Hello from the land of wooden shoes....

This Canadian Team update was graciously provided by Neal Marshall, National Team Coach.

We are in Holland now and as expected we have now fully completed the weather transformation from constant sun in Italy, to variable sun/cloud in Germany, to constant rain here in the Netherlands. The land of legal drugs, prostitution, and 24 hour a day manure smell. None of which I care to par-take of, but one of which I have no choice not to (yes, the smell).

Lest any of you be offended, I am half Dutch myself(mom) so I feel at least partially qualified and permitted to poke fun. Truth be told I really do like it here, what with all the sugar bread, stroop waffles and good coffee. I don’t know, I might try a Heineken or two too. And more importantly, we are now out of the previously inescapable internet black-hole that existed in Inzell so all the lap-top surfers are very happy now!

Things are going well with the team. Inzell was again mixed results but overall good. We had many group-B top-three’s and skaters moving into group A. Jeremy did not win a race but he did secure the overall world cup 500m title. Mike and Casey tied for third in the 500m which was cool to see. In the second 500 Jeremy tied with Shimizu for second place and while sharing the podium with the much shorter man, Jeremy pulled a typical Wotherspoon move to make everybody laugh. When they announced his name he subtly stepped in front of Shimizu and raised his arms and blocked out Shimizu’s face. It was pretty funny and Shimizu cracked a rare smile.

There have been some other funny things. The protective mats around the track in Inzell are the air-inflated type, which are pretty forgiving when you hit them, provided you are lucky enough to hit them the right way. Because they are not firmly attached to the ground, and because they are rounded near the bottom, it is possible to slide underneath them. A Norwegian skater during the 500m fell in the corner and hit the mats in such a way that he ended up with his whole upper-body wedged under the mat with only his legs from the waist down, sticking out. He ended up completely unhurt but he was face down and totally stuck. His legs were flailing and all you could hear if you were close enough was a muffled voice asking for help. We ended up dubbing him the Norwedgian.

Today was cause for momentary alarm as I was jogging in some of the trails in the woods behind our hotel. I came across a small farm and a big nasty looking Germany Shepard starting running out towards me, barking his head off. Oh great I thought, I’m going to get chewed-up by a Dutch-Germany-Shepard. As he got closer I tried to keep my cool and called upon my emergency dog-attack training. What else could I do? I started talking in a really high, friendly excited voice. “Hey buddy, how ya doing buddy?”. As he got closer it occurred to me that even if the darn beast could speak human it sure as heck wasn’t going to speak English was it?! But when he heard me it worked! He stopped barking, dropped his head, started wagging his tail and came right up to me for a pet. I was so relieved that I gave him the best doggy-pet/scratch he ever got. Made me miss my dog at home!

We had a few more team-mates join us today. Our junior team straight from the Junior Worlds arrived. Everyone is really pumped about Justin winning the Worlds, he shook a lot of hands today. Catriona also arrived today and she finally looks pregnant! That’s about all I got for now.

Hope everyone is doing good at home. Neal