When we left to go to the gymnastics championships yesterday, we were prepared to get the car out of valet parking.
[An aside: Is it just me, or has anyone else discovered that the higher scale the hotel, the fewer things are free? I'm specifically referencing internet that costs $10.00 for 24 hours and valet parking that is a freakin' $20.00 PER NIGHT. I understand completely that they want to make a profit, but even the cheapy-cheapies have free wireless in the rooms these days.]
Then we saw a group of fans walking toward the tailgate area, which was (theoretically) next to the arena where the meet was being held. Since this group was composed of **ahem** older women, we decided to walk too. It was (theoretically) only a block or two, so we took off on foot, saying it would replace the exercise we hadn't done that day anyway.
It was overcast and cool, and the wind was blowing off the river with gale force. Perhaps that's a slight exaggeration, but we only had on t-shirts. Oh, and jeans. We walked the 2.7 miles (GPS doesn't lie) to the tailgate location, which was BEYOND the arena. We were still really early for the meet, which as it turns out was a good thing.
They weren't even allowing spectators in the building yet, but they said they would go ahead and search bags and let us get in line. We were five minutes away from the doors opening, at which point we could finally sit down and rest out of the wind and chill.
When the dude got to my camera bag, he said, "I can't let you in with that."
I thought he was joking.
"Nothing larger than a personal camera."
I was puzzled. "But it IS a personal camera."
"It has interchangeable lenses. You can't bring it in."
Because clearly a terrorist is going to use a Canon Digital Rebel to create a bomb. And clearly the most obvious target for a terrorist attack in the freakin' United States is a college GYMNASTICS MEET.
He wouldn't budge. I waited while he told a Bama fan in the next line the same thing. Her attempt at bypassing the rule?
"I wasn't actually going to take pictures with it." Nice try, lady.
There was no where for me to leave my camera. Ironically, I had debated about whether or not even to take it in the first place, since I usually get too absorbed in the meet to take many quality pictures anyway. And with all four events occurring simultaneously, my attention span was already severely compromised.
It's a good thing we were so early when we discovered this potential threat to homeland security. There was nothing we could do but walk back to the hotel and leave the camera there.
We had no qualms this time about getting the car out of valet. At $20.00 per night, we were happy to have them earn their money.
No, we didn't win. But individuals on our team won first on three out of four events and took second in the fourth. We came in third out of seven teams in the team total. We could have done better on bars, but we didn't collapse entirely, and there was just no way anyone could beat Florida. Dammit. On to regionals and the NCAAs.