Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Post-Olympic Depression

Today there were no crowds lining up outside my house.  No one bearing flags from all over the world.  No sleasy men trying to sell tickets.

I turned on the television and discovered, to my horror, Regis & Kelly have returned to regular programming!!!!!!  AAAAAAAAAH!  I am so used to the reassuring voice of Brian Williams telling us what gold medals we will be winning that day.

I have what the rest of the country has: Post-Olympic Depression.  Or the Olympic Hangover.  Or the WHAT DID I USED TO DO IN MY NORMAL LIFE BEFORE OLYMPICS? state-of-mind.

I've been staring at my computer all day.  I have two deadlines, I need to edit a draft of a television show, and I have to get back to a million emails regarding the show that I technically start filming this week.  And what did I do?  Scoured the networks for anything Olympic.

I found Hoda and Kathie Lee talking about the hockey game (who isn't?), Kesler/Kaslow/Kestly being interviewed at the airport (he is a very unhappy camper), and the craziness that is the Vancouver airport  today.

Then I flicked through my photos, making myself feel better.  Sometimes I feel I didn't go out enough or do enough, but I just have to look at my photos and see that I was quite busy.  During the day, during the night - it's no wonder I am getting sick today.

It feels like the day after Christmas when you were a kid (or, ummm, last year), or what I imagine it must feel like after your wedding (remember when Monica was depressed when she was no longer a bride, and only a wife?).  I have that feeling I had after Shakespeare school in London, the day after our magical summer finished and we were forced back into the real world of earthquakes and sad things.

Come back Olympics!  Come back!  Come back world!  We love you!

So I've decided to re-live my favorite moments.  And maybe they will be some of yours as well . . .

1.  Opening Ceremony dress-rehearsal.  Yes, it wasn't the real one, but I got the best sneak peek EVER! The totems, the fireworks, the 'Who Has Seen the Wind' thingy.  They got us in the right mood for being proud Canadians, something that I hope will last.

2.  Alexandre Bilodeau.  Watching him fly in the air, twisting and turning. Taking his cheering brother into his arms.  TEARS!  It was my first night on Robson, a super balmy evening with no rain.  I was making my way down to my friends, but stopped at the CTV news thingy to join the crowd.  I wasn't wearing my glasses so I didn't see how close we were.  When it was official, we all screamed and yelled.  I called my sleeping friend, who heard the commotion and realized this was no time for sleep.  It was an awesome night.

3.  Maelle Ricker.  I really love her.  I was at home, watching her race with the Engineer on the phone.  He was in London and couldn't really see the games, so I held up the phone to the TV and kept screaming things down it.  I think his flat in London got TV after that night.  It was so great going to see her get gold, with her mum proudly looking on and having the entire audience scream for her.  And then scream 'Oh Canada'. It was topped off with a Paul Brandt concert and singing along with the crowds to 'Alberta Bound'.  Two-stepping cowboys wearing team Canada jerseys twirled Ugg-wearing Vancouverites.

4. Spending the second-last day chasing three medals across town.  First, drinking wine out of my purse in Ontario, catching the speed skating three-man relay GOLD.  I didn't understand.  I didn't believe the boys had just won GOLD.  I was in shock we were winning so many medals!  Then stupid Mike Weir had to talk about his stupid wine, and they turned off the televisions!  Making us miss JJ Anderson!  So then we had to run to Saxony House, a place full of amazing sausages, strudel and tons of friends - perfect timing to catch our silver in bobsleigh.  High on medal count, meat and saurekraut, I had to race home before the last end in the gold medal curling game.  Well, I was too late to watch the last rock, but just in time to see Kevin Martin's glistening tears as he sang 'Oh Canada'.  I've decided to take up curling.

5.  Charles Hamelin & Marianne St-Gelais' love story.  Again, another moment I missed live but heard so much about and now I can't get enough of them.  In case you, like me, was somewhere else exploring Vancouver, I have included the video of Marianne watching the race.  It's adorable. Like a romance comedy.  I love her in general.  Her face when she won her silver -  so much unadulterated joy and happiness.  Give it to the French Canadians to smack bottoms on global television.

6.  Scott Moir & Tessa Virtue.  They were slated to skate their second skate the same night as the Russian/Canadian game.  I literally called three bars asking if they would show both events at once.  Umm, no, this is hockey nation after all.  Props to the manager at Blarney Stone who told me he really wanted to watch them too!  Luckily, their skate was later in the program, so I rushed home after an amazing win, and watched them dance Spain with my parents.  And, of course the next day (or was it two days?), I stayed home (you need quiet to listen to the music after all), with the Engineer on Skype and fell even more in love with this couple.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE them.  I wish they LOVE LOVE LOVED each other the way we all want them to!  So many things about that skate I must go to point form:

- they just look nice.  She is stunning, he is hot.  Her outfit was classy and simple.  As athletes, they are graceful and elegant to watch
- at the end of the skate, when he held her head and said "Thank you so much".  Who was that for?  Her, for being perfect?  His family?  Us, who love them so much?
- when Scott stood up shouting as their marks came up
- Scott telling Tessa they came in second
- The Americans running up, genuinely thrilled that their friends, and rivals, won the gold
- Scott belting out 'Oh Canada' at the top of his lungs
- Tessa fidgeting with excitement
- Scott getting held up in an embrace by his crying brothers
- The brilliant guy at CTV who puts together those montages in five minutes to 'I Believe' - who didn't love seeing Tessa and Scott skate together as kids, then suddenly morph into adults?

Seriously, the list goes on.  I want to be an ice dancer now.  And a curler.  God, I have lots of work to do.

7. Joannie Rochette.  There are no words for her.  The moment she finished her skate and basically broke down - embracing her coach and sobbing.  She was so graceful, holding back her tears.  As if she knew the rest of us were holding her up through her pain.  Then the night she won bronze, kissing the sky to her mother.  I'm crying now just writing about it.  And watching her dad.  I loved him holding her, in her Canadian flag, whispering in her ear.  Therese would have been proud.  And she was definitely watching over Joannie.

8.  Seeing our old favorites throughout the games:  Elizabeth Manley, Elvis Stojko, Bryan Orser. They made me fall in love with figure skating in the first place. And here they are, back in the spotlight.

9.  Any hockey game where we won :)  Which was most of them.  I watched many a hockey game from the Ontario House.  Which became a fast favorite.  Good food (mini-burgers, cheesecake on a stick, and cheddar ale soup that was like drinking cheese) and good wine (except for stupid Mike Weir) surrounded by red.  I loved every time we scored a goal, or won a medal, or just did something awesome - we would all high five and scream.  I'll miss that.

10.  Getting in to curling.  Finally.  My mum is a huge curler and I have been bored by bonspiels my whole life.  Maybe it was the hot curlers on all the teams.  Or the Norwegian pants.  Or the fact Martin was undefeated and Bernard was practically undefeated.  Whatever it was, I now understand the hammer.  And I love it.  My favorite snapshot? Stephen Harper sitting in the seats with Sandra's team, cheering the men on - and a woman right in front of him, knitting.  KNITTING at the gold medal game while sitting in front of Stephen Harper!  We all saw her, we all love her.

11.  Wayne Gretzky.  For being awesome.  Carrying the torch with rain pelting down his face.  Becoming a fan of curling and making the curlers feel awesome.  Watching every hockey game.  Singing 'Oh Canada' loud and proud while sitting next to every Canadian politician. Is it just me, or should Wayne run for Prime Minister?

12.  JJ Anderson for not giving up.  He's 34.  He's been to 3 Olympics previous.  He couldn't see more than three feet in front of him. But he did it!  He finally won gold!  It took time, but now he gets to hold his two daughters and his wife up with him.  I love his interviews, where he talks about his struggle for gold, and the struggle with the weather that day.  When asked how he knew where to go in that fog:  faith.  It's all the same message:  determination, don't give up, focus on what you want, and have faith - you can achieve your dream.  I needed that reminder myself JJ, thanks.  BTW - he's a blueberry farmer. I  heart him.

13.  Quatchi, Miga, Sumi and Muk Muk.  The cutest mascots EVER!

I took my 4-year old niece to watch the mascots skate in Robson Square. It might have been the sweetest Olympic moment.  Thanks to my cousin, we got VIP treatment, which meant rock star 'seats' and free hot chocolate.  There we all sat, my 65-year old dad crouched down with Jayne, making sure she could see.  Kids were plastered against the glass, all dressed in their mascot gear with their mascot toys.  And when the mascots came out? Pandemonium!

I may or may not have teared up.  That's right. I cried when the skaters dressed up in furry costumes skated around some ice.  As for Jayne, when Miga came to hug her, she was in complete awe.  Miga posed for a picture but Jayne was too busy rubbing her tummy to look at the camera.  It was adorable.

Finally hearing the mascot story was really fun.  They actually are good mascots.  In case you don't know who they are, here you go:

Miga is a seabear.  She can swim in the ocean like a whale, or walk on land like a bear.  But she got stuck between the worlds and is now both!

Quatchi is a sasquatch who dreams of being a goalie.

Sumi has the head of an Orca, the wings of a Thunderbird, and the feet of a Bear.  She represents the paralympic games.

Muk Muk is a marmot.  And he represents the fans of 2010.  I have a soft spot for Muk Muk.  Mostly because I like to say his name.

14.  Hockey.  Both the men's and the women's.  It's just a really good thing.  I think I have mentioned that already though right?

15.  Jon Montgomery. Who doesn't love this guy for going down a tube of ice head first?  Then winning gold?  Then walking through Whistler drinking a pitcher of beer?  And now he's going to be on Oprah!
But also a big hug to Melissa Hollingsworth who made my cry by being sorry for 'letting her country down' - you didn't!  We love you!

16.  Family.  My family all came to check out the Olympics, and also to attend a funeral, sadly.  But I had such a great time bonding with the folks who share my blood.

17.  The end.  I was so lucky to go to the closing ceremonies, just after winning HOCKEY GOLD (have I mentioned we got gold in hockey?  TWICE?).  Three words:  MICHAEL J FOX.  I love him.  I loved the end.  Even though I cried.  And had to wear moose antlers.

18.  Being here.  I loved running through Yaletown high-fiving everyone, hugging cops, waving to the people hanging out of their balconies screaming.  Singing 'Oh Canada' at least once a day, either in my house with my parents, or in a room of friends, or surrounded by total strangers.  Wearing red everyday. Wearing jeans everyday.  Wearing my runners everyday (I have never worn then when not running, they may not look great but I totally get why tourists wear them now!).  Having a different maple leaf tattoo on my cheek everyday.  Falling asleep to the screaming fans downstairs - it was sort of comforting.  Random street hockey games on Granville.  The general happiness that everyone had. Vancouver's pretty much back to normal, not talking to anyone - or maybe they are just depressed too.

The busy-ness came on slowly.  I had just come back from New York and London, so I didn't really think it was that different. I was wrong.  Each day got busier and busier - to the point you couldn't walk up Robson anymore.  And now they are all gone.  It's sort of unreal.  Like, did this really happen?  Mop has been too afraid to go for a walk, but tonight, we walked in a ghost town (so he was at least happy).  The park was dead. The lights of GM Place were off.  Those white security tents just stood there like a ghost town.

The flame is extinguished.  The world has left.  But I think the spirit of Vancouver 2010 is going to stick with us for a very, very long time.  And I'm pretty sure you'll all want to come back to 'Cool Canada' for another Olympics - we're a super good time.


The Professional Bridesmaid said...

I am so envious that you got to experience the Olympics firsthand!!! You got some awesome pics. Oh Joannie, she made the whole nation proud with her performance.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled upon your blog while looking to temporarily numb my feelings of post-olympic depression. I loved reading about your favourite moments - you and I picked most of the same ones. I also loved reading about your escapades in Vancouver during the games. I was fortunate enough to have been able to come to Vancouver and to take in some events as well, and it was an unbelievable experience, that I will never forget!