the luggage screener provided. Thankfully, waiting in my next line, I found some duct tape and wrapped that baby up good.

Before we left Israel, we had a pleasant surprise -- Yifat from the Israeli Women's Bowling team met us at the security checkpoint to see us off to the U.S. She works for El Al and we asked her to come to work a little early specifically to escort us to the gate. It was great seeing her and great seeing everyone's faces as we had a private escort from El Al take us to the gate. And it helped us put off the final goodbye until we were literally ready to get off the ground.

The plane was a big flying party bus. People were up and all over the place. Wine and beer were handed out like water. We drank the flight out of all its alcohol by about hour six, and there were five more hours to go. Who says that Americans don't know how to party?

In reality, this experience was a big party. We shared so much together and had one great time doing it. Whether it was competing on the lanes or getting thrown into the pool, a good time was had by all -- I think that's something we can all agree on.

I'll post more of my musings as the days go on and I'll try to get more pictures up of different things we did and interesting stuff that brightened our days. Thanks to all my teammates and competitors who I can simply call my friends -- you helped make this the experience it was. I cannot imagine these Games without you.

And thanks to everyone who read and shared the experience with me through this blog. I always appreciated hearing from you and carrying your words of inspiration with me each day. Isn't this technology stuff amazing?

Next year in Jerusalem -- but 2007 in Argentina for the Pan Am Games and 2009 for the 18th World Maccabiah Games in Israel. L'hitraot.


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