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Final Olympics night snapshot

February 28th, 2010 · 7 Comments

I missed the game (too much tension), following its progress by the screaming around me.I felt like I had to get out afterwards, because it was all just too much like an unreal Disney movie to me. Really, could old Walt himself have dreamed up anything better? Sports mega-event comes to (in global terms) relatively small town of nice, wholesome types. They have great dreams of glory, but those dreams are deflated early on as things go wrong. After a few early triumphs, but the team falls apart, things start to go wrong. It looks as though it’s all going to end in disaster. Spirits sag. And then … miracle. The team comes together. They start winning gold medals. And in the movie’s finale, the team overcomes great odds to win a gold medal that gives the little town the greatest medal count the country has ever seen.

Sheesh. And it HAD to be the movie-star hero, Sidney Crosby, who scored the winning goal. You know, if someone submitted this screenplay to Hollywood, it would be dismissed as too mushy and unbelievable.

So, as an antidote, I headed downtown later to enjoy people taking over even more streets than before. Police were posted at the top of the escalators of the downtown SkyTrain, relieving the 18-year-olds of their six-packs of beer. Thank god they’re so dumb sometimes.

Best idea I saw of the night: Someone who brought a boombox down and set it up outside the mall north of Georgia on Granville, producing an instant dance party on the street. Now maybe that’s what we need every Friday and Saturday night to soak up all the excess youthful energy. Get them dancing and they won’t have any energy left to pick fights.

Next best idea: the wooden basis under the Chinese lantern trees, which people have been using as found soundscape devices. The builders didn’t intend to have them use as stamping pads, but that’s what they’re being used for (even though a few stampers have actually broken through) and it creates a great drumming sound down the whole street.

Further down Georgia, I ran into a posse from the Vancouver police: Chief Jim Chu, along with deputies Doug Lepard and Bob Rolls. Before I could ask any questions, a young guy came up, asked if the chief was John Chu and then thanked him profusely for making the Games so great for everyone.

Then they continued on their way getting a feel for what was going on in the streets. Apparently there’s a massive system of information loading that tells them how many people are arriving downtown on transit, how many are leaving, and, through CCTV, how big the crowds are so that they can tell if there’s a big influx of kids from the suburbs about to hit.

From there, through an empty Chinatown, accompanied only by posts arriving through Facebook on my blackberry, informing me of how atrocious all my friends thought the closing ceremonies were as they were unrolling. (“When they bring out the giant inflatable beavers, you know they’ve jumped the shark,” said one.)

And then a bus home,  as the traffic returned to the streets, with an inexplicable jam of cars headed … not away from downtown, but towards it.

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