How I spent my winter vacation…
Hi there, remember me?
There are actually numerous reasons for my mini hiatus since the close of the Olympics. I could spend a lot of time going on about extended head colds, utter exhaustion, unorganized attempts at getting back into freelancing and a possible clinical addiction to online gaming.
But instead I’ll simply blame my lack of motivation to write on the inevitable lull that is my post-craziest-16-days-of-all-time life and then attempt to go back to how things were a little more than a month ago. All the while hoping – pretending – anything I may discuss in the future, be it about sports or my own experiences, will actually be worth five or ten minutes of your day.
The good news for any of you who followed along during the Games but aren’t sure a blog about sports is something you want to regularly read is, something happened to me in Vancouver that has changed how I feel about my life, this world and this blog.
The bad news is I haven’t figured out what that is exactly and doubt any self-transformation – however large – has made me any less of a brash opinion factory, or any more of an insightfully riveting writer.
In the week and a half since I came home I have been asked by nearly everyone I talk to how the Olympics went. Aside from the sheer fact it was amazing in basically every way, if I had to sum up how I feel about my experience in just one short statement it would be:
I learned a lot.
And now for the extended version…
For starters, I learned empty space on the side of a downtown road does not always mean parking spot. And even if it does at 1:30 p.m., it might not be in about 91 minutes.
I also learned that 16-straight days of go-go-go is approximately three and a half too many for my out-of-shape body. Incidentally, I also learned the price for pushing past that limit is two solid weeks with a debilitating head cold.
But it’s more than that.
I learned that I am one of 34 million people part of something unbelievable that roughly 6.766 billion others don’t get to share in, which is as humbling as it is staggering.
I learned that my country is an example of the possibility of global unity, as for more than two weeks I watched people of every age, race and creed wave the Maple Leaf and celebrate their common ground.
I also learned something about all that makes certain folks jealous and so they focus solely on the negatives and do nothing but point out mistakes, such as broken down ice cleaners, our inability to control the weather and a torch that momentarily operated at 80 per cent.
But I learned when we do make mistakes, we respond by poking fun at ourselves on international television. And when we do it, we’re much better at it than David Letterman’s writing staff.
Speaking of humour, I learned I don’t need to constantly rely on it in my writing in order to captivate an audience. And that’s probably a really good thing since sometimes I’m just not that funny.
I learned time really can heal all wounds and being Canadian can be bigger than past wrong doings, as the partnership between VANOC and the Four Host First Nations reflects. And one extremely patriotic Anishnaabe man taught me as long as we don’t forget what happened long ago, we can move forward, together, with common goals.
On a side note, I learned how to pronounce Peshaunquet.
I learned the sun actually does shine in Vancouver in the winter and when it does, it’s mag-freakin’-nificent! However, I also learned the sun out there is kind of like Chinooks in southern Alberta; those of us who live here can pretend our winters are mild all we want but there’s a reason the world associates us with wind and snow.
I learned Canadian women kick all kinds of ass. They are beautiful. They are smart. And they are much, much better at sports than absolutely everyone else.
Mind you, I unfortunately learned with everything that is FUBAR in this world some people will still find the time to be offended at how some of our fine ladies celebrate.
And then I learned being a journalist means a periodic association with idiots, who will insult the intelligence of those clearly smarter than they by rewording an already dumb question over and over until they manipulate the subject’s response into exactly what they think will sell their story. But I also learned if you are confronted by one of these people and explain to them why that technique is hack journalism, their only retort will likely be “Yeah? Well who do you work for?”
I learned I should start judging each individual by who they are and not by where they come from. And I realized we are so much more like our American neighbours than we are different, and that being proud of one’s country does not mean having to be in constant competition with another’s.
Of course, I learned I could realize all of that and still REALLY, REALLY, REALLY enjoy beating them. And I mean like A LOT.
I learned that nobody throws a bigger party than Canadians. So much so that a writer from Fort Worth, Texas actually referenced the sight to the likes of the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Don’t even bother to be offended by that because he’s a moron but just think about it; how many Canadian flags do you think were out at these Games when we’re being compared to Nazi propaganda? Now that’s a celebration!
I learned the statement, “Hockey is like religion to Canadians” is absolutely 100 per cent FALSE.
Hockey is bigger.
With all due respect to those freaking out right now, I don’t mean to offend you but it’s true. Religion, by definition, can’t bring a free nation such as Canada together the way that overtime goal on Feb. 28 did. Say what you want about pointless dumb sports but when I stood among the million-person mob after that game, I saw Muslims, Christians, Jews, Atheists and everyone else dancing, singing, hugging and cheering all together in complete peace.
When has religion accomplished that?
Anyway, I just want to say I’m back in the blogging routine once again and I hope you all will continue to check back to see what’s on my mind from time to time, even though it will mostly be pro-sports related again. I want to thank everyone who followed during the Olympics and especially to those who had such nice comments for me.
It was an honour to write for you while I was out there and I hope I was able to give some of you a different look at what it was like to live those Games each and every day.
And that’s really the biggest thing I learned. No matter how amazing some times can be it’s not so much the moments that makes them memorable but the people you shared them with.
So thanks for making Vancouver 2010 one of the best experiences of my life.