5.45am - We could hear the wind whistling three streets away when we arrived pre-dawn at Umina clubhouse this morning. Palmie ferries cancelled all services, even to Patonga, but a small group of die-hard kids and parents were already milling around on the grass, waiting to hear if events would be cancelled for a second day in a row.
Some kids were whingeing about the rain but as one crusty coach was heard to say, “yeah don’t worry about it mate, you’re gunna get wet anyway…”
We caught up with young Beau Jefferies from Avoca, huddled under his swim jacket and champing at the bit to have a crack at his water events. Must be pumped after having his mug feature in the local rag, the Central Coast Express Advocate on Friday.
Even though there were heaps of people huddled under the balcony of the Umina clubhouse waiting for the verdict from the team managers’ meeting, it was obvious some people had decided to head home to escape the crap conditions.
Referees and organisers didn’t disappoint and announced an amended program, running some water events up past the Ocean Beach club where it was a bit more protected, moving some stuff to Terrigal and pushing ahead with beach sprints in front of the club at Umina.Apparently the vibe at Terrigal was generally good, although some punter was overheard whingeing about why all the water events weren’t relocated there. Someone enlightened him about how lucky they were to get even two areas set-up at Terrigal at such short notice, what with council approval and logistics issues, and he began to understand.
Given all that has gone pear-shaped so far, the potential for tempers to fray were high today. But the kids were great, which was probably helped by a visit from ironman idols Ali Day and Kendrick Louis who were almost mobbed while signing autographs and giving away freebies in the Engine tent.
The latest news from our on-beach gophers, Kingy and Knighty, is as follows: excavations continued for missing crowd control fencing under sand, banners and bits of tent were located and removed from trees around Umina, the latest in fashion apparel (the black garbage bag) was jealously guarded by wearers and Bunnings made a killing on plastic ponchos and umbrellas!
But the true heroes from today were probably the long-suffering Rotary volunteers manning the barricades in the car park. Looking like soaked zombies standing in the rain this morning, they kept smiling. And these guys have heard every excuse under the sun from people hoping to park right outside the club – from gout-suffering officials, to those sporting borrowed disabled parking stickers.
Bring on Sunday we say! March Past is first up at Umina, followed by beach flags and all water events are heading to Terrigal. Good times.