“Expect the Unexpected”
I have been traveling a lot lately. This trip I am coaching the University World team along with Bill Zadick and Cody Sanderson. We are going over to Vladikavkaz to train, then heading to Kazan where they are hosting the University World Games. I have a routine before I leave on any trip. This routine includes doing laundry, cleaning my house, and running last-minute errands. I love leaving my house in perfect shape before I leave for a trip. This way when I return, everything is perfect and I can take a day to relax. This routine takes up a whole day. For this trip I started at 10:30 am and finished at 11 pm. I am very OCD when it comes to cleaning, so part of the lengthiness is my fault.
I like to be prepared when I leave for a trip, and sometimes I exhaust myself before I travel. This trip, I was really tired before I even left, preparing for 5 weeks away is tough. I had to wake up at 6:45 am on Sunday morning so I could make my first flight out of Detroit. The team all joined up in Washington D.C. before heading over to Frankfurt, then to Moscow, and then Vladikavkaz. I was really excited to begin this trip! This was going to be the first time I have been back to Vladikavkaz since I lived there two years ago. I can’t wait to see all of my friends and catch up with them.
Everything was going smoothly until we boarded our flight in D.C. Once we were on the plane I fell asleep. I woke up about 45 minutes later and we were still at the gate. I wasn’t worried since we had a 4-hour layover in Frankfurt. We finally pushed back from the gate, but our plane never moved. The air conditioning was not working properly so we waited on the tarmac for a little over three hours with no AC. Some parents took the clothes off their children because they were drenched in sweat. This was very irritating as we watched the layover time get smaller and smaller. We were dealt a punch to the gut when they finally said our flight was cancelled. This should not have been a problem at all; they should have rebooked us and sent us on our way.
I used my status on United to go ahead of the long line of angry passengers and get the team rebooked for the next day, get some meal vouchers, and then hotel rooms. This all worked out great and I was told by the gentleman working there that there would be no more problems with the trip. By the time we arrived and checked into the hotel it was 9:30 pm. This was a very long day to only make it to D.C. We all went right to the restaurant to eat dinner and plan for the following day. Our flight was at the same time so we did not have to wake up early and rush to the airport. We left for the airport around 12:30 pm and checked in with no problem. Our flight was a little late leaving, but nothing that was going to affect us in Frankfurt. When we arrived in Frankfurt, we headed right to the gate so we could get our tickets to Moscow. Again, there was no problem! For most of the guys on this trip, it is their first international wrestling experience and I really wanted them to enjoy it. They are going to obtain a very valuable experience along the way that will help serve them when they are fighting to become World and Olympic Champions someday.
When we went to check in to our flight from Moscow to Vladikavkaz, our trip took a turn for the worse! The ticket agent in D.C. never rebooked us for our flight to Vladikavkaz. Everybody was blaming everyone else, but we were stuck in the Moscow airport for about 7 hours trying to get everything worked out. Eventually they put Nico Megaludis on a flight this morning by himself. He is the youngest of the group and it is his first time overseas. I know he will be fine, but Cody and I helped him check in and then sent him on his way. They booked three of us on the afternoon flight. The other members were not scheduled to leave until July 4th and 5th! This was not going to work for us. Somehow even though the airline said there were no seats available, USA Wrestling was somehow able to purchase the remaining tickets. Right now I am sitting in my room with my toes crossed as I type this hoping we all make our flight.
Even though this has been a long 4 days of traveling, I know the guys will enjoy their time here and will learn a lot. Stay tuned as I keep everyone updated on the team’s progress.