My God it has been a whirlwind of a week for me. Five consecutive days of working for the most friendliest and vibrant sporting champions in history. I will cherish these days for the rest of my life with a warm glow in my heart. I worked with the best teams I could ever have worked with. It was an honour to serve the athletes and a privilege to work with some friendly people as Clydesiders. My Facebook friends keep growing in number day by day. Starting off on Day One with the Triathlon.
When I came here to volunteer I was hopeful that the event that I was going to be posted to would see a champion from England win a Gold medal. I came to find my expectations were exceeded by sheer hard work causing Team England to sweep the board. As a volunteer I know I’m so supposed to be impartial but I couldn’t help but feel like I was ensuring that my own country was winning as I manned the crossing points. First off was the woman’s individual triathlon. I watched and kept the crowds at bay as Jodie Stimpson and Vicky Holland sped right past me, first on bikes and then on foot. It was an incredible performance. Jodie went onto win gold and Vicki won bronze. I was delighted and so was the crowd. I went over to the riverside screen afterwards to watch the medal ceremony, I could even see their happy faces from across the loch as they were handed out their medals. The national anthem of England, Jerusalem, played as the flags were raised. Even though I didn’t know the words I couldn’t help but feel humble to see Jodie and Vicky raise a smile as the crowd toasted their victory.
Up next was an even bigger fish about to jump in the water, or rather a pair of kippers were about to take to the water. The Brownlee brothers took to the water and sped off on their bikes like amphibious gods of thunder. I cheered them on as they ran past me on the crossing point like a fanboy in charge of his own favourite TV show. As a sci-fi geek I know what to expect when you turn from a fanatic to a working fanatic at the heart of the action. As I was working in another part of the country from England I was also expecting to see Team Scotland bag a medal in the games. I wanted to see a England-England-Scotland victory in the triathlon. I now have two new favourites in the form of Marc Austen and David McNamee. At one point Marc was on top form in the medal lead along with the Brownlees. I had my hopes up high for them as they looked like the trio of triumph. Sadly Marc crashed out and fell back, but I kept my hopes up for him and David. When the gold medal went to Alistair Brownlee and silver to Jonathan I felt like I was reliving London 2012 all over again. Only it was better this time because they had the two top slots on the podium. It was just getting better and better. It was scorching hot and as far as the Scottish volunteers were concerned they saw this weather as an apparition as Glasgow’s weather isn’t usually this glamourous. We were sweltering in the baking heat that we had two bottles of water on us at all times and I had to apply sunblock twice to my arms, face and neck. I was lucky not to get a sunburn as I would usually get on a day outside at all times. It’s given me quite a bit of colour though. I can only feel lucky as my friends down south were feeling a washout with thunderstorms. Well that thunder was actually the sound and strength of champions at work up here in Glasgow.
I had a good time volunteering and I was making the most of every second as a Clydesider. I was up at the crack of dawn getting the shuttle bus to the venues and before you knew it was Clydesiders are Go. I was always on my feet and walking about across the field. As a field of play team member I was responsible for ensuring the event ran on time and proceeded as planned. My other duties if there were any at all because I was prioritizing over the crossing points included handling the athlete’s kits, marshalling the field, carrying the hurdles, warming up the field on dry runs for the athletes and, if I could drive, driving the service carts across the field. On Friday I was carrying on with a warm up for the mixed relay triathlon, where I volunteered to extend my shift so that I could see what else I could put my usefulness to. I got lucky with this task. I had to assemble the podium for the triathletes the next day for the medal ceremony. It was a fun and delightful process that my theatre friends would probably have relished. We got to assemble the podium and as we did the TV crews needed us so that we could help them prepare camera positions to film it for the TV. In order to perfect their talents we did a mock medal ceremony with all the volunteers standing in as extras playing the roles of the medal ceremony. I stood on the gold podium and pretended to receive a medal just like the Brownlees did. As I stood on the podium I thought to myself how likely I am going to be closer to getting a Commonwealth Medal of my own. As an archer I wanted to play for Team England and I had my picture taken on the podium thinking that one day that would be me doing it for real as an archer of the Commonwealth Games.
The last day of the triathlon was a memorable one for me. England swept the board across all the levels winning the mixed relay. Not only that but I experienced by first taste of a relay triathlon. It was a bit relaxed this time as the temperature dropped so I didn’t need as much sunblock and water as I needed but I was standing there hoping God was smiling on us allowing the predicted rain to hold off until they were off their bikes and in running mode. This was the first time I was using the pocket cagoule. I slipped it on just as the heavens opened up and I found them to be quite practical on a hot summer’s day for when I wouldn’t want to carry a raincoat with me. We managed to keep the spectators safely back and they were quite patient even though they had other events to get to. It would have been disastrous if it down poured and they tried to run across the road desperate for shelter. I had to take my hat off to them. I made my way back to the workforce venue just in time to watch the medal ceremony just as the rain stopped. It was marvellous getting that close to a medal ceremony. I’ve never experienced anything quite like it in all my life. After the athletes went back into the comfort of the rest area we went to see them and some of them were happy to pose for photos, which sadly I missed out on. But I was happy to go up to Team England and say ‘I’m glad to see that you swept the board, because of you it made my volunteer experience worthwhile and even more special. It made the work away from Essex worth it and I am glad to have come up this far to see to it that you made it.’
I was so full of enthusiasm for my Clydesider experience I just didn’t want it to end. I had formed so many new friendships I couldn’t even say my goodbyes. I was so thrilled that these people had come to Glasgow 2014 and now there will be a part of my life forever. I just didn’t want to go back home, never mind back to Hornchurch. In fact I’d rather stay in Glasgow and start a new life. There’s plenty of opportunities here for me that I could never get down south. London and Hornchurch have become too crowded for a person of my talents. I developed plenty of new skills and abilities from my time here and I’ve been working for five days.
On the day of the marathon on Sunday I was up at the ‘craziest o’clock’ of early hours. I was up by four am and got to Commonwealth House at 5.30 am to be dispatched along the route of the marathon. I was placed on Pollockshaws Road, off Albert Street along with two other Clydesiders and it wasn’t just a crossing point, it was a marshal duty as well. I was operating a radio listening into the events along the route. I made a quick check of things and saw the marathon runners go through where it had taken 50 minutes for them to reach my point on the first lap. It was 26 miles of wet and windy weather all along the way. I was lucky to see the barriers hold against the gale force winds. After the race I ended up directing people to Hampden Park, just down the road where there was more action taking place on a Super Sunday. It was quite a wait for the shuttle bus but at least I managed to make the most of the time proactively. After which I went down to Merchant City where I had lunch, toured the Sunday market, tried on some hats and mingled amongst the locals where the damp wind didn’t put them off. I went to the superstore and it was so busy I couldn’t even get into there for a shopping trip. I hope they don’t run of Team Scotland t shirts, as they are one of a few items on my list to get from there.
The following day I went to Cathkin Braes Mountain Bike course where the mountain bike would be taking place the next day. I wasn’t on shift for the competition because I had been working for too long so I needed a break. It was a nice trip that made it worthwhile. It started off shrouded in a foggy veil of blindness, I couldn’t see much on the horizon. When the fog lifted I could see the horizon and in doing so I was able to admire the view, I could see the city of Glasgow down below from atop Cathkin Braes as a beauty for the eye to behold. It was the most majestic view I ever saw from a hilltop. As I stood on the hilltop overlooking Glasgow I wondered in absolute solitude. I kept thinking about my future and how the city had become a part of me and how I made Glasgow my adoptive home. This hilltop was like a beauty spot for me as I could use it for astro-camping and if possible an archery range for developing my own sportsmanship.