pexels-photo-171053.jpg

I feel for Patrick Chan, stuck at a competition without his outfit. He certainly has more experience than I'll ever get at this game, but, um, may I offer a tip? Put everything you can't do without in your carry-on.

My eldest daughter and I are leaving for our karate World Championships next week and our carry-on strategy is clear: Take your fighting uniform, all your sparring pads, and (for me, since I also compete in traditional kata) your traditional gi. Stuff everything in a carry-on suitcase and take it with you on the plane. Do not take the airline's offer to check it. Keep that bag with you at all times. (Use your "personal item" luggage to schlep everything else you need; in my case a computer, several cameras because on top of competing and coaching and cheering I also take pictures and videos for our team, and a book.)

I have seen people arriving at a competition without their stuff because airlines being what they are, they sometimes lose stuff. And who wants to go to the trouble of training for months and spending all that money getting yourself to a big championship and not be able to compete at your best because the airline misplaced your stuff?

Air travel is a fantastic thing. But it's powered by humans and we know how those are. They sometimes goof. Let them lose the stuff you can easily replace - like your regular clothes. Don't let them goof with your crucial gear.