Last year I was looking back at the London 2012 Olympic Games reminiscing about the glorious summer of all those sports where everyone came out to celebrate the best of our greatest athletes take their place in the arena of sporting champions. I loved every minute of it and did my best to be a part of it even though I had failed to secure an interview as a volunteer worker for the Games. These volunteers were at the heart of the action known as Games Makers. It was a name given to them to promote and understand the value of ordinary citizens which were the making the games a triumph that joy to Great Britain and a great deal of service to the Olympians. I wish I had got that far close. Sadly however it never came because of an error. I sent in my application form but because of an error on the form when I didn’t properly understand disclosure forms. I was supposed to declare a clearance to work with children, which I thought meant LOCOG would give me a check over by declaring ‘no’. It led to a misinterpretation of security and I lost my chance to be a volunteer. Now I know better I have made a wish that I could go back and live 2012 all over again just to get my chance of being a Games Maker. But something else came up courtesy of the British Commonwealth and from the town of Glasgow.
Glasgow was going to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games and I wanted to be a part of it. I love volunteering, it has given me a sense of self-worth, made me feel like a valuable part of the community and given me a chance to share my love of my hometown and my country. You can really feel your own importance and well-being active at the heart of the atmosphere. I was keen to volunteer at a big sporting event and I was willing to go the extra mile to be a part of the Commonwealth Games. 500 miles to be precise as the Proclaimers put it.
This would not just be my only chance to be a part of a big sporting event but there so many other things that came with it that would be a life changing experience that would fulfil my seemingly everlasting empty life. I would get my first taste of cross country job hunting where I could be living and working in another part of the country. That was a prospect that I really wanted to try out as I had been jobless for such a long time I was always stagnating and trapped in a catch-22 situation. It was also a chance for me to try out clocking up a long journey all by myself without my family and I got to experience the trip of a lifetime. For years I had an avid train traveller always commuting in and out of London from Essex and now I was going to see what it was like to go from London to Glasgow, the two major capital cities of Britain. One major significant part of this journey was that it give my first taste of exploring Scotland, my favourite Celtic neighbours who I as an Englander like to think of as my cousins. The people there are friendly, feisty, and full of vigour and pride. I really envy their patriotic passionate personality and the way they care for their culture. They really are my kind of people. There are other parts of Scotland that I also have my eye on for exploring. It’s gorgeous landscape is amazing with lush and fertile scenery dominated by the magical highlands. The Loch Ness, the Hebrides, Ben Nevis are all the sights that I must see someday soon.
When I learned about the application process for the games being opened I jumped for joy and got straight down to business. I filled in the online form and with an inquisitive streak I asked as many questions as I needed on the technicalities, desperate not to screw up as I had done with London 2012. Eight months later I had been following the news about the games and one by one I counted the games time down until I got my interview in August 2013. I made my travel arrangements and took my first flight to Glasgow on an early morning plane. I checked into my hotel and then got straight down to the Glasgow Science Centre passing the Hydro Arena, the Clyde Auditorium (Armadillo) and strolled along Pacific Quay. The GSC was a delightful journey into Scottish science and history. The interactive exhibits were fun and I was amused by the puppetry on the history of space dog Laika. Come to think that would be something that I could write about on the story of science in Essex. I know of two scientists from Essex with connections to Scotland: Baron Joseph Lister and Owen Finlay Maclaren. Lister pioneered antiseptic surgery in hospital theatres to prevent infection and Maclaren invented the Spitfire undercarriage and the folding collapsible pram.
I took my interview the following day and I was really pleased to spend some time communication with some lovely Glaswegians in the process. II had spent two days sampling the delights of Glasgow and I loved the food and nightlife. I tried haggis for the first time in my life and it was absolutely gorgeous. It has a very rustic and gamey texture. It was so bold and mouth-watering I could marry it just so that I feel closer to Scotland.
Also that very same month I had gone out and bought my own bow and arrows. I had been influenced by London 2012 to take up archery. I had a long fascination with bows and arrows since I was a kid watching Robin Hood on TV and idolising fantasy heroes like Legolas and William Tell. With London 2012 I was inspired like many others to take up a new sport and learn a way to energise my body and soul and further my abilities. So I joined a club and learnt how to use a bow and arrow and started to develop a love affair with archery that continues to this day. Had it been included in the Glasgow 2014 games I would’ve probably been able to meet my new found archery heroes who I saw at the Olympics and the Paralympics. That would’ve been something that I would’ve provided a great service to as well. In fact I have been using my knowledge and talents to spread it’s awareness and it’s value as a sport of a defining magnitude that can make you aim for your goals as well as the targets. It’s mentally and physically challenging all in one go and it combines my love of science with history and success. I could go on about it here and I would love to take my craftsmanship to the Commonwealth Games and win gold for England. That is a very real goal and I hope I leave a lasting mark on these games with a mission statement to the future of British sports:
Inspired by London 2012, the Clydesider from Essex who came to Glasgow, carries on the message, to fulfil the lasting legacy of world class champions, fired by passion, pride and ambition, inspiring a nation to greatness.
So far I have proven to be pretty good at this thing. I’ve won three medals at club level, winning silver in my first tournament. Now I’m honing my skills at a new club where I aim to learn to advance to international level. I’d better start networking with people within the industry if I am to get anywhere with my bow.
Well shortly after my interview a few months past and after another failed job interview in Edinburgh, which also gave me the train journey I always wanted, I got an email from Glasgow 2014 and I officially became a Clydesider. I went up there again for my training at Hampden Park stadium in late May just before my planetary science exam. I learned all the various tasks and routines that I needed to do in order to make these Commonwealth Games the best games in history and ensure that the spectators and the athletes have a great time and fulfilling experience. I will make it one to remember and see to it that I become one to watch. However as a Clydesider I can’t go about revealing too much for the sake of security purposes and to maintain the reputation of the Games. I am an ambassador for the Commonwealth Games as well as a functionary for the sports. I believe that at the end of the games every Clydesider will have a story to tell and some of them will bring this to their futures with whatever goals that they aspire to be. I know where mine is going to lead me to. I want to go on from here and use my experience to establish myself in the world of archery. ‘Aim high, Aim for Gold’.