"With Glowing Hearts/Des Plus Brillants Exploits"
There was a poll out not too long ago that said, in a way most polls are wont to do, that very few people were interested in the Olympic Torch Relay. Pollsters are always negative. It is their role to play Eeyore in the woods of our acre.
It is, of course, very much a media centred and media driven event.
Anyway, nobody asked me. And I actually have been following the torch relay.
106 days. 12,000 torchbearers. 45,000 km. 1,036 communities.
Of course, as anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of what Canada looks like, will realize that most of the torch relay involves driving the thing from place to place with the runners only actually running for 300 metres before passing it on. The torch will also travel by seaplane, snowmobile, canoe, dogsled, dory, double-decker bus, streetcar and kayak to name a few of the interesting alternative modes of transport. Unfortunately not by camel. I would have liked to see that.
It started in Victoria and is wending its way across the country, up and down and around, until it finds its way back to Vancouver. Some have said the torch looks like a huge joint. I wouldn't know about that. Ask Pinklea. Mostly, it seems to resemble a giant barbecue lighter. Sleek and elegant and resembling ice and snow (so they say).
Even with all the myriad things wrong with the Olympics, I still get caught up in the spirit of the Games. And the athletes. I've started reading the sports section that outlines the worlds' and qualifying events and gives stories about the athletes to watch. I find that much more interesting than football or hockey. Or Tiger.
I read the Globe and Mail every day and the first thing I go to is the daily account of the torch relay. It isn't so much the relay itself, as the communities it passes through. The stories of those communities and the different personalities of each. Some have been through such a hard time of it lately that the idea of this expensive journey of a giant barbecue lighter just seems to be an overblown pointless extravagance. I can understand that. Other communities have been so hard done by and isolated over the years, that the very idea of the torch coming to their town just overwhelms them in pride. A chance to feel included. A chance to shine and let the world see where they live. I have found much of it fascinating.
The Olympics are coming here, whatever we think or want. So we might as well make the most of it and get interested and involved. There really is nothing sadder than a party where the hosts are bickering and unhappy about the whole affair. Or completely indifferent.
Now, I am not a fanatic about this. I do not watch the webcam, nor do I keep abreast of its tweets.
But on Day 51 of its journey, when it passes through my town, I will be there.