Only 4 more days until Sunday's Closing Ceremonies, when someone will declare that the 21st Olympic Winter Games are closed and absolutely OVER. Can you believe it?
And with people seeing the end in sight, there seems to be a shift taking place in the air out here in Vancouver... all echoing the same sentiment: "Oh no, No No!"
Because, sad to say, over the past 2 weeks I have found Vancouver a city very much split in opinion over having the Olympics take place right here, on their own home ice. Many have actually fled the city until all the fru-ha-ha and traffic worries die down. But today, even the die-hard pessimists and woe-spinning journalists are clearly changing their tune, admitting regret and defeat... Those people really missed out on an absolutely wonderful once-in-a-lifetime experience! It wasn't horrible at all.
Because while some folks clearly continued to focus on concerns and complaints, the wonderful friendly, down-to-earth and open-hearted people of Canada understood and took to the streets to celebrate the Olympic Spirit -- at the venues, on the buses, in the restaurants, and in the bars. Canadian Flags are displayed prominently, in the windows of stores and offices, houses and cars, whever you travel. Spectators in venue stands create an enormous sea of red, while business-men wear our famous red hockey jerseys downtown to work, supporting Iginla and Crosby and Luongo across their backs. And even all Vancouver buses say "Go Canada Go!" before telling you the route they travel.
Regardless of a few minor glitches here and there (and so far that's all we've really seen), the people of Canada and Vancouver have spilled out onto the streets and welcomed the world, demonstrating our infamous politeness, and our now enormous national pride, with spontaneous choruses of 'Oh Canada' in both English and French arising anywhere there's a person or reason to sing it. And regardless of any medal count, with those thousands of friendly blue-coat volunteers everywhere you go, WE the people who believe, have made these games a huge success.
And in my own small way, I am so grateful and proud to be playing a part in it.