When most of you say holiday the thing that jumps to mind is a couple of weeks on an all-inclusive beach somewhere relaxing. This is not something that me and my family have ever done for the past 20 years or so that me and my wife have been together. We’ve never done a beach holiday. It’s always been a cultural experience in some form or other and I don’t think we could do it any other way. I think even the thought of a beach holiday kind of sends shivers through my attention span.
So this year was maybe one of the more extreme ones that we’ve done in the sense that everybody went, “Eh?!” as soon as told them what we did and obviously we didn’t go trekking in Uzbekistan (which we did look at!). We went to Birmingham for 10 days and everybody pulls the same face until you tell them it was for the Commonwealth Games and the confused faces turn to wow faces. The Commonwealth Games, or any major sporting activity like that, really does hit people so it’s great to see people’s reactions when you tell them you’ve been to a event like that, watching 10 or so different sports in a day.
It’s not everybody’s idea of a holiday in that logistics were tough with Park & Rides and the horrendous road system around Birmingham. Apologies to anyone living in Birmingham - I don’t envy your driving around and daily activities, that’s for sure. But for us, we saw so many great sports and really saw that push from people that are experts in their field but there are going to be things that we will never do like diving! Yes, we were watching the springboard stuff and the one, three and five-metre boards and we saw a couple of people - the eventual gold medallist even come off the 10-metre board and that was just something that I know for a fact I’ll never do but to see it and watch it and really appreciate it - it’s great on the telly but it’s not the same as being there in a crowd of 4,000 or 5,000 people. It was just amazing and that’s just doing it once as a cool thing to say you’ve done. That isn’t what these guys are doing - these are doing it day in and day out and are elite level athletes in their chosen fields, competing with if not the best in the world then at least the best in the Commonwealth. To just be part of that and see smiley faces - we were sat next to the Samoan Athletics team on one of the days in the stadium and just seeing their faces when their runners came across the line! Samoans are famed for their running, as my friend Logovi’i Mulipola will testify to that as a rugby player. He’s not a middle-distance runner as some of these guys were doing but just to see the smiles on their faces was fantastic and just great to be a part of.
I think we’ll certainly need to do a different type of holiday sometime later in the year just to kind of balance it out a little bit but I’d certainly do it again in a heartbeat. We’re already planning our next trip away that involves a sporting activity. It was also good to see one of my fellow Fore Business colleagues, Phil Boyle, there as well and to meet Prof. Barry Carpenter with the ADHD connections. It is an amazingly small world. Even though it was in Birmingham it was great to see people that I knew.