It’s the summer of 2012 and the Olympics are in full swing across London and the south east of England – I’d not entered the ballot for tickets but those I did know that entered were lucky to have received tickets for any event, yet alone anything close to what they’d applied for. People had applied for athletics or swimming tickets and been allocated women’s weightlifting – well done IOC on only being beaten by FIFA and UEFA on your massive incompetence in not being able to organise a piss-up in a pub. As an aside I applied for tickets to the 2006 World Cup in Germany about 9 months before the event. I was allocated (and was obliged to pay for) 4 very expensive seats – the only issue was that I was allocated these tickets 2 days before the actual match and there was no way of getting there as air fares were through the roof.
But as luck would have it a friend of mine had been able to obtain tickets to the beach volleyball event – it was only a morning session for 2 matches but at least I’d be able to tell the kids of my trip to the Olympics. Well I could if I could remember much of it.
The venue for the event was Horse Guard’s Parade in central London – this meant catching the train into London before 7am on a Saturday morning which I was pretty loathed to do since, at the time, I usually caught a similar timed train every weekday. But having met for breakfast we were on our way over the Thames to the venue which started about 9.30am. Having got to the venue we did the only thing that British people know what to do at sporting events – head for a beer. The first drink was sipped for an hour whilst we watched the first game – women’s but I have absolutely no recollection of which nations were playing or who won. Beach volleyball is a sport that has a particular image – lithe girls in short shorts and small tops throwing themselves around on the sand but this was slightly disappointing and I’ve since found out that the internet is full of far racier images if you know where to look. A second beer was acquired as the game came to an end and the second game started – unfortunately this was the men’s turn and our interest waned as soon as the second beer was finished.
It’s now barely 11am and we have a thirst on – “Pub?” is asked to general consensus. So we head over to Covent Garden which is about 10 mins walk away. We find a decent pub that has numerous TVs showing all the day’s action and little are we to know we are in for a great day for British athletes, winning 2 golds in rowing, 1 in cycling and 3 in athletics. Or so I’m told because events after about 4pm are a bit of a blur to me https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Britain_at_the_2012_Summer_Olympics#.22Super_Saturday.22.
Over the next few hours we imbibe our share of beer and continue to watch the sports – the day passes pretty fast and soon I’m staggering back to Waterloo station to catch the train home. And then I wake up, on the train. With no recollection of where I am, what time it is or why I can’t see properly. Normally I only encounter these worries late at night after an evening session and the train is usually deserted, being that anyone vaguely sensible is not on the last train home stinking like a brewery. Really not good, especially if I’ve missed my station as the next stop is about 25 minutes ride down the line. But as I come to my senses I realise a few things – I’ve only been asleep for about 10 minutes, so that’s good. And I’m not sat next to some drunken lunatic who’s dribbling down his own face. Unfortunately the guy next to me is sat next to some drunken lunatic though. And it’s half past 7 in the evening and it’s as bright as day outside. Oh – and the train is packed with families and other normal people not slumped in an alcohol induced haze given that it’s half 7 and far too early to have drunk yourself into the aforementioned drunken haze. Except if you’re an idiot who has been drinking since 9am that is.
Luckily a lot of people on the train get off at the same station as me, otherwise I’d have been drunkenly pushing my way through crowds of people whilst trying not to fall over or breathe on anyone. It’s only a 10 minute stagger home albeit through a still relatively busy town centre so I try to avoid bumping into too many people. I manage to get home in one piece and do the first sensible thing I’ve done all day – order a pizza. Luckily this can be done online as I’m not capable of speaking properly and to celebrate my achievement I crack open a bottle of wine and turn the TV on to continue the sports coverage. Mrs AC arrives home at about midnight to find the TV on with the volume at full blast, me passed out on the sofa with half a pizza and the remnants of the bottle of red sat on the living room table. She’s a lucky girl is Mrs AC!!
So when the cost centres get a bit older and ask me if I ever went to the Olympics I’ll tell them about that magical Saturday – but only if they’ve reached 18.