Olympic Post a Day #4: The Olympic Torch

12 02 2010

For me, one of the true icons of the Olympics is the Olympic Torch.  This Olympic Torch relay was the longest ever in the host country.  With 90% of Canadians being within a one hour drive of the torch, nearly everyone had a chance to see the torch.

I saw the torch three times.

  1. While on the road in Vernon visiting one of my classrooms, the torch was going through town that day.  One of my program participants’ son was dancing as part of the celebration site.  The staff and other clients all went down to check it out.  The event began with Aboriginal dancers, which in my opinion was the best part.  The RBC spin-a-painter, and Coca Cola karoke drumming was fun, but didn’t feel as authentic as the traditional community members sharing their culture with the group.  It was a day I will never forget sharing with my coworkers and client’s, it was a great bonding experience.
  2. At home in New Westminster, I rode my bike over to see it start its route on Royal Ave.  My cell phone rang, and construction crew were waiting at my condo to enter to begin work – so I was able to see it start, but then had to head home, but it was great to have it in my community, right there on a street I’ve travelled hundreds of times.  On the way back home, I blew out my back tire, so I had to carry my bike back across town, sweating it out like many of the torch bearers under the flame.
  3. Today on skytrain to work, a torch bearer, in full custom and carrying her torch in a zipup cover, boarded the train.  I couldn’t help but stare, but didn’t muster the courage to ask her to let me hold it.  But there it was, just like me, taking skytrain with the morning commute.  That one, even with the torch not lit, made me feel more connected to the Games than any event.

Each time the torch was around, I looked around at the faces.  Everyone was smiling, and the energy that comes from a mass gathering sharing sheer joy is very powerful.  It’s rare that such large gatherings – that happened repeatedly in every community across our country – to have one central theme that bonds all of us.  I hope everyone had a chance to be connected to each other in this way.

As the torch’s journey comes to an end tonight, it’s a chance to come together again, and look forward to what is ahead!