LONDON -

Niece Betsey Armstrong is goalie for the Women’s Water Polo team. She invited me to the games.

As you have heard, eight teams competed, USA, Great Britain, Russia, Spain, Hungry, Australia, Italy and China. The first three games were played to determine the order of play for the quarter finals.

USA won two games and tied one game in the first round. They won three games in the next round of play to earn a gold medal!!

Since the games were every other day, we had a chance to tour, rest, bake, eat, drink and take photos…..Walking  from London Bridge to Liverpool station, there was a downpour. Mary (Betsey’s Mom) and I found shelter in TJ Maxx right on the corner. We carried on when the rain ended and found the bus to Regent’s Park. Found seats upstairs in the front for a perfect view of the crowds on Saturday afternoon on Regent St, shopping central here in London. Uncle Bob viewed the badminton finals. Tom (Betsey’s Dad) began each day with a jog and returned to bake some excellent bread.

Uncle Bob and I came to the games with two confirmed tickets. Fortunately, the water polo group was able to secure tickets for all the other games for us. Ticket prices have ranged from $45 to $250, each game well worth the price providing an aerobic type work out for the cheering fans!

While in college I could go to classes, work in the hospital and cheer at a basketball game, all in one day. Here in London a few years later, it takes all day to gather the tickets and get to the game and back. Of course we do linger and visit along the way……

A Player’s family was on the tube with tickets to game 4, arrived at Stratmore Station to discover that the tickets had been lifted. Dad reported it to the police. Sister and three colleagues hopped on the train to return to the last stop in search of the thief. Sister had noticed the shoes of the person standing next to Dad and found her at the West Hamm station, grabbed her wrist and made the accusation. Thief threw the tickets to the ground and begged for mercy. Thief and accomplice were apprehended and taken away in cuffs. Player’s family got to the game for the opening sprint!

Big question in the crowd is how deep is the water polo pool? Is NBC revealing the true depth? We have been told 2 or 3 meters. I would bet on the 3 meters for a 2 meter pool is hardly over the head of these athletes. Players are not allowed to touch the bottom of the pool during the game. They swim about   5 km during a game.

Game 6, the final one in the series was the best! All the preceding games were so close and back and forth in the scores since all of these teams are skilled and determined. It was a joy to watch them, hear the constant whistles and wonder what the calls meant. Players move so fast and lots of play is underwater so there is a lot of mystery in the game! Loved the occasional underwater shots that were displayed.

Gold was the goal but I was hesitant to say it out loud before today for fear of jinxing them. Now we can shout it from the roof tops. I am happy, exhausted, in touch with half the planet and loving it all. It is grand to be part of such a huge event. To see “little” Betsey presented with the GOLD medal, given the flowers surrounded by her team family was fantastic! And tears were very close when they played the Star Spangled Banner! We have much to be thankful for. Go USA!!!

And, thanks Betsey!!

And thanks to London and Great Britain for their real “southern” hospitality. Contrary to predictions and comments from others, I have found the people amazingly patient with my endless questions and very helpful.

IMAGES: Betsey Armstrong wins gold

Published On: Aug 10 2012 11:33:30 AM EDT   Updated On: Aug 10 2012 11:34:15 AM EDT
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