TIME TO GET ON BOARD

YOU’VE GOT TO BE IN IT TO WIN IT: WHETHER YOU'RE IN THE THICK OF IT OR TUN­ING IN ON YOUR TV SCREENS, THIS IS OUR TIME TO SHINE

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Gold Coast Eye - - INFORMER - WORDS: MICHAEL JACOBSON

In­former’s ear­li­est mem­ory of the Com­mon­wealth Games is watch­ing Ron Clarke in the 10,000 me­tres at Ed­in­burgh in 1970. I watched it with my mother, who told me about Ron light­ing the flame at the 1956 Mel­bourne Olympics.

She reck­oned he de­served to win a gold medal at Olympic or Com­mon­wealth level, al­though she also warned he was bet­ter against the clock than against ac­tual peo­ple, es­pe­cially in the big meets. So it proved again in Ed­in­burgh. Ron was rounded up by Scot­tish spoil­sport Lachie Ste­wart and fin­ished se­cond. Around 40 years later, Ron helped light the flame of in­spi­ra­tion that won the Gold Coast host­ing rights for the 2018 Com­mon­wealth Games.

He was mayor back then and I’m sure he’d love to see how things turned out.

The Games, of course, are now un­der way and In­former is thrilled to be play­ing a mi­nor role down at the Gold Coast Me­dia Cen­tre.

My HQ is Kur­rawa Beach, where the view of sand and sea makes a pleas­ant change from the blander, non-coastal en­vi­rons of my usual of­fice. There’s a friendly at­mos­phere, gal­lons of cof­fee and, hooray, proper milk.

My only is­sue is an ID photo in which I re­sem­ble some­one con­victed of a cap­i­tal crime that I didn’t com­mit, but Mrs In­former prob­a­bly did.

Word is that Prince Charles may drop by. It’ll be nice to catch up. We met 35 years and one week ago when he vis­ited Launce­s­ton. I’m sure he’ll re­mem­ber. I was the one with the grey suit and a ranga mul­let.

I gather he’s as happy as me to be on the Gold Coast at this time. Sure, the naysay­ers con­tinue to gripe about the Games be­ing an in­con­ve­nience and a waste, but naysay­ing is such lazi­ness. What plea­sure or pur­pose do its pur­vey­ors take from it? Like, the other day I was on the tram and it was akin to a lit­tle Games Vil­lage.

Among the pas­sen­gers were mem­bers of the In­dian shoot­ing team, a cou­ple of Scot­tish del­e­gates, half a dozen vol­un­teer “Games Shapers” and var­i­ous other ath­letes and of­fi­cials in their na­tional liv­ery. Out­side the tram it was pour­ing; in­side it was all sun­shine.

In­former’s at­ti­tude to­wards the Games is equally bright, a case of em­brace, cel­e­brate and wel­come. What’s more, I know peo­ple who have helped put this thing to­gether. I know them and trust them. I’m not say­ing there won’t be is­sues, but there is also ex­cite­ment and po­ten­tial. Like the tram, I’m on board.

Peo­ple at the me­dia cen­tre are on board too. I’ve met vis­i­tors from Eng­land, Canada, New Zealand, Malaysia, Scot­land and Fiji. They’re not only in­ter­ested in the Games; they’re in­ter­ested in the city and the re­gion.

Sure, the Games are just a cou­ple of days in and any­thing can hap­pen, from dire to daz­zling. My view is this: why not be­lieve in daz­zling? All of which brings In­former back to Ron Clarke, who never won a gold medal at a ma­jor in­ter­na­tional meet.

Per­haps these Com­mon­wealth Games will be the event to change that, at least by ex­ten­sion and in spirit.

This is a big mo­ment for the Gold Coast. I say back it, don’t whack it. Op­por­tu­nity is the name of the Games. A bet­ter, bolder and more pos­i­tive city is the legacy.

“WORD IS THAT PRINCE CHARLES MAY DROP BY. IT’LL BE NICE TO CATCH UP.”

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