…and we got to experience a little piece of it. Sometimes you just have to drop everything to see, do, or witness something that maybe a once in a lifetime event.
The Olympic Torch relay came through Calgary last week and we wanted to see it. We had a look on the official website about where it was going to be and when, and decided that we need to go to High River. Not all the communities that the Torch ran through had major celebrations, but High River was to have a special event, so we went.
We had no idea what to expect. I called a friend down there (We lived there for 3 years, 6 years ago) to find out what the deal was. They were having shuttle busses from each end of town bring people to the celebration site, but they were not running very often and you had to stay at the site for something like 3 hours before you could get back to your car. We decided to go early and scope out the situation. That turned out to be a really good idea. We came in a back way as we didn’t know what level of security was going to be present when they closed down the roads, but it turns out it wasn’t a big deal. There were cops there directing traffic, but the roads stayed open right up until the torch arrived. We got a parking spot 1 block away. Nice for us.
It had quite a carnival like atmosphere. Andrew really seemed to enjoy the whole thing. We were about an hour and a half away from the torch arriving, but we never really got bored or tired of waiting.
Coke is a major sponsor of everything everywhere, including this torch relay and they were handing out collector edition aluminum coke bottles. Traci and I are Coke fans, and just had to have 1 to put away.
heh, by the end of the day we ended up with three bottle. Heck, even a Zamboni drove up and it was FULL of these bottles. Our whole family are Zamboni fans for some reason so it was really cool to see the Coke Zamboni.
They also had a booth where you could get your picture taken with an Olympic Torch. I wanted to do this, but wow was the line ever long to have this. I decided not to and figured a picture of someone else would have to do. It was ok though as you’ll read later.
The papers said there are 103 vehicles involved in the daily running of the torch. We saw pretty much all of them. All of a sudden everyone got excited as bunch of the vehicles started arriving, but it was premature as there is a pre-caravan the comes in to basically set the final stage for the real torch caravan.
They helped to get the crowd warmed up and get the place a buzzin though. Oh, all the while we waited they had really good acts up on stage playing music and generally keeping the crowd happy!
Ok, here it is, here comes the torch! I didn’t think I'd get so excited, but I really got a lump in my throat as it approach and then had a huge feeling of pride. About 2000 people there and we get within 4 feet of the flame…
The guy ran by, and there is a whole significant story about the guy who was the main runner in High River, but it didn't really matter to me, I was just really proud to be right there witnessing this. Andrew always seems to get the point. Just look at him waving that flag!
He seemed just as amazed as everyone… like he knew it was a special moment. Traci always loves this stuff. She gets a bit choked up when a national anthem is played (she gets to salute 2 now, Canada and USA), so these moments are great for her. My experience at these things are always elevated just by sharing them with her.
The guy ran up on stage, lit a cauldron and they had a bunch of official stuff to do. We were quite a ways from the stage, so we decided it was time to head out. We started walking back to the car and we saw a guy with a torch. That’s cool. (Every one who runs with the torch had an option to buy it, like how awesome, right?) So these people who had just run (each runner goes 300m/about 1000ft) were milling around in the crowd getting pictures taken. I saw, hey Traci you want your picture taken with the torch? YEP!, so we got a great shot of her and were walking away, and Traci asks me, do you want your pic taken? I say, Nah, thats ok. and we walk a bit further…. … …
Hold on…. why wouldn’t I want a picture!!! sheesh, OF COURSE I want a picture holding the torch. So we go back and there's another kid with his torch there and *Yippee* Andrew and I get our picture taken with the torch.
We were all beaming ear to ear after we got into the car… It’s an experience we will cherish. Now when we see the Olympic flame lit in Vancouver, it’ll add a lot to our viewing experience to say the least… good day!