Event day: and we're off!
Updated: Sep 27, 2018
Its 6 am in France and all around me it is chaos. The gendarmerie are blowing whistles and flapping their arms causing backlogs and panic on the roads, the vice-captains have fallen off the radar lost in a suburb of Versailles, American players are being dropped off at an out of use bus terminal, and amongst all this bustle the greenkeepers have been accidentally discharged to the wrong golf course and now it is too late for them to tend to the actual golf course. And we have fallen off the wifi grid.
The gendarmerie are not gifted with discretion. One gendarme took a look at our car badge and shouts to his colleague, 'its an official!', the colleague shouts to the next one 'an official!' along the line to the next 'official, official!' with full arm movements. The car next to us had an A4 parking pass,'he's got an A4!', 'an A4?!', the next 'A4, A4, A4!' Interesting school of major event transport management.
The French courtesy cars drivers are also a few sandwiches short. One job: drive from the hotel to the golf club, no deviations, one linear road. They have spent all week practising this 20-minute journey, there is one turning. The big day arrives and they decide to abandon all their training and use Waxe, getting themselves and their very important passengers lost. All that practise...
The American athletics must have wondered what sort of trickery we are up to, as one car after another proudly deposited them, not at the clubhouse, but at a rusty old hanger 5 miles from the course, and then drove off.
The greenkeepers, the ultimate foot soldiers, start working at 4 am and are also ferried from their hotel to the course in the dark. With total confidence in their shuttle drivers to drop them off at the right golf course...
Day one is always full of surprises, but the foot soldiers are not fazed and march on. This foot soldier is standing on a hill trying to find 3 bars of 3Gs to hook a laptop to the online world, watching the sun rise over a golf course free of greenkeepers, with not a player or vice-captain within a 5-mile radius.