I am still recovering, more than 48 hours after the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, BC, Canada ended. My body still aches a litt. My feet no longer hurt at least. I still need more sleep. Compared to how I felt 24 hrs after the Olympics ended, this is a massive upgrade. My body was completely running on empty, my feet were in considerable pain & I was just waking up from my first sleep since the games had officially ended.
Yet, a part of me wishes it was still going on. The city was incredible for the past couple weeks and the athletic competition in this town will never be matched again.
Of course, I am just as thankful its over. For me, it wasnt just 17 days long. Its been 17 days of hounding competitions, a week of hounding competitors coming into town before that, weeks of getting prepared before the Olympics before that & years of impatient waiting for this to get here before that. Its literally eaten up the better part of this decade in my life.
For me, the joy of it all was balanced out with stress, annoyance & pain. I had fun at times, but other times I loathed the games existence. For each moment of celebrating a Canadian victory, or meeting a new cool athlete, or chatting with people I havent seen in awhile, or ever before, there was the nuisances.
-Like not being able to eat at my favorite places because of the line ups & inflated menu prices for the Olympic cash grab competition.
-There was the absolutely brutal translink service, who if transportation was an Olympic event, would get a DNF.
-There was the overzealous volunteers & security guards who think their title as "Olympic volunteers" gave them a legal right to put their hands on me & tell me what to do. Some of them should have been choked till their faces were as blue as the jackets they were given. Somehow, I controlled myself enough to not do this even once. Several occasions I gave a variety of choice words, and even more often I just simply waved my hand at them like "go away you unimportant gnat" & did what I wanted anyways.
These things, were not part of the enjoyable Olympic experience that was supposed to be had. Neither was having SIX wannabe Mounties in VPD jackets telling several people they werent allowed to stand in a PUBLIC PLACE with no reason while they sat on horses that probably were more competent than the mountie school rejects riding them. The kicker for me had to be when 3 cops (not a single one being from Vancouver) came up to me at Brittania Ice Rink & told me I couldnt touch THE FENCE!!!! Yes, thats right, the....fucking....FENCE. Not just any fence either, the 3rd outer layer of fencing. Thats right, they had THREE FENCES. I was told the fence had a sensor on it that detected I had touched it...and it took THREE TAX PAYER PAID ARMED COPS to tell me not to touch the 3rd outer layer of fencing at a damn practice rink. Yes, this is the Vancouver I was living in for a month.
When I asked them why I couldnt touch the 3rd outer layer of a fence that was keeping me about 50-100 feet from the athletes, no word of a lie, one of them (from Calgary, a terrorist threat hotbed obviously, why else would they hire him for such an important job) actually used the reasoning "they blew up a bomb in '96".... which I responded "uhh, yeah. In Atlanta, fucking Georgia 14 years ago". After I stared at him for a minute or so blankly assuming the logic of that comment would eventually sink in he replied that they had to assure things were safe yada yada yada. At that time, I pushed the limits of getting arrested & suggested that if I actually meant to do harm, I could have stabbed several dozen athletes by now downtown. Where was the security there? They really didnt have a reasonable answer for that other than to say "you shouldnt say things like that' which I replied with more blank stares. What were they going to do, arrest me for pointing out logic? Yes, the overkill of police were keeping the state of the art.....err.....uhh...33 year old arena with seating for maybe 300 people under 24/7 watch behind 3 layers of fencing. Why? Because a public park in 1996 had a bomb go off. Maybe you shoulda had the security at one of the dozens of public gathering areas instead then? Might have seemed like a better use of at least 1 or 2 of those fences....certainly a better use of some of the no less than 11 cops I counted there. Priorities at these games were to say the least, ass backwards. Ok, I am ranting a bit here...back on track.
From an autographing standpoint, it was so-so. Some wonderful times, some downright dreadful times. The weather, which in Vancouver in February usually consists of rain, or showers, or a light drizzle had a shockingly large amount of SUNSHINE thru the early part of it & the end.
My favorite autographing ventures were
-Getting various athletes coming in at the airport upon arrivals, like Lindsey Vonn, Team Canada womens hockey team & Alex Ovechkin.
-Getting Team Canada mens & womens team multiple times at Hockey House,
-Snagging Peter Forsberg almost daily.
-Getting to go for a few of the other womens hockey teams.
-Of course, last but not least, getting Stephen Colbert during the Colbert Report filmings.
My least favorite moments.
-Constantly missing people by a few minutes.
-No cover outside the athletes village when it rained,
-Anything to do with Team Canada staff members
-Anything to do with Alex Radulov or Jaromir Jagr, who both were downright jerks here, including Radulov threatening to kill one out of town hound after their last loss.
My favorite non-hounding memories clearly include
-Watching the Team Canada mens & womens hockey team win their Gold medals in our building. I watched the womens game in a McDonalds restaraunt since all the bars were full nearby, while I managed (after getting up really damn early) to get a spot at a bar downtown to watch the mens game, just 1 block from the arena.
-Being at the Finland Bronze medal womens hockey win over Sweden.
-Being invited by someone to go into the Team Canada womens celebration party (actually declined for multiple reasons..mostly my feet were in considerable discomfort),
-Chatting with different athletes & staff & hearing them continually say how much they liked the city...
-And of course, getting to see a bit of The Colbert Report.
My least enjoyable non-hounding parts of it.
-My feet. They hurt a LOT the last few days. Had to buy new insoles for my shoes once, they last two days before hurting again. I had worn thru the heel part that quick.
-The lack of sleep. The last week or so of the games, I was finally getting some normal sleep, but at the cost of not hounding the mornings.
-The frustration of having to go to C over to L, across to E, over to Q, down to F, thru to X just to get from point A to point B. Nothing was ever a simple straight logical line.
-The continual "can I help you" people. There ware FAR too many people doing this job. Easily 10 times a day someone would ask me if they could help me...at a place I have been a thousand times before. Maybe just ask people if they truly look lost next time. I applaud your enthusiasm for trying to help, but more often than not, you were a nuisance to regulars.
In the end, it was an adventure that despite the negative points I am glad to have witnessed & been a part of. Nothing else I have ever done, nor will ever do again was as incredible, demanding, challenging & interesting as this. Going for the Canucks in a couple weeks will seem quite dull in comparison.
I will come up with a best & worst list for the Olympics soon. once I have compiled all the data I can, sorted it & have time to post it.