Thursday, 20 August 2009
Inside & outside the stadium
Having said yesterday about setting a routine, Tuesday was totally different! It was the first day since I've been here that I didn't have a duty in either of the two Oases or the stadium chapel. I spent sometime after breakfast working on a document I'm writing about the religious culture in Japan. This is for the Sports Development Centre and the Chaplaincy at Loughborough University so that we can properly prepare and cater for the Japanese athletes who will be based there on various occasions between now and London 2012. Needless to say, I worked on this with one eye on the TV to keep up-to-date with events in the stadium. It was also good to be invited to do this in the general physio area of the hotel, as it gave me a chance to chat with them. There are so many groups of people involved in a major championship like this who all need to know that pastoral care is available. Lunch today was a treat as I ventured into the centre of the city and had lunch with a friend and colleague who is working here as a journalist. As well as enjoying lunch it was good to travel around the city by train and refresh my memories of German culture. Having lived in Germany some years ago, it's seemed a bit strange at times not to be interfacing very much with 'ordinary' day-to-day life here. This is something else that we chaplains have in common with the athletes (and various other professions) - athletes may travel around the world competing in different countries but they don't always get to experience much of the local culture. After lunch, I went off to the other Team Hotel and was pleased to be able to support another chaplain who was having a few practical problems. We went to the stadium together and I was privileged to see Phillips Idowu gain gold in the Triple Jump. Sad though that the other athlete I was looking out for didn't make it. I left after the Triple Jump as I wanted to make sure I got back to the hotel for supper - it is easy to miss that!