Watching the Sochi Olympics brought back a rush of fond memories. Our family ventured to the 2010 Olympics in Whistler, B.C., for an unforgettable experience. My husband wanted to see ski jumping. Living in Seattle, it was certainly convenient, and we figured we may never get another chance.
Arrangements were made, and we set out on our historic journey to the “Great White North”. As we approached Bellingham, Washington, my son asked, “Hey, isn’t this where baby Jesus was born, in the little town of Bellingham?” “Why yes son, it is”.
We made our way to Whistler and checked into our condo. The woman at the front desk advised we get up at 5 a.m. to make our 10 a.m. event. We laughed at the hilarity of such a suggestion. After all, the event was just up the street, and buses to the venue would be running like clockwork.
The next morning I awoke at 7 a.m., rolled over, and went back to sleep. When I finally dragged my bones out of bed, and the family was assembled, we were in a serious time crunch. But hey, no problem, just hop on the bus that runs right by our condo.
While waiting at the bus stop, several buses drove by, splattering us with dirty sludge. We began to panic. We asked a few official looking Olympic volunteers why we weren’t getting picked up by the buses. The typical response, “They shipped me in from Manitoba, eh? I just work here, eh?”
Blood pressures rising, pulses quickening, we ascertain buses leave from Whistler Village, and head straight to the venues. We flagged down a taxi and sped toward Whistler Village.
We were deposited at the Olympic Bus Depot. As we found our seats, the bus driver climbed off, declaring his coffee break. Fifteen minutes later, fueled by tobacco and caffeine, the driver returned. We began the arduous journey, glancing compulsively at our watches.
Sigh of relief as bus pulls into destination. Where is the ski jump competition? What? We have to hike up the mountain? No problem. It’s 10:15 a.m., but they can’t possibly start on time can they? It’s the first event of the Olympics, and no offense to our gentle Canadian brethren, but rumor has it, they’ve been a bit disorganized. We start the long march up the hill; alternating between carrying, pushing, pulling, and rolling our children. Every muscle in our bodies aching, as we ascend. We are so close! But what’s this? A mass exodus heading straight down the mountain. “Hey guys, it’s great you’re all coming down the mountain, but can you please step aside? We have a ski jump competition to attend.” We are now going against a great current of refugees, waiving flags from a variety of Arctic Circle nations.
“Hmm, maybe it’s halftime? They have halftime in ski jumping, right?” That’s when the cheerleaders perform. We finally work up the courage to ask the pilgrims where they are going.
“No, we’re talking about the ski jump event.”
“Right, it’s over.”
Suspended disbelief; this can’t be happening. I am sure these spectators are misguided and confused. We keep hiking up the mountain. Ask a few more folks, just to confirm our idiocy. Is this some allegory or Aesop’s fable? My brain is scrambling to make sense of the grass hopper and the ant, or the early bird getting the worm. What are the true implications here? I suddenly see condemnation from teachers, family, my yoga instructor, the local butcher.You what? You missed the Olympics? How much did you spend on the tickets?
Apparently the ski jump event goes very fast. Fortunately a kid on our shameful return bus ride showed us his video of the event. It was just like being there. He got up at 5a.m. and made his way up the mountain, so as not to miss his once in a lifetime Olympic moment.