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Posts Tagged ‘Olympic mittens’

Vancouverites’ grumpiness and lack of enthusiasm over hosting the Olympic Games are making headlines as international media take note off the somber atmosphere in a city set to host the world in a matter of days.

In many social circles, Olympic excitement and support is whispered with an apologetic shrug, for fear of incurring the wrath of those louder folks unhappy with the whole spectacle. Tales of visits to the official Olympic store and plans for taking in the events and celebrations are shared with hesitance.

Laughs are being had, but in many cases, at the expense of the Games over lack of snow, the politics, spending, transportation, security and pretty much anything that can be poked fun at.

In a city very much divided over the world’s largest sporting event, the back-and-forth sentiment is cause for whiplash. I for one, am starting to feel schizophrenic over my own bandwagon nature, finding myself torn between excitement and outrage over the fanfare and its “issues”. But despite my moments of irritation and cries for social justice, I find myself wondering in disappointment if this is it?

Other than the coordinated official displays of Olympic activity at Robson Square and along Granville Street downtown and the 100-foot high Olympic advertisements plastered up the sides of sponsoring skyscrapers, Vancouver is lacking the decoration of a city about to display itself on TV’s around the world. I am waiting for the crowds dressed in head-to-toe national colours, seas of red mittens, flags hanging in the windows of houses and banners hanging from every lamp post, hydro pole and street sign.

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Oh Canada, home of the most politically correct, polite people on the planet. Yup that’s us.

Well, I had a moment of creative (but perhaps, not so politically correct) inspiration a week or so back that caused me to lose it in uncontrollable hysterics on the bus. I was doing that silent laugh, the kind that shakes your body and causes you to turn red in the face and cry because you can’t breathe. I could barely get a few words out, let alone explain my entire thought process to my poor man, who just stared at me like I had completely lost my marbles.

We had just spent an hour or so down at the official Olympic merch shop downtown, gorging on “cheese” in the form of toques, key chains, pins, etc, so I was flying high on Olympic love.

…Yes, one day on the bandwagon, one day off.  That’s how we Vancouverites roll, no? (Just ask the Canucks).

Anyways, for whatever reason, my Olympic excitement and resentment morphed into an image of Vancouver’s homeless wandering the streets dressed head-to-toe in Olympic clothing set to Nina Simone’s Sinnerman. Picture the bowler hat scene at the end of Thomas Crown Affair…We could shoot a couple-minute YouTube video of Olympic clad homeless pushing shopping carts down alleys, past bins and right up to the doors of the shiny new venues all set to the frantic beat of Sinnerman.

I doubt The Bay nor VANOC would sponsor the needed outfits, but golly it sure could be a social media sensation!

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So the torch is now in BC. Its on the cover of every newspaper each morning and I am starting to feel the excitement. I am letting it creep in. Last week, while dorking out on some Olympic merchandise at the official store in The Bay downtown, I watched as two young girls giggled uncontrollably as they held a torch replica for a photo; their proud parents snapping as many photos as possible before the next person’s turn.

It made me remember how excited I used to get over the Olympics, before they came to my town. I remember watching as Ben Johnson won Gold. My entire family screaming encouragements at the TV…and then the disapointment as it was taken away from him. Elvis Stojko, Kurt Browning, Mark Tewksbury, Donovan Bailey…I watched them all. I used to hate going to school during those two weeks. I didn’t want to miss a thing. And, while never aspiring to be an Olympic athlete I always looked up to these people; these heroes.

So now, at long last I am giving in. I am letting that innocence return, if only for a couple weeks. I am friggin excited and I plan on flaunting it all over town in cheesey Canadian Olympic clothing.

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I am finally the proud owner of some red mittens. This is good news. The one Olympic-related souvenir I wanted to own and proudly wear was a pair of those damn mittens. I stalked The Bay in the days before Christmas, hoping I would time my visits with a surprise delivery of the big nationwide seller. It never happened. Once, missing a shipment by seconds, I spotted distraught people near tears, bickering with staff over the unfairness of mass mitten purchasers hawking the items on EBay. What a gong show. Out of my entire extended family, only my grandma was able to find the mittens. It pays to be retired with time during the day to stake out department stores. Unfortunately, she assumed that my mom would have equally good luck and got the entire rest of the family mittens. Needless to say, when finding out that my little family was indeed left mitten-less this Christmas, my Grandma promptly slept with someone at The Bay and was paid in mittens. I am kidding. She bought them. So here are my 2010 Olympic mittens.

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