Paralympic Blog – Day 3
Wendy Morgan explains the importance of a good mattress, peanut butter, and group chats
The week is going really well. The win-loss record would suggest that, obviously. But we still have some tough teams in the queue to play, so we just have to stay steady, and try to avoid too many ups and downs. I thought today’s game vs. the USA was just a master class in execution, and communication, and tactics. It’s always nice to see when it all comes together like that.
In preparation for the games, we asked the athletes what were the most important things to them when they got here. Every player said “the beds” so we planed ahead to make sure that everybody would be comfortable, and could get a good night’s sleep. When we were here in October, the beds were a challenge, the room temperature was a challenge, and the transportation was difficult. Luckily, the setup in the athletes village is much better. The conditions that we have here – having been to five Paralympic Games – are the best we’ve ever had in terms of comfort and having our own personal space.
Food was another big one. You never quite know what the various dining halls are going to have to offer, so we always bring various food items with us. Again, the selection here is good, and everybody can find something to eat, but we were ready just in case. Peanut butter is always popular, so we have lots of that. We brought our own coffee machine as well. We just wanted to have some of the comforts of home. We brought a blender for smoothies – we grab some fruit from the dining hall and make them in our room, so you don’t always have to go out to eat. It saves a lot of time and energy when you can just relax in your own rooms.
One thing we couldn’t bring from home is our fans. We’ve always has such a great contingent of friends and family – it blows my mind. The families always buy into the whole journey – the length of travel, getting to some of these places that are pretty out of the way. They need to get visas, they need to book tickets, and accommodations. The cost of all this stuff is incredible, and yet we always had dozens of supporters make the trip. And I know that if they had been allowed, they would all be here too.
We really miss having them in the stands. We miss their energy – they’re like part of the team. We’d really love to have them all here, but instead we’ve got a group chat for all of them. I suggested that we start it, so we could bring them into the Games with us. It’s fantastic, but it became overwhelming. There are more than 100 people on it, and it goes crazy during the games and after.
We had to remove the athletes from the group so it wouldn’t become a distraction. It’s fantastic to see all these people back in Canada, up in the middle of the night watching the games, and they’re so engaged in their support. It almost feels like they’re here, because it’s obvious how big that network of support is. They’re definitely living the games with us.
Wendy Morgan is the Team Leader for Canada’s Wheelchair Curling team. She has been with the team for five Paralympic Games, dating back to Torino 2006.