The sights & sounds, for good & for bad, surrounding the Games in Vancouver have become an integral part of our province since Jacques Rogge said those few simple words in 2003, "The International Olympic Committee has the honour of announcing that the 21st Olympic Winter Games are awarded to the city of... Vancouver." And then it all began...
VANOC became a well used word on the news, we heard everything about the planning that was going on as well as all the protesting and inevitable controversies. Then the countdown changed from years to months and it started to become real. Still I had no plans to "be there" and thought I'd just watch it on TV.
The months then dwindled down to days and an almost palpable energy began to sweep over the country and our province. If there was any question as to our country's patriotism and the pride we have in our nation, it was dispelled the night of the Opening Ceremonies. Never have I seen a more beautiful collection of Canadian images and sounds. That swell of pride became a tidal wave and swept us up in it - me included.
I am at a loss to say what happened after that. When I was in Vancouver, during the games, I watched hoardes of people, no longer strangers because they were bound together by this great thing, laughing and dancing, bursting in spontaneous choruses of O Canada, all wearing the flag and red & white, obviously awash with national pride. It was beyond what I expected and I think beyond what anyone expected.
And then it all came together with the best hockey game, I think, that Canada has ever experienced. What happened to the quiet and polite patriotism that the world expects from us? Well it sure wasn't around that night!!
The 2010 Olympics Games may not have been the best choice for our tax dollars, and that will always be up for debate, but I do know this:
The world's athletes are a shining example of courage and determination, not to mention, fitness. Maybe now we'll get off the couch and get out there and when things get rough we'll stop whining and try perserverance instead.
Our national pride has been rejuvenated and our sense of community has been restored. Maybe now we'll feel more connected to each other and be more willing to invest into the lives of our neighbours.
We've rediscovered that Canada truly is the best country in the world. Maybe now we'll stop taking it for granted.