Dilemma of Olympic Proportions…
March 5, 2010

We recently returned from a trip to British Columbia to visit our eldest son and his family. The opportunity to be with our son and his partner and our granddaughter was the draw. Neither of us was really excited about being in B.C. The last two visits were disappointments; it was cold and damp and grey most of the time; it was crowded and noisy and had far too much traffic. There are certain expectations and images one has of Canada’s “Lotus Land” and those have yet to appear for me.

Our first two visits–one in november and another in January–three and two years ago respectively left me longing to return to Ontario; the need was for the winter sun that is usually in abundance in January and February at home. Those first two visits aided in the formulation of my opinion about “lotus land”.

The November trip was wet and foggy most of the time. I recall disappointment at not being able to see the mountains. There was one day in the fourteen we were there that the rain stopped and the Golden Ears in all their majesty shone forth. All-be-it viewed through the sieve of buildings, overhead wires and the general clutter of humanity. It was cold. It was to the core damp and cold and I found it difficult to warm up even while sitting in front of the radiator and asking my son to turn up the heat.

The following year saw much of the same. Great adventures with family but the weather left me disappointed. Eight days of sunshine out of 21 and temperatures hovering around the freezing point. It snowed the night we landed in Abbotsford. Another disappointment to be sure–mostly based on preconceived expectations.

This year’s holiday was, to my surprise, an improvement over the previous two visits. It didn’t rain nearly so much. At least part of the mountains were visible most days and the temperatures were on average about 8 C. It made for comfortable walking and actually made me want to be outside most days. And it goes without saying that time with family was wonderful. Especially after a two-year absence.

No, the difficulty I came away with this year was the Olympics. The cost of hosting the Olympic Games appears to me to beyond excessive. I was staggered by the announcement that $900 million was being spent on security alone. That was reported on the same day as the Vancouver Sun reported many lower mainland school boards were having difficulty funding their school systems. The decision was to lay off teachers and increase class size.  A no-fly zone was in effect that encompassed much of the lower mainland. Air security was such that flying schools chose to shut down rather than take the chance of students accidentally entering the no-fly space. It will be interesting to see if any of them have had to go out of business as a result. There were parking restrictions that affected retail outlets thus reducing the number of people who had access. Instructions to employers within security zones were to create flex hours for employees or allow work from home. The homeless were considered an eyesore; there were excessive cost overruns in the construction process. Don’t get me started on the gouging for tickets and rooms and food and … And the list goes on… All in the name of sports.

So I wonder what ever happened to sport for the sake of sport? To game? When did we get to the point that all of this needed to be so big. After all we are talking about sports–games–play. I am dumbfounded that we equate our excitement for sport with patriotism. That one truly baffles me. Does the fact that I don’t support the olympics or that I cheered for all the competitors when they did something spectacular make me less patriotic than my friends who are really into the Olympic thing? The events that I watched were great and I rejoice in the skill and dedication of the players. But they are games. People playing games.

In my opinion the time for the olympics is past. Our tax dollars would best be spent on other things. Like a $58 billion deficit that our government has gotten us into.                                  GRB