Posted on February 17, 2010
Confessions Of A Hypocrite
When Vancouver and Whistler were first awarded the 2010 Olympic Winter Games seven years ago, I was less than enthused. I’ve never been a fan of the Olympics generally and wasn’t pumped for them to be held in British Columbia specifically. My sentiments spent the next near-decade snowballing, tangling up in an avalanche of over-spending, criticizing reports, suffering social programs and homelessness to name a few. While you can talk to me until you’re blue in the face, I will never, ever agree that athletic facilities trump any of the problems within our Province that are rapidly deteriorating. That said, I also can’t deny the fact that the Games are very much here.
This is where I admit to waving the white flag, eat my words and declare my own hypocrisy. Despite it all, I am very, very excited for the celebrations at hand.
I suppose it began last Thursday. I made my way to 49th Avenue in an attempt to catch Steve Nash carry the torch and felt entirely unpatriotic. In a sea of red and white, I stood out like a sore thumb in my purple basketball jersey. I intended to get Nash’s attention and, seemingly, it worked. Without red and white, I felt entirely alienated so made the decision that I’d actually sport Canada’s colours the next day as the torch made its way past my office downtown.
The excitement on Georgia Street Friday morning was incredible with a sea of proud Canadians stretched, quite literally, as far as my eyes could see. And as we cheered, applauded and shouted, everyone was speculating who’d ultimately light the cauldron that night at BC Place Stadium. I had to admit that even I, the Olympic Cynic, was curious. [Cue that white flag I was telling you about.]
Curled up on my couch that evening, I sat mesmerized as so many of the beautiful elements of our country’s culture unfolded before millions of eyes around the globe. British Columbia is only a fraction of the rich tapestry that is Canada, made up of people, images, songs, history and events that have shaped and transformed the home in which you and I live today. Perhaps the hydraulic issue served as an unintended measure of proof that, despite how breathtaking Canada is, it is not perfect. We’d be fools to deny such flaws exist but can instead unite in the pride that threads through us all and hope that one day we’ll see a country in which the final pieces click into place.
I’ve been called many names in the past: Homebody, Little Miss Anti-Social and even Not A Joiner. While those labels can certainly ring true at the best of times, now is not one of them. The movement and spirit of Canadian pride has spread across this city like wildfire. Think of Vancouver as being likened to Zombieland – minus the fleshy tenancies but instead with a healthy dose of infectious patriotism.
The ’round-the-clock music, cheers, screams and partying no longer cause me to roll my eyes but instead stifle giggles. If anything, this event has served as a personal reminder of how truly magical British Columbia is. It’s easy to take the mountains and ocean and blue sky and fresh air for granted each day when it’s on my doorstep. To be given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see those elements of our nation through the eyes of countless international visitors is a gift. While I certainly refuse to turn a blind eye to the critical needs on the streets of my city and in the towns of my province, it would also be a shame were I to miss out on such an amazing opportunity in my own front yard.
The strangest thing about this all is the notion that in a few short weeks, the streets will have emptied out, Robson Square will be once again quiet on my early morning walks to work and we will all be left wondering if it was just a dream…