Wednesday, February 17, 2010
My Feelings on the Olympics
This was actually written on Friday, Feb. 12, 2010
Well, I don’t know what to say. I am very firm in my beliefs that having the Olympics in Vancouver is a bad idea. There are many different aspects that contribute to the negative feelings and the reasons why we shouldn’t have the Games here. My biggest reason for not supporting the Games is that we simply can’t afford it. In Vancouver, the homeless issue is a very big reason why we shouldn’t be spending money on this big party. Education is another reason. School s are screaming for funding. Where did it go? The Olympics. Where did the $50,000 legacy left for the Stanley Park Children’s Farmyard go? The Olympics. The Campbell government (our provincial gov’t) has cut funding to the Arts by 92% for 2010. Why? The Olympics. They are talking about cutting our Health Care funding; this could play out in several different ways: cut or delayed surgeries and procedures which means, some people will probably die. Where did that money go? You already know the answer.
I have been telling people for weeks, maybe even months, that I’m not going down into the fray of downtown Vancouver for the next 2 weeks. There is the crowd aspect; but I also feel that if I have negative feelings about Vancouver hosting the Olympics and don’t support the Games being here, then I would be a hypocrite to go down and partake of the festivities. There is nothing that I dislike more, that a hypocrite.
I watched the Opening Ceremonies tonight. I figured, I’m going to help pay for it for the rest of my life, I’d like to see how my money is being spent. I was out to find fault and laugh at mistakes, but I didn’t see any until the end when the 4th piece of the cauldron didn’t come up in BC Place. I had a little chuckle, but my first thought was, Oh, bummer. But before that, when the athletes were walking in I watched all of them and saw pride in each one of their faces, from every country.
Now, normally, when I’m at a Vancouver Canadians baseball game, they usually play American teams. The American flag is raised and someone belts out “Ooohhh say can you see, by the dawns early light…”. I get all choked up. Then the Canadian anthem is played and I can honestly say that it gets me too. Tonight watching the American team walk in, seeing the American flag, I felt no emotion one way or the other. But, when the Canadian Athletes came out, they carried the Canadian flag and hearing Nikki Yanofsky sing “Oh Canada”, it made me cry. What does this all mean?
Watching Wayne “The Great One” Gretzky being transported down Georgia Street to light the outdoor cauldron and seeing how happy people were, how excited they were (the cynical side of me would say that they have bought into all of the propaganda) but these people were genuinely excited and so incredibly happy. It was very obvious that there was a lot of Canadian pride. Having lived in both the USA and Canada – USA 27 years, Brasil 1 year and Canada 20 years last Sept. – I can tell you that there is a lot of patriotic national pride on both sides of the 49th Parallel. But they have a different feel to them.
I hope that my American friends and family (should anyone read this) understand what I am about to say. I know that my Canadian friends and family will. The difference between the sense of pride for Americans and Canadians is this:
USA - We are the best in the world and we are so proud of that.
Canada – We know that we’re the best, but we don’t have to announce it, we’ll just show you how it’s done.