Tonight my son and I saw a piece of history in the making. We got to take part in the festivities as the Olympic Torch weaved its way through our city, on the way to Vancouver, British Columbia to set their city aglow and to start the 2010 Winter Olympics.
I must admit when my little dude asked me if we could go and take part tonight, a part of me groaned on the inside, not because I don’t carry a great deal of Canadian pride, or because I had no interest, it was because I didn’t know if I could stand up for a long time, and I am always scared when I am in a crowd when I am not feeling well that someone is going to either bump into me, or step on me. But I truly couldn’t say no when I saw the magical glint in my little one’s eyes! He was SO excited!
So after bringing him home from school, he did his homework FASTER than I have ever seem him do it, and we sat down to make a sign to take with us. He was BUZZING with anticipation! We spoke about when I was a younger girl, the 1988 Olympics were hosted here, and all the excitement that the city felt, the joy from being chosen to host the Olympics, the great pride we all felt in being CANADIAN. He truly started to understand how blessed we are to be from this country. We shared some GREAT conversation as we got ready to go.
We made our way down 17th Avenue an hour before the torch would be passing by, and there were HUNDREDS of other people waiting already to get their glimpse of the torch. The energy was almost frenetic, yet it felt really warm and peaceful… There was an intense sense of community brewing that we don’t get to feel very often living in this fast paced/Dog-eat-Dog society of ours…… Strangers were offering flags, and stickers…. the older generations were making sure the youngsters were in the front row…. and people were telling stories of where they were the exact moment they saw the torch for the first time when it came through Calgary 22+ years ago. My little one was holding up his sign for all to see, and prompting folks to cheer! I just had to stand back and take it all in.
I felt pride…. and acceptance….. and for almost an hour, I didn’t feel pain… All I could feel was the ‘big picture’….. we are all the same on the inside… whether we have white or brown skin, male or female, young or old, pain or health…. we were all ONE in those moments…. and the unity was very palpable.
The bus that brought the torch runners to their starting point pulled up, and none other than Jim ‘Bearcat’ Murray stepped off! If you are not familiar with who he is, he is a superstar in these parts! He was an integral trainer on the Calgary Flames, and was partly responsible for our SOLE Stanley Cup win on May 25, 1989. He is a humanitarian, and a sweet man, and this city has never forgotten him. He stood with pride as the other runner came in, lifted her torch to his, they shared an embrace, and then we was off running….. It was only a few moments in time, but SO profound.
It was beautiful…. and overwhelming… and I welled up with tears.
In THAT moment I was SO thankful to experience my son’s wonderment through HIS eyes.
In THAT moment I didn’t feel alone. Pain or not, I felt connected to the masses.
In THAT moment I knew that one day when my son looks back on his life, he will remember that whole experience with fondness, and he will KNOW that I never wanted him to miss opportunities in life because of my limitations.
In THAT moment, I cheered on all of those that can run freely without knowing what it is like to struggle to just walk some days.
But not out of jealousy for them, or pity for me. Not in the least.
I cried because I knew in that moment, the torch was carried for all of us.
And the fire from the torch was a symbol of hope, and determination, and dedication, and pride.
Very much like tonight…. I think we also need to pass it on.