The XV Olympic Games opened twenty years ago here in Calgary, and for those of us who were volunteers, it was a magical time.
I worked in biathlon at the Canmore Nordic Centre, taking results from other volunteers and using the radio to send results to the scoring office: in my case, it was half of (i.e., eight) lanes of the standing shooting range. The job was to give the bib number, the lane number, and the number of misses (of the five targets in biathlon).
The number would either be translated into penalty loops (skiied by the competitor just down from the range during individual races) or penalty minutes (during the relay), and co-ordinated with the former when necessary.
It was a fun job, kept me outside (wonderful when it was warm, and a serious pain when it was cold), and let me do the one thing every volunteer really wanted: interact with the athletes.
Although it took me three years to qualify -- and I'm not sure if they'd give me any credit if I wanted to work the Vancouver Olympics in two years -- and was a lot of prep work (memorize the rule book, and work enough qualifying races beforehand), it was a blast.
We got great clothes, although my coat was probably 18 sizes too big (and I'm not exactly small!). Lucky for me, one of the support squad for the Great Britain biathlon team not only hated his coat, but it was equally small for him.
A deal was struck for after our events. He got my very warm and far too big coat, and I got his exceptionally stylish wool felt one.
Yes, I still have mine -- that's the right arm patch I photographed this morning -- although I don't wear it often. But it still fits great, and feels so good on.
There's an aphorism printed at the end of the videotape that was shot featuring the volunteers that was handed out after it was all over, that reads something to the effect of
For those who were not there, no explanation is enough.
For those who were, none is necessary.
And as David Foster's theme song goes....
Can't you feel it?
The feeling surrounds you.
Won't you feel it?
And now that it's found you.
Don't you feel it?
The feeling's in the air.
Can't you feel it?
Wednesday, 13 February 2008
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