Saturday, March 13, 2010

Opening Ceremonies - Paralympic Style

Last night, I took the boys to an absolutely amazing event - the Opening Ceremonies for the Paralympic Winter Games. Vancouver 2010 continues!!! Susan came with us, and all four of us enjoyed the night immensely. I have a TON of photos, too many to download right now, but I hope to post some of those later.

We got to the stadium just after 4 pm. We got through security quickly (Jack didn't beep so they didn't make us un-sling his arm, thank God) and found our seats inside. The boys were thrilled to be in such a gigantic venue. It was a magical atmosphere just walking inside! We all got a kit on our seats that included a coloured poncho, white pompoms with flashing lights, a gold flashcard and a beautiful keepsake book about the Paralympics, along with song lyrics and basic instructions on the audience role in the ceremonies that night.

At 5 pm, they started to teach us when to use our pompoms, when to use our flash cards, when to sing and when to dance. The idea of the dance was to get all 60,000 of us dancing at once, thereby setting a record for being the largest "flash mob" ever. It was all very cool! Ethan kept us in line, making sure we all did the right things at the right time. (That boy LOVES rules)

We ate hot dogs and chips and made a couple of last-minute bathroom runs (Sorry to everyone in row LL for the number of exits and entrances by this frazzled mom) and then the ceremony started. Watch it at 2 pm today on CTV if you get the chance; it was awesome!!!

Highlights: Almost too many to mention! But I'll try: Tributes to Rick Hansen and Terry Fox, the Breakdancers, the Extreme Wheelchair stunt artists, the Quebecois rock band that entered on giant motorcycles, and of course the athletes. The crowd was super supportive of every one of the 40+ countries that entered. The four of us cheered the loudest for Andorra, USA, Great Britain, and of course CANADA! When Canada entered at the end, the crowd went absolutely WILD.

I kept thinking to myself that I had only paid $20 each for these seats. I just couldn't believe the quality of the show!

The boys got tired around 8:15 and I'm pretty sure Jack would have been happy to leave, but we had to wait for the lighting of the Paralympic flame. It was very impressive! It took a while to get all the spectators out of the stadium. It's a little nerve-wracking to watch your children get crushed behind people who don't even realize they're there! And Jack's one-armedness complicated things too, as he's very awkward to carry at the moment. But of course we got out safe and sound!

And today, we are heading downtown to catch some Paralympic vibe and check out some of the Pavilions and activities in Vancouver before attending Ice Sledge Hockey this evening. The boys are SO excited to see ice sledge hockey, and I must admit that although I bought the tickets for them rather than for me, I am certainly swept up in their enthusiasm for this sport. It looks very exciting! Ethan and Jack will be cheering for the USA today in their game against Korea. They will be wearing their giant red foam stetsons, so I'll be sure to get photos of that!

If you get the chance to see some of the Paralympics, I highly recommend it. These athletes are so inspiring in so many ways! The party continues in Vancouver and Whistler...


Cathy said...

Facebook has a group Olympics 2010, and they've been posting pictures of the Paralympics. So Glad you are getting to participate with the boys this time around rather than 'work' it.

Jim said...

That boy likes rules......hmmmmm