I truly enjoyed my first full day here in Seattle. After a nice complementary breakfast from our hotel, we left for Opening Ceremonies. We stopped by the IMA building to grab our press passes and video bib, and my dad and I met some of the other press members at the Special Olympics. After we had our passes, we found a place to park our car, and we arrived at Husky Stadium just in time for the Parade of State Delegations.
I watched with excitement and pride as all the athletes marched into the stadium with their home state teams. I was even able to spot Tyler Lagasse in the group of Massachusetts Olympians. Tyler was also able to take a picture with Scott Rohrer, who despite being Tyler’s biggest rival, is also a good friend of Tyler’s.
After the ceremonies were over, I met briefly with with Tyler and his coach George and confirmed the three-some including Tyler, Scott, and Travis Curtis of Maine will all tee off on Hole 1 at Eagle’s Talon at 8:30 as part of a shotgun start for Level V golfers.
After the parade, we decided to go inside for food and shade, as it was getting warmer as the sun had come out. We couldn’t find food right away, and we wanted to find some USA Games merchandise, so we stepped outside the stadium for a minute. We filmed the 1st part of our Facebook Live video. If we had left even a few minutes later, we wouldn’t have been seen by the local CBS station, KIRO-TV (Channel 7 on most Seattle TVs). After seeing us film our live video, they decided to interview us about my coverage of the games and my Flutie Fellowship. They wanted to know my story and decided broadcast part of our interview with the news station and it aired on both the 5PM and 11PM news on July 1st. I was very excited to learn that they found my story interesting enough even with so many talented athletes to cover. We watched the report from our hotel room at 11:15 (see below) and we were told that the news story will also be posted on the station’s website
Just when we were about to leave to go find food in the city, we saw a room full of people who had pizza! It was perfect timing as we had searched at least half the stadium looking for pizza stands that were open. Although the pizza was technically for volunteers only, they let me have two free slices, and I gave out my business cards to all of them. They even let us stay to film the 2nd part of our live video.
After that, we headed back to the IMA to stop by the media room one more time.
We decided to stick around, as George, Tyler’s coach, wanted us to meet Tyler and Scott. George said they could meet at the media room after Opening Ceremonies ended. Scott had other plans he could not change, but we met with George and Tyler to discuss what kind of coverage we were going to do during the tournament. We wanted to make sure that our plans would not have a negative impact on Tyler or any of the other golfers.
After Opening Ceremonies, we went into the city to explore. We started our journey in Seattle at the iconic Space Needle, which was open despite construction that had the restaurant closed and parts of the observation deck blocked off.
We still got an amazing view and some nice pictures at the top of the needle.
After seeing the Space Needle, we were still hungry. We decided to get pizza again but this from Mod Pizza at Seattle Center, an indoor food court/plaza that also included a monorail station. They made our pizzas very quickly, and they came out great. I really enjoyed my time in the city. But now, it’s all about the athletes. We will be live from Redmond at Willows Run tomorrow. We can now officially say, “Let the games begin!”
This article is also available on the Flutie Foundation Blog.