Boo! Boo! You Boo-Bird, You!

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I have a horrible admission to make. I have not yet been to the Olympics. I know, I know. The whole thing is half way done and I have not made the pilgrimage. Shameful, isn’t it?

Wait a minute,  there’s a knock on the door. It may be the folks from immigration asking me to surrender my Canadian passport.

I was doing a television story in the Fraser Valley this week ( by design, in the opposite direction from the Olympics) and, in a casual moment, the interview subject  positively pounced on my lack of celebratory participation. Why, I thought, was this person seeking to instill in me some sense of shame?

Why did they assume that because I wasn’t prepared to be in the midst of the madding crowd I was somehow unpatriotic? That’s a hell of a leap and, frankly, it pissed me off !

I have been watching The Games on television since they began. I cheer when Canada wins. I get a lump in the throat, if not a heartfelt tear in the eye, when the medals are awarded and Oh Canada is played.(By the way, someone should tell our athletes on the podium that you don’t keep your toque on during the national anthem.)

Both of my children have been having a good time at the big party and my wife is a daily Olympic volunteer. I feel intimately, if not peripherally, connected to it. I realize that’s a contradiction in terms.

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The fact is I simply don’t like to be surrounded my that many people. Some of you may feel the same. I’d keep it quiet, if I were you. It’s not a phobia, it’s an innate awareness of my own strengths and weaknesses. There is, however, a growing sense of  ‘us‘ and ‘them‘ around this Olympic event. It has become the ultimate water cooler topic even if you’re nowhere near a water cooler. And if you dare to admit that you haven’t been whooping it up in public with a cowbell and face paint there’s this assumption that there must be something truly wrong with you. Maybe that’s why all those Vancouverites got out of town before the whole thing began. They knew there was no way to remain behind and not be fully on the bandwagon.

Today the Canadian and American mens hockey teams will have their first big game. One of my kids will come over and we will sit down, eat homemade pizza and have a drink while we watch the action on my lovely, new hd tv. We could climb aboard mass transit, ride into Vancouver, stand in the street and struggle to watch it with thousands of screaming others. Would it be more enjoyable that way? Probably. It’s really a matter of degrees.

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The Olympics are going well and it seems that my own participatory drought is about to end because my dedicated wife wants me to attend a social event at a Games venue one night this week. Funny thing about the psychology of the Olympics…it’s supposed to foster all these feelings of goodwill and kindred kindness….but, boy, you’d better be prepared to do your fair share of cheerleading or suffer the social consequences.

I’m not here to rain on anyone’s parade…no matter how hysterical it may get. All I would ask is that others, intoxicated by the glory of the moment,  not parade on my clearly defined sense of personal space.

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4 Responses to “Boo! Boo! You Boo-Bird, You!”

  1. Bravo, I feel exactly the same unfortunalely I have to work in Coal Harbour ( Urban fare) tomorrow and Yaletown (Urban fare ) on friday so I will be one of the people on public transport from White Rock. I dislike crowds and get very uneasy…. Need the money so away I go. Don’t feel bad Dave, you are not alone… What kind of Pizza?

  2. Dawn Bennett Says:

    I’ve been wondering about that myself. I was going to take a day trip over but I’m getting messages by friends that it’s a zoo with long waits for anything and no bathrooms. I may have to rethink.

  3. I absolutely understand, being a person who is not fond of crowds. As much I wish I were there, I know I wouldn’t be out in the streets all that often. Even from my tiny TV screen I can see how insane it is! However, I am so happy to see the spirit and very pleased for my adopted city that it’s enjoying such a wonderful bout of attention. I wonder if anyone has given any thought to a potential influx of new citizens after the Olympics. If you spend to long in the place, it gets under your skin and you do end up making the move!!!
    I think it’s perfectly ok for you to stay home, but since you’re being coaxed, I hope you enjoy your Olympic night out!

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