Saturday, 11 July 2015

Opening Ceremony of the Pan Am Games

Cirque du Soleil has pulled it off again! A spectacular show last night, with so much colour and motion going on that you worried you'd miss something. The featured Native dancer put so much passion and energy into his performance, it was electrifying. I remember seeing someone do that Eagle hoop dance when I was very young, in grade school, and I have been fascinated with it since.

For some reason, when everyone came on stage in their various native costumes, I was moved to tears. All these different people, all these nationalities represented, all dancing together to the same common beat -- it really hit me. We can rise above any differences between us and just celebrate together as brothers and sisters. Toronto is home to people of so many backgrounds, and yet for the most part we all get along and respect each other really well. I'm proud of you, Toronto, and glad to live in such an environment.

There's something really neat about hordes of ordinary citizens getting together to admire and support the athletes who have trained and worked so hard and accomplished great physical feats. Maybe it's because I'm getting older and more anxious, but as I watched the parade of athletes I found myself worrying one of them would twist an ankle or something during the opening ceremony...but then I realized, as I watched them, that they were completely confident and at ease in their own bodies, graceful and sure in their movements. They weren't likely to get injured from something as simple as walking and waving in a distracted crowd (which would be fraught with danger for someone klutzy like me) because they've trained all their lives and trust their bodies. As I sat eating strawberry cheesecake muffins on the couch and watched, I completely admired the discipline it took these people to be so healthy! And was glad for the fact that we are all different, I in my pudginess and they in their lithe grace. I was glad that we are each free to choose our own paths and pursue our own interests.

The most endearing moment of the whole show was toward the end, when my son's friend's mom carried the torch as part of the 1984 Olympic team...and got lost. It took two or three tries to find the woman she was supposed to hand the torch off to. I found it sweet, and representative of the whole idea of Olympic sport -- try, try again, and again, until you find a way to succeed. She couldn't have planned it better.

Humans are playful and determined and fierce, and pretty cool all in all. The next few weeks will bring crowded commutes and probably too many late nights watching the various events on TV. I'm looking forward to it.

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