I want to go to South Africa, somewhere between June 11 and July 10, 2010, so I can have lots to tell my friends about the wonderful world of football. Fans from all across the world will gather in the major cities in that country for 'The Greatest Show on Earth'. These fans can be considered sport tourists, as they travel to participate in or watch a sport.
Think about a major sporting event being held in Jamaica and a tourist who comes here, writes back to a friend to relate the wonderful time in Jamaica for the typical five/six days for an average stay.
Got in on Thursday for a Saturday event, so I could have a whole day to look around and soak up the IRIE Jamaican feeling.
I landed in Montego Bay at the Sangster International Airport in what seemed to have had recent renovations. I spotted a picture of the great fast bowler, Courtney Walsh, as I walked through the halls. I got my duffle bag pretty quickly as the airport is fully equipped with staff. A JUTA bus picked me up and took me to my hotel. I asked the driver to roll down the window so I could smell and feel the wonderful Jamaican breeze - magnificent. First time in this place, WOW!
Off to Negril where the road race is scheduled to be. My driver is early, said it would take about 45 minutes to get to my first destination. Nice, hot day, but 'sweet' breeze. Driver, whose name was Tom, said, "You feel good this early in the morning!" I gave in. It was the most refreshing drink I have had in a while.
Cars, trucks and buses whisked by us, but Tom takes his time, while trying to give me a guided tour. His accent is interesting, not to say the least. We reached Negril. Lots of action, mopeds, roller skaters, taxis, buses, and the town was hopping.
I got to the registration area to confirm that I was in the race and picked up my passes.
The race was on the next day at 5 a.m., so I didn't plan to walk around much - had to rest the legs. I told Tom to walk with me through the town for a while. So we parked and walk.
I am up at 3 a.m., excited about competing in the Reggae Marathon for the first time. Tom is prompt and we leave at 3:30. I report to the starter by 4:30 and I am ready.
I placed 50th in my category, and was pleased; even more pleased that I could finally have a Red Stripe.
Days three and four slipped into each other as we partied all night, grooving to the sounds of sweet Jamaican music, reggae, dancehall and some good old '70s hits.
Back to Michigan I must go. Tom bid me goodbye, "Mek sure you buy a bottle of Appleton rum on your way out." I did. And I tried some patties, too. I had a great time!
How many times are these stories told and to how many people? Let's plan for more major sporting events in Jamaica so the stories can be told.