I’ve been reflecting on life in general as I trundle my way to and from my chosen voluntary job. I find the train is a wonderful way of having nothing to do except sit and look out of the window, or contemplate something deeper. It is quite a cathartic process waiting to be taken somewhere by train, because at the end of that journey is another one, whether to a place of work or home, and that involves more movement and travel. So the relative peace and quiet of the train ride (except other noisy people – which can be blocked out), is a good place to think. Not that much thought passes through my brain at 5 o’clock in the morning. Anyway it’s a calm start to the day where the rest of it will be hectic.
So, yet another sport is introduced to me via these Olympic Games – Judo. I had no idea about how it works, what the scoring system is and who its top players are; and still don’t know that much. The judo at the Excel is probably the most popular spectator sport at this venue, which has, apparently, been full for all sessions of judo, and the crowd can get noisy and raucous, much like football supporters with chants and stamping of feet. This was particularly so today when a Georgian judoist (?) was fighting against another chap, can’t remember who, and there was about 50-60 Georgians in one section of the seating doing just that; stamping, shouting and cheering on their countryman. All to no avail of course because he lost. They all then trundled out, disgruntled, and the place became a lot quieter, but not necessarily as interesting. In my short experience at these games it has never failed to amaze me how much enthusiasm there is for each particular sport, the crowd get really involved and don’t normally stick to partisan lines. Watching some of the other sports on TV has shown the same thing, especially Basketball, Volleyball and most curious of all: water polo. Each to his own I say.
A short shift today, finishing at lunch time, so the journey home was mid afternoon and not so crowded on the tube, always a blessing. I was again ‘in the bowl’ meaning the audience area, showing people to the their allocated seats and helping out where possible with queries about many things, including in some cases, the rules of the sport being watched and who the favourites are. Sorry can’t help you with those questions, I’ll try to find out. We are actually what could be termed the ‘face’ of the games and the ones the audience see most of amongst the staff. It’s easy to build a rapport with those closest to you. They ask you to take group photos of them, and take photos of you, and since English is not the first or indeed any of the languages spoken between the two parties, it’s done with hand signals and signs. It all works out in the end though. Keep smiling and keep being helpful, that’s the way to do it. And everyone you meet is so, and I hate this word normally, ‘nice’, but it fits the attitude of the paying customers, who have paid I don’t know how much, but they are entitled to a good experience and that is what we as Games Makes try to deliver, and I think we do it successfully. Judging by what I’ve read in the Evening Standard, they agree with that sentiment, as an article in yesterday’s edition heaped praise upon the volunteers for the unselfish and unstinting effort to the cause. Couldn’t agree more; I feel especially proud of being a Games Maker and knowing that in years to come I can say to anyone who wants to listen, I Was There.
The only picture of any use I took today was this one showing the judo arena before anyone had come in, being prepared for the day’s events. Tomorrow I am back in the table tennis arena and will find out then what job I’m doing, but it will probably be along the same lines. After that I have a day off and back in again on Friday. I hope that my ramblings have provided some entertainment, if not why not let me know via the comments drop down below or send me an e-mail, you know my address. I’m hoping to cobble this blog together and make it a journal of the whole Olympic Games experience, from my point of view. You never know it could in the form of a e-book or paperback book in your local book store when I get round to compiling it, which will probably be a long way off. Be lucky.