The Olympic rush subsides

I like watching the Olympic sporting events. This is the first time I’ve lived in the host city for the Olympics and been able to experience them in such a direct way.

That isn’t to say that I bought tickets and went out to the events. I didn’t. There’s no room in my budget right now for that sort of thing, so I watched what I could (which was a lot) from the comfort of my own living room. Every workday, though, I was on a bus heading through the chaos. The mornings were fine — better than fine, even, since so many people were afraid to commute downtown the roads and buses were practically empty. The evenings on my way home were busier, sometimes excessively, but the atmosphere was one of celebration and friendliness, so I never really minded being a little late getting home.

Vancouver 2010 by night

I love watching the sports on tv, though. Women’s downhill, with so many wipeouts at such high speeds, reinforced my longtime fear of getting back on skis. (I fell when I was sixteen and terrified myself, and haven’t been skiing since.) Curling (yes, curling) had some crazy tense moments. Seeing the men’s moguls gold medal win was exciting. Watching the women’s gold medal game made me want to get out and join a team, even though I can’t even stand up on hockey skates. And today’s Canada-USA men’s hockey game was so intense and stressful and amazing to watch that I can’t really express it appropriately. It was maybe the best hockey game I’ve ever watched, and the winning moment felt like a triumph for the country somehow, and an amazing end to the whole show. Let’s not discuss the actual closing ceremonies (except that part where they raised the fourth pillar and let Catriona Le May Doan light it with her torch properly. That was classy. Oh yeah and Neil Young, I like him too.)

Considering I live in the host city, I didn’t really get out to many events. The logistics of navigating downtown with a toddler who wants to walk everywhere herself in those crowds was just too overwhelming to contemplate, and going without the family (which I did for one whirlwind night, and took photos of,) just wasn’t as satisfying somehow. There was certainly no chance we could get into the multi-hour lineups for some of the venues with Lyra to contend with, and in some ways that was a disappointing thing to come to terms with. In the end, though, it wasn’t that big of a deal. I don’t feel like I needed to get out to those events to be able to say that I was here during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. I definitely don’t feel like I missed out because I have a kid and didn’t do my best to work around that fact. If it had really mattered that much to me, I would have made it happen.

Now that the games are over, the city will revert back to its normal self. I think some folks might have MegaPartyWhiplash after this. It’s definitely going to be strange to NOT have the games hanging over our heads all the time… I sometimes feel like that’s all people have talked about since I moved here. Now that it’s over, we get to enjoy the aftermath, which is probably not going to be very pretty. But hey, the highway to Whistler looks good now, and we got a new Skytrain line to the airport, so yay us. I can’t imagine what the longterm financial costs will be. Oh well, it’s not like I could afford a house here anyway.

But right now, after the games have ended and we’re all reeling from various victories and stories of winning against all the odds and so on, things feel pretty good. It was a fun ride, Vancouver, and thanks for coming out to play with the world for a couple of weeks.

Vancouver 2010 by night