My first victory ceremony
There is simply zero chance of having a boring day out here.
Waking up early was no challenge for me this morning, since the Deuce was heading to work early – a better chef than I ever came close to being – and the fire, which had kept me so warm in the evening, had fizzled out during the night.
I don’t want to sound like a complete weakling but I had been quite cozy before the morning, with a husky sprawled across my lower half and a serious comforter cocooned around me, but when I realized I’d have to come out eventually I nearly shed a tear.
Nonetheless, I built up enough courage, did my best to put my mind into a hypnotic trance and sprinted for the shower. Oddly enough, I emerged feeling as much energy as I’ve felt in days – though not bathing in booze the night before may have helped considerably.
Anyway, I packed the few items I had removed from the car when I arrived and made my way back toward Vancouver. Squamish, the closest town to my buddy’s place, is about a 35-minute drive from Vancouver, but I had to reach Port Coquitlam so the whole jaunt took a little over an hour.
Awaiting me was my aunt and uncle, whom I haven’t seen in a few years and whom I’ll be staying with for the duration of the Games. As far as Port Coquitlam might be for a permanent commute into downtown Vancouver, I have to admit hopping the train a few blocks from their home is pretty easy stuff.
After the quickest of visits, I left my new suite and made my way back to the media centre. Somewhere along the way is when I received this text:
“Do you want a ticket to the victory ceremony?”
Without even realizing that meant I would see Maelle Ricker receive her gold, I sent back, “Yeah boy!” OK, I totally used another word in front of that phrase but I’ve omitted it for professional reasons.
Now I normally only use first names, or even no names at all, when I speak of friends in my blog but the other night I ended up in the care of some members of the Cree Nation from Ottawa and just have to tell you the name of the guy they had with them.
How great is that? If you’re having trouble with it in any way, imagine what the scene looked like as he attempted to spell it to me while I typed it into my phone, moments after we had finished the latest shot of tequila. And while some of you out there probably handle tequila quite well, there is a 16-year-old dead patch in my friend’s parents’ lawn back in Regina to remind me of exactly what that Mexican delight can do to me.
Anyway, Peshaunquet is actually from Winnipeg and was assigned to the Cree Nation as a delegate for while they are here and he had scored some tickets to the victory ceremony.
So for the afternoon, I took things rather easy. I watched some coverage in the hospitality room, where I met a couple of local guys who were enjoying a beer after their own shifts. One of them was actually in that You Gotta Be Here commercial – the one with Michael J. Fox and Ryan Reynolds – but you only see him hiking away from the camera alongside a creek. Plus he doesn’t like hockey either, so I was making fun of him for well over an hour.
Great guy, though.
Then at about 10 after four I finally met up with my friend Martina, her friend and their boys, as they have been taking in the action here as well. They are also fellow bloggers, who can be read at http://vancouverorbust.wordpress.com/. They wanted to see the Alberta house – unfortunately not much to it – and so we walked down Robson toward BC Place and did just that.
From there I made my way to where I was to meet Peshaunquet, as we were supposed to hook up at 5:30 p.m. I wasn’t 20 metres from Alberta house when I ran into former CFLer David Benefield.
Being a Rider fan, I recognized him right away and started to talk to him. What’s weird is he thought he knew me as well and had been looking at me as I came up to him. (Likely because of my Niners’ hat, the NFL team he had started his career with.)
We discussed the Olympics and what his impression had been so far.
He said it perfect. It’s like preparing for a career for four years in university and then having to sit through a job interview. No matter how ready you think you are, there are surprises coming that you never anticipate.
Bottom line, he was happy with what he was seeing and believes the negative reviews from the outside are quite inaccurate.
After a great conversation – and quick plug for my blog of course – I made my way to the meeting spot to wait for Peshaunquet.
I was right on time. Peshaunquet was not.
As if the malfunctioning equipment occurring around here lately wasn’t causing enough issues in Richmond, Peshaunquet ends up on a city bus that breaks down right in the middle of rush hour. Thankfully, a few of the cabs in this city actually do work and he was able to catch one.
Unfortunately, not before I stood for an hour on the corner, while the sun and any remnants of warmth disappeared for the night. But, the good news is eventually he and my ticket found their way to me and we got to our seats just as the show began.
And what a show! I wasn’t sure what I would take away from sitting amongst thousands of people and watching a few medal ceremonies but it was fantastic. The crowd was buzzing for all the medallists but the roof came off for Ricker, which I have on video and will post once I make sure the result won’t be jail time for me.
Anyway, after the ceremonies everyone else enjoyed a Paul Brandt concert, while I argued about inappropriate mothering with a lady over Twitter. Apparently, I’m a heinous, awful man for believing it’s gross to breastfeed a five year old but that’s another blog altogether.
When the ceremony ended, I parted ways with Peshaunquet and company so I could come back here to write. When I got back I ran into a 10-year-old reporter from Washington, who I will tell you all about tomorrow.
One, because I’ve just rambled on for 1,100 words, making almost no real points along the way. And two, because I have to catch the train to Port Coquitlam about 12 blocks from here in 15 minutes or I’ll be adding to the Vancouver homeless problem tonight.
Take care all!