Posted by: PPHR | March 6, 2010

Local Life

Now What?

Well! It came, it made a big splash, and now it’s moving on to Russia. The beast that is the Olympics hit us hard, and now we wander around Whistler in a daze as we marvel at how quickly a beast that size can disappear after we watched its laborious approach for seven long years.

The most common analogy is that of the “Olympic hangover”, and it truly does look like the day after a big party, as semi confused faces wander around now vacant stages in the midst of deconstruction, wondering what to do with themselves now that the fabled beast known as, “2010”, has come and gone. With the possible exception of my buddy, Ken, nobody I’ve seen looks all that nauseas, but there is a palpable feeling of “now what?” clouding the atmosphere, with fond reminiscence of the recent past blended with an unseen future.

I suppose the analogy also fits in well with the most common protest about how the Olympics are “just” a two week celebration. My question to those protesters is: how is a celebration of peace, unity, and the pursuit of excellence, a bad thing? These are all intangible concepts, but do they truly lose any value because they can’t be packaged and sold off a shelf? Sure they cost a lot, but how much does it cost to inspire a nation, or to remind a world that humans from different borders can compete without bloodshed? And what do we get in return when people start to believe that? We were reminded, no, we were taught, that Canadians can not only stand on the world stage with our heads held high, but we can stand on the very top of the podium with the most Gold medals ever won by any nation in the history of the Winter Olympics.

And one of the things I’m most proud of, is the fact (belief?) that we managed to accomplish a successful Olympic games, while still maintaining our grace and our sportsmanship. We embraced all different corners of our nation in order to welcome the world into our home, and we welcomed them with open arms & bigger smiles. It may sound rather “un-Canadian” of me, but I am quite proud of how we showed off to the world for the past two weeks.

There are many legacies that are left behind by these Olympics/Paralympics, such as new housing, new athletic facilities, and new infrastructure, but I hope the most lasting legacy we see all through Canada is the belief that seeking excellence is a good thing, and that we should no longer be content to just show up, while whining about how arrogant those Americans are for always trying to win everything. We have always been known as the Great White North; I hope a new generation of Canadian kids grows up believing that the Greatness can refer to far more than just our land mass.

I know there are still many who disagree with me, and hold fast to their belief that the Olympic/Paralympic dream is a big waste of money, and I’m fine with that. Criticism helped improve our games to what I consider to be a high level of excellence, I’m thankful for that. The Olympics/Paralympics are definitely not for everyone. They are for the type of people who believed that the world might not be flat, that the 4 minute mile can be broken, that man can play golf on the moon, that nobody is “confined to a wheelchair”, that if something can be done, it can be done better, and that there is value in committing to doing something better than it has ever been done before.

Pete Crutchfield riding his "bucket"

And for those of you who do enjoy watching those who embrace the pursuit of excellence, be sure to check out the Paralympics which begin on the 12th of March. The party may be a smaller “after party”, but the athletes train just as hard as the able bodied ones do, and you’re watching athletes who are not doing it for the (nearly non-existent) glory & accolades, they are truly doing it to push their bodies to achieve excellence in their sport better than all other competitors. If you thought it was exciting to see the Olympic skiers tearing down the downhill course at incredible speeds, wait until you see people doing it with limited vision, or while riding “a bucket” at over 120km/h. (I’ll have more about “sit skiing” in upcoming posts.)

– Pete Crutchfield, Night Manager.

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