As I said last night in my phone post I’m going to burn through some adjectives trying to describe the opening ceremonies. I said I was going to elaborate on large, fun and spectacular. The one word I forgot to mention that was on everyone’s, and I really mean everyone’s, lips was, HOT. I have never sweat so much in my life!! Buckets out of every pore. Pores I didn’t even know existed were sweating. I can imagine that our glistening foreheads were a sight on the TV. I’ve heard that I was spotted a couple of times which is awesome. I was worried that the glare from my greasy head would ruin any chance of my being recognized.
In all seriousness last night was indescribable. However, the vicarious living in the title of this post refers not to friends and loved ones living through me; rather it refers to me living through them. Ironically, we athletes don’t really get to see the ceremonies at all. So all I know about the first three quarters of it is what I’ve heard from you; sounds like it was pretty wicked. I’ve heard the fireworks were astounding, and that there was a drum session that was borderline psychedelic. I can’t wait to watch it on tape when all this is over.
For those of you who are curious here’s my version of the opening ceremonies: We were in the Gymnastics arena for the start, waiting to begin the LONG and SLOW march to the stadium. For those who have driven in Montreal it was similar to driving on the MET at around 5:15 in the afternoon. Move five meters, stop and repeat…endlessly. Those of you who have had the pleasure to drive with me, can imagine my state of mind by the time we reached the entrance to the stadium! As we descended below the stadium to make our entrance, a group in the rear of our delegation broke out into Oh Canada. Needless to say it was taken up by all of us. The echo and volume in the narrow tunnel was astounding. I can’t decide if the Goosebumps I experienced at that point were caused by the all of us breaking into song, or the sever dehydration I was experiencing at that point. Either way my delirium was only increased upon our entry into the massive “birds nest” stadium. The roar of the crowd, the Canadian flags everywhere and the feeling of “Oh man, here we go!” was something I’ll never forget. From then on it was a mixture of “this is incredible” “hey look there” “check that out” “there’s so and so” and “oh my god I’m tired, why can’t we have flipping chairs and some water”. Obviously the lighting of the torch was a high point. What a brilliant and beautiful idea that was. That is an image that will be burnt into my mind for ever.
For all the flak China has received about…well, everything leading up to these games, it still comes as no surprise that they put on an elegant and massive show. I may be precocious in saying so, but from what I’ve seen in my three trips to China and politics aside, I believe that elegant and massive are a good description of the history and culture of this truly fascinating place. Everything is huge and beautiful. The construction done for the games is well finished, well thought out and beautiful. In fact, my biggest qualm would have to be that things are too organized. The security is TIGHT, the constant checks get redundant pretty quickly, and the volunteers are almost too helpful if that possible. I guess the severity of those complaints is a good indication of how everything is going. God forbid they’re concerned for our safety and well being 😉
Thanks to all who have written me so far. I’ve got too many to reply to individually but i just wanted to take this opportunity to tell you all i check my mail everyday many times and I just love to receive the kind words and encouragment. Thank You.
Attached are two pictures, one of Kenna Robins and Mike (“big mike” on this blog) Creamer, and one of Mike and I, all on the floor of the stadium.