Stadium Road Trip: These Are My Confessions!!
"To The World!!!" - Usain Bolt (my birthday mate -August 21...rae!!! Those who born in August...skip around!!)
Welcome back to the blog!!! As you know...Friday blog segments are the segments where we leave the comforts of home...and explore our worlds. Even if the only place you go...is your neighbor's backyard...that counts. Cue the theme song: Usher "Confessions Part Two !!"
First of all...we all have deep, dark secrets. My deepest, darkest secret...is the fact...that I can't run to save my life!! Confession #1. That's as deep as it gets...thankfully. I've never really been sick...and the only surgery I've had in my life...is removing my wisdom teeth at 25:) My life is an open book. To add to the confession...,my mother was actually a track star!! I mean...medals and ting...for TRACK of all things. She was like a Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in her day. She birthed me...and I don't know what happened...but when it comes to me...I've never won a medal for running. The tables turned to the point...where Tandose M...her seed...used to come LAST at Sports Day every year and for two seconds I wondered what was wrong with me!! Sanya Richards-Ross was in my batch...and from those days...she was a track star and would win medals at Prep Champs!! I came to dread Sports Day each year...and the only thing I found fun about Sports Day was the fact that we didn't have to wear uniforms and didn't have to go into class. Don't worry...the Gods were kind and we'll find out where my athletic talents evolved. There is always hope in life!! If I can find hope...so can you:) Yours truly is the classic case...of one running talent skipping a generation. If I had to sprint for a living...we would all starve.
Somehow...someone had the brilliant idea of sending me to ballet class...and the rest is history. For all you moms in my blog readership, my parents figured out how to burn my youthful energetic flames. I can't claim to have a dysfunctional childhood. They planned to the T!! My babies better watch out!! When I have girls...I'm sending them to gymnastics. I was outnumbered in the household and I need to settle the score. For my future son (decided I wanted one after babysitting my cousin Larry)...I'm thinking either basketball or soccer. I'm a huge Kobe Bryant fan. The other day...I unearthed my Basketball card collection (I'm here having Ebay thoughts...for all you hustlers in my readership. I was here wondering if they're worth anything today...twenty years later. I bought them when I was around ten or so...and the biggest tom boy on Planet Earth). As much as I couldn't run...I eventually figured out I can do two things well in the athletic and semi-athletic realm:
a) I can DANCE with a capital D honey!! While at prep school (shout out to Vaz Prep!!)...our school had ( and still does have...you know how things go when you leave a space....you think they stop existing) have an audiovisual room and music room. I did everything from music (I didn't have the patience for playing music...the only thing I liked was the triangle...lol) but my love for music comes in the form of dance. If I hear music...my body will move with it. L'Antoinette Stines herself told me that music speaks to me...so I accept that dance is my calling. I did ballet for my entire prep school career. I went up to grade six ballet, and did my exams and got my cerfiticates!! That's a patois word...I can Spelling Bee spell...Okrrr!!. Grade six ballet...is the one with the red leotard honey...and I had the soft ballet shoes and someone was kind enough to bless me with the professional ballet shoes. Your girl was out here in the world feeling like the principal ballerina at Juilliard!!
b) I can SWIM with a Capital S!! This is what will bring us to the stadium above. Even though it's a National Monument, in my world The National Stadium actually does have sentimental value. I spent a good six years visiting this location as a swimmer. At the nursery our swim trainer happened to be a club trainer for clubs such as Speedoes and Tornadoes. Thankfully, under his tutelage, I became a pretty good swimmer after a few years. When I mean pretty good, I mean almost club level (just a few seconds shy)...but I wasn't too thrilled about the early morning trainings needed to make club.
I graduated from prep school, and went to Campion College. At high school, we didn't have a dance studio...but we did have a pool!! Just working with what was...I started swimming after school. Another fortunate event was the fact that our swim coach at Campion was also a club trainer. (This is very Outliers...if you read the book) I didn't have to leave the high school campus to get club level training. The only thing about Campion's Pool was that it was a 25 m pool, and we swam varsity events in a 50 m pool. I hate to flip turn for the life of me!! Working with the flow...about once per month we'd go to the stadium for our swim meets!! Here we go!!
THE NATIONAL STADIUM
Walking into the stadium yesterday...was like second nature. The property is an expansive sports and cultural facility. If you're in the Kingston area visiting for either business or pleasure, I would encourage you to visit the site. As you enter, to the left (to the left!!) will be the National Stadium. Jamaica is a track and field country, and right as you enter you'll see the building in the image above - The Great Stadium!! Right before you enter the stadium...will be the statues of some of our greatest athletes. These include the greats like Herb McKinley (before my time), Merlene Ottey (my parents time) and of course Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Usain Bolt who are in my age range as a millennial. Usain Bolt was the guest speaker at our matriculation for undergrad.
The National Stadium is a well maintained facility and the majority of Caribbean and local track activities are held here. Additionally on the site are the netball courts and the pool. Our swim meets were held at the National Stadium's Pool. For today's Instagram Stories and mini-vlogs...I took the time to go in one minute details of both sites including the pool facilities.
SWIM MEETS: Confessions #2...lol
The pool...the glorious pool!! Swim events mean different things to different people. As a swimmer, swim meets were a social event as well as a showcase of physical talents. As a warm-blooded female...my friends and I found the swim meets to be two fold:) The primary reason to attend (the politically correct reason) was to proudly represent the school as a swimmer. It was with great pride (and thrill that I didn't have to go to physics class)...that my parents would drop me off at school on the morning of a swim meet...and I'd be decked out in my sweats ready for the action!! Those who ever did the swim life know that you had to have your swim game on point. If you lived the life...you know what I'm talking about!! Your swimsuit (shout out the black and green swimsuit with the snake skin), and swim cap (the silicone one with the glitter) had to be Speedoes!! Your slippers had to be the black and white Adidas or any cute Nike water proof slipper. Your drink had to be either the green or orange Gatorade, your T-shirt (Adidas, Nike...or NO FEAR (this brand was everything...lolololol) and your towel anything with a shark on it. We were fierce!! You also either had the large Nike or Adidas zip up for your stuff!! Real profiling ting!!
While listening to the Backstreet Boys on my Sony CD Walkman to pass the time while you were reading notes (swim life I tell you)...reason two to attend swim meets was to bae watch. Am I lying? Being at a swim meet was like a low key spring break, except you went every month!! After attending nerd central Campion College...Hello CUUTE George's boys on the road!!! Boys!! Boys!! Boys!! My toes had to be cute ( I lowkey had about 50 nail polishes back in the day)...and hello Venus...come through the smooth legs!! The girls and I had the list honey. Hello...Andreeee...come through with the body!! I love me a thug!! Andre...was the older brother of one of my classmates K...who was scrawny as ever...and I only ever thought of him as a friend. Big brother though...all of us were ready to jump!! He was juicy...and a good four years older than us:) The swim meets...came with programs...so we prepared. The girls and I...would secure one...and pretty much figure out when Andre and any other gorgeous cutie from George's was swimming. We planned our day...around this!! Anyone...who looked like they could be the fifth member of B2K was tracked:)
Swim meets....were EVERYTHING!! Where was I in the tour...again?
THE NATIONAL ARENA
The stadium is a big property. If you were to envision the property as a rectangle, the track will be on half of the rectangle if you were viewing the rectangle as a landscape. On the other half, the pool, the arena, and the Indoor Sports Centre are side by side. In the image above, the pool would be to the left of the Arena, and the Indoor Sports Centre to the right. You can walk from each building to the other, which make the tour ideal for you if stop by. The security let me in without any issues. As an additional note...Bob Marley's statue is across the road from the entrance. It's all worth a visit.
My memories of the National Arena are for events. In my millennial memory...there are quite a few expos held here. We used to go to this grand one that had everything: I think it was a Home and Garden Expo. I live for any event where there is loud music and lots of people!!! We would do everything from test cars, to learn about how to add mulch to your garden or build a water garden. Large National Expositions are pretty much held here!!!
With time though, other venues such as the Trelawny Sports Center were built, and changes came. Overall....the National Arena still maintains its significance and various venues are held there. It's a large facility, and once you're inside you'll see that it's decked out fully for audiovisual events dedicated to a large scale audience. It houses thousands utilizes both upstairs and downstairs.
This day trip activity cost me a grand total of $0 and O cents!! Just like Emancipation Park...I pretty much just walked into the stadium and the security let me in after a quick hello!! "Hello Security...how are you doing today? I used to swim here a few years ago...and was wondering if I could do a walk around for memories sake?" Blink! Blink! Go feminine energy!! Ask and masculine energy will GIVE!! When I was leaving child..."Did you get everything you needed miss?" Oh yes...she did!! Some good footage!!
What National Monuments and parks are in your area that you take for granted? At ForeverLuxury...the key is to enjoy life regardless of budget. A law of life...is that you do at the small scale, you'll do at the large scale!! If you have fun in the simple stages of life...as your lifestyle grows...so too will your adventures!! Even if you're sipping tea on your verandah...you can take time to enjoy your environment!! Just turn on some jazz music and bop!!
I love you for reading!!
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