The Sea Olympics

I’m not a huge fan of sports, but there’s one sports event that always keeps me by the TV screen (which I usually ignore). The Olympics. I guess the whole idea of a no-war period where the countries of the world can fight not with guns, but with the human talent, and satisfy their egos without killing, is appealing to me; especially because it comes from an old and noble tradition.

I was a huge fan of ancient Greek history anyways. Here at SAS we have the Olympics of our own; the Sea Olympics, three times a year, on every voyage – or at least so I was told. Our Olympics started quietly; we all knew there would be a big competition day, but few noticed that the events were happening throughout the whole week. Like dodgeball or volleyball competitions. Every once in a while you would hear that a friend just took part in the semi-final, or see the lip synching group rehearse somewhere. But it didn’t strike me until the day before yesterday, when the opening ceremony gathered the whole ship in the Union. All wearing their sea’s colors; mine was Red; and then starting the huge wave all over. The RD’s brought in the Olympic flag, and they pinned it to the ceiling with magnets – all the ceilings and walls here are magnetic. The captain declared the Games open. The seas representatives brought in the banners, one by one; the seas performed their chants – both were to be graded by the judges. The shipboard children had their own team – the Dead Sea Seals; so did the faculty, and it was called the Diploma Sea. Their chant started with “Give them an F…” It was awesome. And then it all calmed down. The banners were hung above the Tymitz square, and the colors mixed up in the regular friendly groups. But the excitement stayed.
The next morning… The next day… Don’t even know how to start – it was such a mess. Quick breakfast, grabbed my camera, and followed Rachel to the Glazier lounge, where she was supposed to take part in a hula hoop competition. But up there it turned out that they needed one more person, and I had to join the team, barely having any idea of what was going on. The task was as follows: people stand in a circle holding hands, and there’s a hula hoop, and everyone has to go through without letting go of the hands. It was fun, but we didn’t overachieve. I guess the team should’ve practiced, but I wasn’t even signed up so it’s not up to me to judge. From that moment on, I had to run around the ship like crazy. There always were multiple events happening at the same time, and I wanted to get an idea of what was happening everywhere. Spoons, Spades, Ships and Sailors, dodgeball, voleyball, scrabble, knockout, spelling bee, limbo, balloon smash… Are you kidding me, there were tons. I was only signed up for the human knot; I did sign up for the wet t-shirts contest but quit after spraining my ankle. Best decision ever; you not only had to swim fast, but generally, you had to get into the pool, and it was damn freezing, really freezing and the wind was all over. I was glad I quit. Btw, took my bandage off in the evening. It was all wet from the day of running around the pool, and the ship was rocking, so the water was everywhere. I guess that’s how I might have caught my cold – sitting by the pool with my camera, wet feet, wet clothing – as the swimmers were splashing water all over.
I went to an event called the Balloon Smash; two people had to tie their legs together and tie a balloon on each side of their “outer” legs. The task was to keep one’s balloons from being smashed and smash everyone else’s. The Diploma Sea was represented by our space team – dean Kathy and Pinky, the astronomy professor. They rocked. But before the competition was over, I had to rush down to the piano lounge to take part in the Human Knot. We failed so badly. We were the last; there were four people in our knot who just could not get unknotted, and we couldn’t help them much. It took all other seas about a minute or two; we went past three or four, and in the end were just laughing hysterically because the whole situation was so comically tragic. But at last it was over, and I hurried to grab some food and go film dodgeball and a bunch of other contests. There was a crazy “secret event” in the Union, a sort of a scavenger hunt, but a messy and a stressful one. For example, one task was to bring five male belts; and the Red sea team only had one guy… Then piercings and tattoos – how were the kids supposed to present those? I think that was the most unfair competition.
Another secret event was out by the pool; I’ve heard it would be bad, and it was. So it was pretty chilly outside, and hella windy. All the teams got three weighty ice cubes each; inside were the T-shirts, frozen as… Frozen. The teams had to melt the big (!) ice cubes with their bodies, get the t-shirts out and put them on. Now imagine these guys and gals laying on the ice cubes with their backs and stomachs, rubbing them into each other, putting them in their pants (no kidding)… I really did not think that was fun. It took the teams about forty or fifty minutes to get it done. The kids were doing it too. Mind that it was still cold outside! Now how many people got sick afterwards? Who knows. I would’ve caught cold right on the spot. Well I did, but not because of that and later. Besides, the t-shirts were borrowed from the students, and were all ruined. The pool deck was all water.
Another watery event was the synchronized swimming, which was fabulous. The creativity that the teams applied to their programs was just incredible. There’s no way to describe it, but I filmed it all! Here’s to the crazy (and brave ones), it was cold cold cold.
By the end of the swimming I was soaking wet (splish splash all over), cold and tired. The last event was the lip synch contest, which was a blast – and again, one has to see it. I’ll try to edit all my videos and put them up somewhere. The Sea Olympics were fun, what can I say.
***
07.11
I got out of classroom 8, physically feeling the cold all over my body. I felt like a tan of cold water; this classroom was always chilly. I wandered off to the Garden lounge, the deck 6 dining, and decided I did not want to go outside. Not that day. All I wanted was a cup of hot tea, even if it was this crappy Lipton tea, the only one they have in the dining rooms. But as soon as I approached the hot water machine, the sliding doors opened – they’re sensor – and I saw my friends standing by the rail outside, and their faces and bodies crossed by the thick rays of bright orangish-pinkish light. It looked surreal. I jumped out, forgetting the cold; it was freezing outside. They were taking pictures; I leaned on the rail and looked to the right.
The sun was setting, sandwiched between the clouds and the ocean; it created a thin layer of pure shining gold, spreading from the ball of light in the center. I climbed up the stairs to deck 7, and my eyes got glued to the bright disc. The dark of the clouds with pink veins of light; the dark of the ocean, lit by the orangish rays; and the disc of gold, turning to orange, turning to pink, like an eye of a mythical creature. I kept my breath, watching the eye close; the gold became darker, and the shining core was sinking into the water – fast – too fast; in a few moments all I saw was a ball of light, and it declined to the size of a dot, a tiny silver star that blinked – and was gone. All within a minute.
I was shaking of cold. I rushed down the stairs, back to the diner, back to the hot water machine. Hot tea. Get this cold out of my body. It was one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen.

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