Sunday, February 14, 2010

Olympic Update


That was the sound of Canadians breathing a collective sigh of relief. A gold medal safely won on home soil. Actually, the last 24 hours have brought a medal of each colour, so good news all around. Billions spent now justified.

Okay, okay -- I'll drop the cynicism now. I have NO use for the protesters yesterday who broke and smashed things to prove...what? The decisons have already been made, people. The money spent. No use setting fire to the barn once the horse has left the building. Unless...maybe you're looking for attention of a different sort? I fully support everyone's right to peaceful protest -- and I hope those who choose to do so continue.

HUGE congratulations to all the athletes who have made it here, are at the pinnacle of their respective sports, and show themselves to be true Olympians. 

The cynic in me was quieted still more last night, after a tour around downtown Vancouver. This is the part of the Games I love.

I was surprised by how much the atmosphere felt like it had back in Calgary -- very family-friendly, lots of celebration and good sports. I was in the beer tent beside the Canada Pavilion in Live City
Downtown when the women's moguls was on, and the cheering for Jenn Heil was electric. When she was ousted at the very end by Hannah Keirney, though, everyone cheered for her, too.

Sadly, I ended up carrying a dead camera around with me all night, so the pix here are of sorry iPhone quality, but I have to say that the rain didn't deter the enthusiasm of the crowds who roamed Vancouver's streets on the first full day of the Olympic Games...and a great deal of fun was had by all.

[A quick pic summary from top to bottom: Crowds dance to bands at the LiveCity stage in Yaletown, Yahoo's FANcouver site in Yaletown [free internet!], a brilliant tree underneath the free zipline in Robson Square, the crowd celebrates Jenn Heil's silver near the Canada pavilion at LiveCity Downtown, the Four Host First Nations Pavilion on Georgia St by the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Canada Post celebrates the flag above the crowds on Hamilton Street, and the Hockey Night in Canada guys brave the rain outside the CBC and go live.]

We walked for around seven hours, and made it to a ton of the free sites and pavilions around downtown. If you are in the area, I highly recommend you lace on your good walking shoes and go out to take part.

You'll find a great summary of all the open sites in the Lower Mainland HERE. Tons to do. Enjoy a side of Vancouver rarely seen -- SO much fun to be had.

And to finish, a very beautiful poem I have permission to share with you from writer Dee-Ann LeBlanc. Dee-Ann is a naturalized Canadian-citizen, born in the US, and she is an avid and enthusiastic volunteer for the Games. She and I have shared the many tribulations of the lead-up to the Games, as we also share the same drive-way...the Sea to Sky highway. Her portion of it is longer and more dangerous than my own, since she lives near Squamish.

I'm thrilled she has allowed me to air her poetic thoughts here...

The Games
by Dee-Ann LeBlanc

Sometimes I feel too much.

Everything ugly in this world
everything ugly wrought by man
famine, sickness,
bigotry, war
and the endless droning
of cynical voices
incapable of any kind of joy

Weighs down on me
until I can only
curl around the
sputtering spark
that's left of my
once bright spirit

I think that's what drew me
to the flame of the games

Not the literal flame
of the real world,
with its human flaws
so easily listed

But to the ideal of the games

To the bright flame
of love, courage,
peace, strength, and dedication
that draws people together
in a world seemed determined
to tear us apart

So while cynics protest
just for the attention
and politicians manipulate
for selfish gains
I'll rest my sputtering spark
for a while
in the arms of the flame

And find warmth
in the hopes of the games

Thank you, Dee!



Anonymous said...

Glad you enjoyed your walking day! How fun to experience it close up. (I, however, prefer to stay here on the island, away from the crowds... but I think I'm probably missing quite the experience!)

Thanks for sharing that poem -- excellent!

Dee-Ann LeBlanc said...

Glad you enjoyed it. :)

A Novel Woman said...

Wonderful observations as usual, and that poem was fantastic.

And, might I add, GO CANADA!

Ev Bishop said...

Dear Dee-Ann and kc,

Lovely poem, Dee. It's funny (or not), but I was one of those who was a bit cynical about the Olympics until the tragic luge accident and suddenly I realized _what_ these amazing athletes actually do and my mind boggled--and yes, they do bring the world together in a positive way as you so eloquently expressed (and contrasted with our all too "normal" clashing :(). I'm also really tired of people who complain about this little glitch or that--the ceremony was GORGEOUS, the work to pull everything off, EXTREME.

I second Pam--GO CANADA!