The party has already begun: 2010 in Vancouver and I Believe

They’re here. Turquoise jacketed volunteers and orange vested police converge on the city. They’re here. They’re everywhere.

Tomorrow, the world’s biggest winter party and carnival begins in this grey, wet city. Is this the first winter Olympics ever held in a place where the grass is green? Where the vines are sprouting with new growth?

No matter. They’re here. The flame arrived this evening. They’re here and more are arriving every minute. It will be a party even if we all have to dance in the cool, cool rain beside the eternal Olympic flame.

This party could be thrown much more gently. We’ve swept up all the “riff-raff” we can, the cosmetic blemish on our city. Many businesses are shut for the duration, hundreds of people laid off, apparently surgeries have been cancelled. The environmental footprint…don’t even get me started. There is so much to be improved, and there will be protests, protesters trying to get the information out. I hope they’re heard. I hope the next time this party’s thrown, it’s with much more compassion for those whose need is greatest, for the people of the hosting city, with a greater acknowledgement of the economic and ecological affects of throwing such a huge party.

The best parties…they have a way of stepping on toes, leaving a bit of a mess behind, a few foggy heads. The neighbours don’t always like to have a party next door, or just down the street. Some folks show up just to disturb the shit. There are few parties thrown in the world bigger than this one, which means the world sees few greater opporunities for the shit disturbers. Yes. There’s a lot that went wrong in the process of bringing this party to Vancouver. There’s more that’s going to go wrong, and there’s going to be a hell of a clean-up operation when the party is over.

That’s always the case after the best parties and, barring any catastrophes, this is going to be among the best ever thrown.

What makes a good party? You go with some friends. You get there and meet new ones. You talk, you dance, you play games, you sing, drink, eat, shout and laugh. A really good party has an energy, an inertia, a madness even that infects everyone. And, for a little while, you forget the day-to-day bric-a-brac worries, concerns. You stop being so serious about everything. You get back some of that positive energy that’s been flagging, because all those people in one place having a good time, it’s like an amplifier.

And there’s another amplifier here. Human achievement. The best of the best. It can be extraordinary, exquisite, inspiring, awesome, wondrous. And seeing such wonder being performed, it elevates us all.

I believe in the Olympics because I believe in the restorative, healing, elevating power of a good party.

Though, not at any cost mind you. Yeah, it’s a bit corny. Nonetheless, I believe. We, in Vancouver, have been invited to this world-wide party thrown every four years for a long time. It’s an honour and a privilege to take our turn and throw one ourselves. Hopefully, in the process, the world will learn something about how to throw a better, happier party, one with fewer negative side-effects.

You’ll be hearing a lot of this song. It’s the 2010 Vancouver Olympics theme song. It’s a pretty song, sung beautifully and featuring some uplifing lyrics with a sly reference to a hero of mine, Mahatma Ghandi, who said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I believe in that, too.

I Believe
The Vancouver 2010 Olympics theme song

There comes a moment when my heart must stand alone
On this lonely path I’ve chosen
like a house that’s not a home
sometimes when I feel I’ve had enough
and I feel like giving up
you willed me to be all I can be
now nothing can stop me
I believe in the power that comes
From a world brought together as one
I believe together well find
I believe in the power of you and I

This is the moment we have dreamed of all our lives
Well be the change we wish from others
Well stand tall for what its right
And in my hearts therell be no doubt
The arms of the world will come reaching out
And embrace me to be all I can be
Now nothing can stop me
I believe in the power that comes
From a world brought together as one
I believe together we’ll fly
I believe in the power of you and I

I believe the time is right now
Stand tall and make the world proud
I believe together we’ll fly
I believe in the power..
I believe in the power that comes
From a world brought together as one
(Of you and I)
I believe together we’ll fly
I believe in the power of you and I
(power)
I believe the time is right now
(Oh you and I)
Stand tall and make the world proud
I believe together well fly (Together well fly)
I believe in the power of you and I
(I believe in the power of you and I)

Oh, and I couldn’t embed this additional video — YouTube’s disabled that — but this is the commercial our Official Canadian Olympic Broadcaster, CTV, is showing in heavy rotation: Theme Song – 2010 Olympics – I Believe (CTV Commercial – Nikki Yanofsky)

3 Responses to “The party has already begun: 2010 in Vancouver and I Believe”

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  1. Gary says:

    Enjoy the bash people of Vancouver. I know what’s it like having experienced Sydney 2000. I’m still shaking my head how well organised that event was, so hoping all goes equally as well for Van. I’ve long lost faith in the Olympics (as anything other than a massive commercial money-making gorge-fest) but still enjoy seeing people achieve and realise their dreams so all the best to the jumpers, skiers, skaters, toboccanists (?), and those who roll the flat objects along the ice (curlers?).

  2. Peter says:

    Thanks, Gary.

    Yes, the Olympics are somewhat sullied by the machine that puts them on, and by the way they are covered by the media. But, then again, so is all human experience subject to that machine and its media.

    What I look for is not only the drama of competition and the achievement of competitors but also the beauty and artistry underlying it. Altogether there is the gathering of the world’s people. Perhaps we learn, through all the jingoism and medal counts, that we are not so different afterall, that national borders matter a little less.

    One can hope.

    And I close this as the opening ceremonies begin.

  3. Karen says:

    Yes, I hope this event is more of “people meeting people” “countries meeting countries” and a coming together of not only competitive sport, but of honour and passion and love for what we learn and gain from the experience, not how much money we make from it all.
    Good luck to all the competitors and especially to you Peter, being right there to witness the splendour of it all.

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