Posted by: christinelaennec | August 4, 2014

Games, friendship and commemoration

A few weeks ago, we weren’t too sure what to expect with the Commonwealth Games coming to town.  Everywhere you went, there were (literally) signs that things were going to be different:

Getting ready before the Commonwealth Games

Getting ready before the Commonwealth Games

The Games finished last night, and we all agreed that we’d thoroughly enjoyed them.  There were a lot more people, and a lot more police, than usual, but it really lived up to its reputation as “the Friendly Games”.

Last weekend we ventured into town, and were amazed at the crowds:

Sunday afternoon July 27, 2014.  Glasgow's Buchanan street with a "Clydesider" in foreground.

Sunday afternoon July 27, 2014. Glasgow’s Buchanan street with a “Clydesider” in foreground.

In the photo above, the man with grey trousers and a red and white shirt is one of the 15,000 Games volunteers, nicknamed the “Clydesiders”.  They were everywhere you went, and were truly friendly, come rain or shine.

Buchanan Street, Glasgow, July 27 2014.

Buchanan Street, Glasgow, July 27 2014.

There was a great family atmosphere, and a lot of cultural events alongside the sporting ones.  Michael succeeded in getting tickets to the squash semi-finals, and that was very interesting.  I don’t know much about squash – it seems to be ping-pong played inside a box, essentially.  But the human drama was fascinating.  The first match we watched was between two women on the England team and were they bad-tempered!  One threw down her raquet and had to be ordered to return to the court.  But the second match, between the best male squash player in India and a man from the England squad, showed true sportsmanship.

Squash semi-finals

Squash semi-finals

They were courteous to each other, and applauded good volleys even when on the losing side.  It was a joy to watch them.

I was also fascinated by how the court had to be wiped down by the volunteers.  I can’t imagine how sweaty it must have been inside!  Sometimes the players would slip, and the cleaning crew would descend to mop things up in the middle of a match:

Squash semi-finals

Squash semi-finals:  cleaning the court

Everyone around us was very knowledgeable about the sport and there were tense moments, with much discussion amongst the spectators, when a player requested a video replay:

Squash semi-finals

Squash semi-finals

Certainly in the matches we saw, the audience responded to good sportsmanship. It was reported that the crowds encouraged members of all the different teams.

I like the photo below – behind the guy on the green phone you can see four young pals walking along together.  One of them has the red cross of St. George painted on his face to show he’s an England supporter; two of the others have Scotland’s colours.  (And the fourth has a marvellous head of ginger hair!)  I think they were all together, and I liked that.

England and Scotland supporters in the crowd:  friends.

England and Scotland supporters in the crowd: friends.

My memories of the Commonwealth Games will be:  policemen wishing me a good morning as I walked to church; helping a woman with a partially-sighted daughter to find parking outside a control zone – she was a farmer’s wife who had driven for hours to come; friendly volunteers at the train stations directing people; an Isle of Man team member doing training runs in our neighbourhood.  Oh and the fact that during the Opening Ceremony people were invited to donate money to Unicef – over £5 million was raised for children in the Commonwealth countries by the end of the Games.

The Closing Ceremony was last night, and tonight we are marking 100 years since the start of the Great War.  The public are being urged to turn out all lights for an hour from 10 to 11 pm, to mark the last hour of peace, and echoing the Secretary of State’s remark 100 years ago, that the “lights will go out all over Europe”.

With all the dreadful conflicts that are going on in the world right this minute, it would be so nice to think that the spirit of the Games will ultimately prevail.  I have no photos of candles so will leave you with another symbol of hope, flowers:

bouquets from the garden, 4 August 2014.

bouquets from the garden, 4 August 2014.

 

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Responses

  1. Such a beautiful post.

  2. Ditto so great to read something so positive!

  3. Oh how fun! I’ve been hearing about the games from all my friends on Facebook but haven’t seen any pictures. It sounds like such a wonderful thing for Scotland to have hosted and I’m glad you had so many positive experiences. I love that transparent squash court! wow.

  4. I’m glad to hear that the whole thing was bearable for the residents! I thought of you on Wednesday when we had a day in Glasgow to go to Hampden Park for the athletics. We had an absolute blast! One of the most memorable parts was the hilarious chap working at the train station (Mount Florida) nearby with his very witty comments while the totally packed platforms of people waited for a train!

  5. I took Bagl to Glasgow a Green last Monday and everyone was incredibly friendly and helpful. Most importantly our fellow passengers on the train back from Glasgow were very patient and understanding, our buggy was taking up a lot of precious space but no one complained to us and the man sitting next to us was very tolerant of Bagl, who is not used to travelling on such crowded trains. Thank you Glasgow!

  6. It is nice to hear of friendly and helpful people at such a large event, and I like the glimpse of downtown Glasgow, too. How wonderful that so much money was raised for a worthy cause. I so wish we could have peace in our lifetime. I don’t understand war. xo Karen


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