I was lucky enough to take part in the dress rehearsal of the 21st Vancouver Winter Olympic Opening Ceremonies.
The same ceremonies that will be viewed by some 3 billion (with a b) eyeballs later today.
I spent most of the time with tears coursing down my face. If you were there and if you inhaled deeply enough you would have been able to smell the slight tinge of saline mixed with an older, slightly musty smell… the smell of Canadian pride being brought out, dusted off and worn for all to see.
Shivers danced up and down my spine like aerial acrobats. My mouth gaped like a kid on Christmas day, getting the present ever. Ever.
I was caught off guard by the emotion, the deep swelling of pride in this nation.
The same nation we’re slow to praise and quick to make fun of.
We’re not noisy about our love affair with our country like our neighbours to the south. In fact we often get drowned out by them. But the pride is there nonetheless.
For the first time XXXXX were an integral part of the ceremony. Colours were a blur as XXXX from the XXX, XXX, XXX and XXX came and XXX and XXX the XXX.
The biggest roar was saved for the XXX XXX as they rounded the XXX. For a moment we were united in celebrating XXX XXX to XXX.
Massive XXX-XXX XXXX of XXX XXX from the XXX alternately became the XXX, XXX and XXX XXX as XXX was XXX on and through them. Through some sleight of hand it transformed us, the audience. Gasps were audible. Hands became sore from clapping and throats hoarse from yelling.
The opening scenes were XXX XXX XXX. XXX XXX XXX XXX, XXX and XXX. And then a XXX XXX. On top of the XXX. With a XXX he XXX XXX, all XXX XXX and XXX XXX. All eyes were on XXX as XXX XXX XXX down XXX XXX XXX. Then for a XXX he XXX…
… until he XXX onto XXX XXXX for XXX, XXX down a XXX XXX and with a XXX XXX ended up in the XXX of the XXX. A sweet taste of what was to come. Magic. Being swept away.
A XXX XXX XXX worked his magic by describing this, XXX XXX XXX and that maybe being XXX was a simple as saying ‘XXX’ and ‘XXX’. And yes, our XXX with XXX dammit.
When XXX XXX took to a massive central podium, dressed simply in XXX and captivated everyone with XXX version of XXXX, XXX reached deep into everyone’s heart and for a moment, removed the cynic. With breath caught and eyes kindled by with hope, you were caught up in a net cast wide with possibilities.
XXX XXX were XXX XXX and we XXXX our XXXX as we XXXX XXX in XXX, until XXX after XXX, the stadium was XXX with XXX. Other times our XXX were the XXX and yet others XXX.
Confession time: for the dress rehearsal we didn’t actually get given the XXXX but rather pretended to XXX them about. Ever resourceful though, folks brought out XXX XXX and the XXX XXX were almost as good. Better in some ways as we all yearned to be part of the magic.
With my XXX XXX XXX I got to be a part of the XXX. Not XXX XXX there, being a XXX XXX. But rather, as the XXX XXX world has showed us, at the XXX, XXX, XXX and XXX.
Maybe we can do it. Maybe we can dig ourselves out from under the weight of poverty, war, racism, terrorism and other soul-crushing issues. Maybe there is a god above.
Let the games begin.
(We were asked not to share anything about the ceremonies until the real thing; hence the blackout. Check back later tonight for the uncensored version. I was filled with awe to be part of the rehearsal and am slightly giddy with keeping the secret.)