Nothing beats a personal preview of coming attractions

Outing to Benderson Park finds people hard at work in advance of World Rowing Championships

Harriet Cuthbert. Contributed photo

Sometimes, I like to go to places that will be hosting large events before they take place. It is very exciting and interesting to watch the people involved work in their respective roles in anticipation of what is to come.

My most recent outing of this sort took me to Nathan Benderson Park, which was in full preparation for the 2017 World Rowing Championships. It was a perfect Sarasota day; I hope that type of weather continues as we welcome the expected 40,000 visitors and participants for competitions starting Sept. 23.

The water was shimmering as I slowly approached the park. Surprisingly, nobody was practicing. The first thing that caught my eye — I confess I stared at it in amazement — were the metal bleachers under construction. I got “up close and personal” to watch the men carefully fit each metal rod into its corresponding part, securing the pieces to make a seat and its back. The men seemed to know exactly what to do, so in just a few minutes, another row of bleachers was ready.

Grandstand construction has been underway at Benderson Park. Photo courtesy of Harriet Cuthbert

As I was watching those workers and taking pictures, suddenly, I spied a large group of well-dressed people walking toward me near the water. They all were wearing ID badges and looking like they belonged in a conference room at the Hyatt, solving world problems. However, they ended up being vendors who were getting a personal tour of the rowing venue and the grounds, including the specific locations where they would be setting up their booths They seemed very enthusiastic about being included in this prestigious event.

The 2017 World Rowing Championships has launched a mobile app to assist the public in keeping up with the event. The link is for mobile phones. Image courtesy 2017 World Rowing Championships

Facing the water at the far end of the park, beyond the bleachers, is the Finish Tower. This building is an architectural wonder — clean lines, modern look, appearing spacious in its beautiful design. It will be “home” to the TV people, certain VIPs, journalists and probably parents of the athletes. The Finish Tower is the perfect spot from which to view the actual finishes of the races; thus, the name of the building.

I walked along the water, hoping for a glimpse of a sculler, and finally, two males appeared, sharing a boat and appearing to be getting in a good workout.

As I turned around to head back to my car, I walked along the water. Then I realized that I most likely was literally the only person on the grounds completely unconnected to the World Rowing Championships. That is a very big reason I enjoy being at event locales before the events take place: I am able to enjoy my own personal tour.

Wishing everybody a safe and wonderful race.