Monday, July 14, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

The Inadvertent Luger

You learn something about yourself -- not necessarily something you're proud of -- when your feet are suddenly straight out in front of you and calamity beckons.

The Inadvertent Luger

Blog Image
The notorious ramp and makeshift luge track.

You learn something about yourself -- not necessarily something you're proud of -- when your feet are suddenly straight out in front of you and calamity beckons.

In my case, I saved the cellphone.

Here's how I became an inadvertent luger: I had lined up for a ferry back to downtown Vancouver after a visit to Granville Island. With the huge Olympic crowds, attendants were carefully monitoring the flow of traffic down onto the docks. I happened to be stopped at the top of a long, steep ramp.

My phone rang. It was the office. I took the call just as the very nice woman in the blue vest gestured for me to start down the ramp. There was a railing along the right -- which is my phone hand.

Which American Olympian has captured the country’s attention?
Apolo Anton Ohno
Bode Miller
Lindsey Vonn
The men’s hockey team
None of them

Instantly, I was on my back, sliding down the deceptively slick ramp. The rubber mat was as slippery as Bernie Madoff. My backpack, including my computer and all manner of important items, bounced along with me. But it was the BlackBerry -- my link to the entire universe -- that I noticed bouncing toward the side of the ramp.

Below: False Creek.

Somehow, with a lucky swipe, I pulled the phone back from the brink. Then I got up and told my editor I'd call back.

Fortunately, there were only about a thousand witnesses from the queue I'd just been in myself.

 

 

About this blog
Reporter Frank Fitzpatrick is covering his seventh Olympic Games and has yet to win a medal in anything except caffeine consumption. He has also been the beat writer for the Phillies, Eagles and Penn State football.

Columnist Phil Sheridan has been writing about Philadelphia sports since graduating from Temple University in 1985. The Vancouver Games are Phil's sixth consecutive Olympics. He is determined to do exhaustive research on the fresh seafood and locally made beers and wines in Vancouver and Whistler.

Photographer Clem Murray covered the Lake Placid Winter Olympics 30 years ago. He has covered the Eagles in their two Super Bowl runs; the Phillies in a couple of World Series (back in the 80s); the Sixers' 1983 championship; a couple of Stanley Cup runs by the Flyers; and the Nittany Lions.

For more Olympics coverage, visit the Philly.com Olympics page.

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