Having spent my summer in London in 2012 for the Olympics I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. What I didn’t expect was spending so much time working during the games. I was suppose to be nannying in the day and able to enjoy the atmosphere in the evenings/weekends. However I had ended up taking a restaurant job to top up the travel funds and said restaurant job wanted me to work every evening and weekend during the games time. I was left exhausted and detesting the games because it was making me work so much. I’d always planned to write about my thoughts on the games in Glasgow but due to the situation it left me in, I’ve struggled to put my thoughts in to words. I did’t want to just moan and moan about my work situation and that’s why I’ve not rushed myself to write this up, because otherwise that is what this would have been.
The games started with a bang, it was a perfect summer’s evening where you don’t have to put a jumper on until the sun has gone down. I was lucky enough to have a ticket to the Opening Ceremony at Celtic Park and what a wonderful night it was. You can read all about it here but lets just say I got on the One Show, met Kelly Holmes and was pictured on the front cover of the metro the following day. I then only had to wait a few days before I would see my first sport of the games. In the lead up to those days I debated heading to the Glasgow Green live site, but never did. I sat at home watching it comfortably from my sofa and was delighted every time I could spot a place I knew.
Saturday came and I headed over to the Emirates Arena to watch some badminton. Problem was I had worked a 17 hour day the previously and felt like a zombie. Seeing a venue I had seen half built (my boyfriend works in the logistics team for the games and I had visited a few weeks earlier) was exciting but I found it really hard to concentrate on any of the games being played. The stadium was pretty packed that weekend and I did really enjoy the atmosphere, I just needed some sleep. I made my way to the city after a morning of badminton and was speechless at how busy it was. You could barely move on Buchanan Street and Merchant City wasn’t much better, still I thought it would be good to check out the Merchant City live site so I carried on. Having never actually been in Merchant City before I got rather lost and then really hungry because everywhere had such long queues. The atmosphere was electric but as someone who hates crowds I found it all a little bit scary. Merchant City was full of pop up market and food stalls – it felt very festival like and if I had more patience I probably would have stuck around to sample some food.
After the weekend it was game over with the weather, temperatures drop and there was a lot more of the grey skies I have come to expect in Glasgow. By now I was glued to the TV, watching all the sport I could fit in, but still I couldn’t bring myself to head to one of the live sites. My experience of the city of Saturday had scared me right off that. Work at the restaurant had become very busy and my only time off was the nights I actually had tickets for something. Luckily I didn’t have to wait long as Monday I headed off to Hampden Park, to meet the boy and enjoy some athletics. I left work early for fear of it taking a long time to get there, thank goodness I did. I sat my bum in the seat only minutes before the first action. The train had been queueing around the block so I opted for the local bus instead of a shuttle bus, as I had heard the queue was just as bad – problem was I didn’t realised how long it would take. Still I didn’t miss any of the action so I can’t complain. We had prime view of the high jump from our seats and weren’t far from the track either. The excitement built in the stadium as the evening went on, tonight we would see the 100m final – I was more than excited. A Scottish girl with site issues won the para-sport 100m final and the stadium erupted for her, it really felt special. Being English but living in Scotland I spent the entire games cheering for two teams because I couldn’t pick one. It was a glorious evening with the sun coming out again, even as we left the stadium dusk was only just setting in. I was slowly getting used to how late it stayed light in Scotland.
The rest of the week passed in a blur, with more sporting action continuing and the work hours piling up. Sunday came around quick and I couldn’t believe the games were practically over. I’d missed the marathon because I was too busy sleeping and the only event left for me to see was the road cycling. Watching the women’s race in bed as the rained poured I was pretty set on staying in for the men’s race too. Until I gave myself a good kick up the bum, this was the last chance I had to see something, why should a little rain stop me. So with a few hours to spare before work we set off for the city, to watch some cycling. We started off in the west end but quickly headed in to the city as this was where the atmosphere was. With two parts of the track being close to each other it meant you didn’t have to wait an entire lap before seeing the lead group again. I throughly enjoyed mixing it up a little and wandering to different parts of the course. It was pretty busy in the city but much more manageable than the pervious weekend. The rain had certainly put some people off, as I left for work the Isle Of Man guy was over a minute in front of the pack. I was gutted to not be able to watch how the race would pan out but when it started to rain torrentially on my way to work, I was glad I wasn’t staying out in it.
Writing all of this up makes it seem like I did actually see and do a lot. However to me it felt like I didn’t do anywhere near as much as I had wanted. I never made it to the live sites and I missed the marathon. Still I did see four events in total and throughly enjoyed being able to see so much, in London I had only had tickets for Paralympics athletics. I missed there not being a park like there was in London but then having everything spread over the city was pretty cool, I mean Glasgow is much smaller than London for starters. Although my games experience didn’t turn out exactly as I hoped, it was still incredible to be part of something like this in our own country. Bring on Gold Coast 2018.