This post might be coming late, well after the Games, but I had too much to keep me busy up there that I couldn’t miss out on. After five consecutive days of back breaking on the triathlon and the marathon plus a shift getting Cathkin Braes ready I took a two day break to rest myself. I have never had such fun working and needed so much sleep that I kept ignoring my body’s call for sleep. I was determined to make the most of every second and if that involved putting on a smile for the public every day then so be it.
I took the time out to rest and see what else I could do for the games. I made some enquiries but as fate would have it I should’ve made my reservations for my roster months ago. I couldn’t do any volunteer work at any other the other venues without the right security clearance on my pass. I was a bit gutted but I kept my chin up and decided to take the time to sort out my laundry and get some clean clothes in order. The hostel had some very useful amenities in the building. I later went onto bond with my fellow Clyde-Siders in the building by hanging out with them in the local Wetherspoon branch downstairs. We got along so well there that we aptly named the building ‘Chateau Clyde-Sider’. There was a nice discount out there for us and Glasgow was being very generous to the volunteers. They really showed their appreciation to us as volunteers and I grew to love the city even more. For me it was an indication of the friendly nature of Glasgow’s business appeal to visitors.
On Wednesday I went out for a walk after a bit of pointless online browsing. I had to get out there and make the most of Glasgow’s games time open events so I went to Glasgow Green where the road cycling events would be starting.
It was quite a sight watching hundreds of people trying to cram into the park. As I got through security I went for a walk straight into the park right up to where all the sponsors had laid out these magnificent attractions to show what they did to make the Glasgow 2014 Games the best on offer for their services. Ford had a pop-up showroom and activity centre with all their cars on display. For me it was like seeing Essex man conquering Glasgow. The park also had some fantastic entertainment on offer I’m sure my theatre friends would love it here. On the day they had a celebration of Celtic music from Scottish folk musicians on the main stage. There was a wide selection food stalls for me right next to viewing areas where a hundred or so spectators were watching highlights on the big screen. I saw some happy English athletes receive medals. Afterwards I went home and took an early night to prepare for another shift that would be the last few days of my time in Glasgow.
Thursday 31 July I was back on duty again at crazy o’clock once again. I was on my way to Commonwealth House for the road cycling time trial event. For this the routine was the same as the marathon, arrive to sign on and then go all the way on the shuttle bus to my position. The trip getting there was mesmerising for the early morning blues, I got to see the north-eastern part of Glasgow where it was quite a picture. I could see the city centre from atop the hills and a lot of greenly-blue mountainous ridges. My drop off point was in Cumbernauld where I had the task of marshalling a crossing point. It was a 20-30 minute ride for the cyclists to reach my marshal point. I was using a whistle signalling the rider’s arrival as they came down the road. I spent some time chatting to the spectators as the roads were closed. The locals around here were very pleased to come out and see the race, even though there was only three Scottish cyclists to look out for in the woman’s round. I saw Welsh champion Geraint Thomas out in force and he went on to win bronze while Englander and fellow Essex man Alex Dowsett took the top spot with a time of 47 minutes, 41.78 seconds. Afterward I got on the bus and went back to the city centre where I headed off home and decided to relax for a bit.
On Friday I wasn’t expecting anything great to happen but out of the blue I got a call from a fellow resident of Chateau Clyde-Sider called Claire who along with Catherine was going to watch the athletics tonight at Hampden Park. I decided it was time to let my hair down proper and go for a night out with some friends so I took up the offer and bought a spare ticket off Catherine and went to Hampden Park. I got quite a surprise from the athletes on the bill there. First up was the Men’s pole vault which saw two Englanders: Steven Lewis and Luke Cutts scope gold and silver. Later on I saw Scottish athletic champion Lynsey Sharp in woman’s 800 metre final, where she won the silver medal. I’m glad to have come out for these three beautiful people all of whom have trained hard and well for the games.
Although I wasn’t expecting to meet a new friend that night too. Months ago when I became a Clyde-Sider I joined a group on Facebook where me and probably all the volunteers with Facebook accounts socialised and arranged meet ups and social events. I had made so many new friends right across the UK I felt like I had reached out to some new people and got a great new outlook on life. I was passionate about people and places and I wanted to reach out to them and see them and feel how fortunate I was to have them in my life. One of them was on duty that night at Hampden, Robin Gallagher and I got a chance to see her in the foyer. It was nice to see her especially as she had made all the effort to look like what could possibly be the most glamorous Clyde-Sider there was. She had dyed her hair in red, white and silver to match the colour of her uniform, it was fantastic. Well that was one down and there was still more to go.
After I returned to my seat I sat and waited for the star attraction of the games as superstar athlete Usain Bolt came out for the men’s 4×400 metre relay. I was lucky to be seated here, right where Usain’s starting point was. I looked up at him and thought to myself ‘Wow, look at that! I’m in a stadium where Usain Bolt was performing and I had front row seats for it too! Wow, this was my lucky night.’ Having been a sci-fi geek with a penchant for collecting and hanging out with Dr Who, Scott Tracy and Darth Vader I thought I had experienced everything. Now I know better and there was several other champions out there who I had to meet. Boy this one was a towering giant. He was standing next to a Clyde-Sider handling his kit and he did look more than double your average sized human being. Especially with those pneumatic pounding arms and legs that could make him outrun a bunny, but at least my arrows can fly faster through the air than he can sprint.