Monday, September 10, 2007

Weekend Update...Food, Shopping and More

This past weekend marked the end of our first full-week here in China. We have now adjusted to the time change and are ready to start the tournament.

Most days here are very similar and sometimes we catch ourselves trying to figure out what day it is. Our daily schedule typically follows the plan below:

Breakfast between 7:30-8:30am
Physical training 9:15-10:15am
Practical field training 10:15-11:30am
Cool-down 11:30am-12pm
Lunch 12:30-2pm
Meeting times vary, but generally 2:30-5:30pm
Dinner 7:30-9pm

The physical portion of the training varies each day. For those referees who have a match that day or who are traveling for a match that day, they typically do not participate in training. For those referees who have a match the following day, the training consists of a warm-up, stretching and several accelerations. The remainder of the referees will spend approximately 1 hour in physical training, 1 hour in technical training and a cool-down.

The practical training changes each day, but over the past week we have worked on off-side decisions, penalty decisions and cooperation between the AR and referee. We have local players helping with our practical sessions. The players try to simulate numerous game situations.

In our afternoon meetings, we have focused on various topics including tournament/match specifics, mental preparation (with relaxation exercises), foul/misconduct and offside video review. Now that matches are starting, the afternoon sessions will be debriefing sessions from the matches the prior day.

As we mentioned in an earlier blog, we have wonderful facilities here at the hotel for additional training including a pool pictured below. After purchasing the required swim cap and goggles, Jen has already had two sessions in the pool. We have been threatened with a possible water aerobics session which Kari is anxiously awaiting.... For those who know Kari, swimming is not one of her favorites!

Many may be wondering what we are eating here in China. For the most part, our meals have been western prepared meals. Every meal is buffet style. At breakfast, we have hot selections including eggs, bacon, sausage, waffles and pancakes. We also have a cereal and bread selection as well as fresh fruit and yogurt. For lunch and dinner, we typically have hot selections including several meat choices including usually beef, chicken, pork and/or lamb and a fish selection. We often have potatoes, rice and/or pasta as well as vegetable dishes. We also have a soup selection, salad and fresh fruit.

We always have numerous dessert selections including ice cream and cakes. Yesterday we had chili ice cream which was quite unusual.

They are starting to introduce some Chinese dishes to our menu. Apparently the Chinese food inspectors have criticized our menu for not offering enough Chinese choices.

So what else have we been up to over the weekend? Shopping! We visited a Chinese market over the weekend where we practiced our bartering skills. Fortunately we were accompanied by local volunteers to help with the translation and bartering.