Olympic Hype - Even in Scotland

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
With the Olympics commencing tonight in London I think we're all guaranteed two exciting weeks despite the negative press. But Olympic pessimists fail to see the good that the games can bring to a country - even in Scotland as I found out when I saw the Olympic Torch last month.

Submitted: July 27, 2012

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Submitted: July 27, 2012



Olympic Hype - Even in Scotland
How a brief encounter with a flag and a flame changed my outlook

As far as I was concerned, the Olympic revelries were reserved only for London and would only push Scotland and England further apart.  Let’s face it, for Scotland, I’ve always felt the Olympics are remote and we are detached from the gusto that pervades every advert, every bottle and every headline.  Nonetheless, despite my cynical apathy I felt compelled to go and see the Olympic Torch as it visited Glasgow.

Initially it seemed like an event only for kids with the whole road closed for face painting, penalty shots and men on stilts.  I was a little bemused: was it really quiet or were we just early?  So to boost my enthusiasm I bought a Union Jack from a street vender.  I was mocked because apparently it was “offset”; but I cared not, for I had all of a sudden assumed an important role: the flag bearer – the significance of the day was beckoning.

Stepping out of the shop with my just-bought Irn Bru I was astounded at my new found sense of claustrophobia – people were everywhere, a mass army of excited locals had assembled from nowhere.  I thought it would be easier to take a picture of the crowd rather than try to describe it to the folks back home.  I had never experienced this kind of mutual enthusiasm before, we didn’t know the people we stood beside but we happily chatted in anticipation. The golden Olympic cars were beginning to go by; the immense buses of Coca-Cola and Samsung right before us energising the crowd; break dancers, cyclists and even some of the local buses; followed by about four police riot vans - probably to collect the officers when it was finished but we had our theories!

One of the buses stopped.  Emerging from the vehicle to cheers from the crowd was the Olympic Torch and its bearer.  Nominated and representing the local area, she was poised and ready to make her run for this part of the country and its people.  The crowd were elated when they got to touch the Torch, even for a split second: the pristine, twinkling golden beam – the hopes and dreams of a nation, defined and tangible.  There was a pause for photos while the Torch was being lit.  After a final few whispered words the bearer ran with the cheers of the crowd behind her and before her.  My flag, aloft and fluttering – I wish I’d never doubted the Olympics.

In that moment I knew exactly what I felt: it was pride.  I was proud to support my local Torch bearer; proud to be part of the world’s best sporting event; but also proud to have a sense of belonging in the greatest nation on Earth.

© Copyright 2018 Chris Park . All rights reserved.

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