Lack of fun ends Games
They didn’t get to parade and lark about in front of the live cameras, winners and losers together, unified by the release of so much of tension and pressure.
Instead of that fun, looseness and sense of unburdened pleasure, the event seemed more a showcase for Australian Idol performers most of whom will have found their involvement less careerenhancing than they might have hoped.
And the speeches . . . sheesh. Talk about endurance. Even the marathon runners would have been wilting while the voices of the commonwealth puffed halitosisinfused phrases of congratulation and aspiration around the stadium, as if the take-home message was that words, somehow, mattered more than deeds after all.
On top of which, we had the Bores for Birmingham, afforded rather too much opportunity to promote the next Games venue. Reduced to hold-still-and-payattention spectators, athletes whose lives for so long have been all about stamina and discipline found that their stores of both were exhausted.
Long before the conclusion of the show, great numbers of them had cleared off, realising as they did that there must surely be better parties going on elsewhere. Clearly the same thought had occurred to many thousands of the spectators.
That is a shame not only for them, but also for the volunteer participants, especially the kids. Lessons will be learned for future games as this ceremony serves its one truly useful purpose – a compelling cautionary tale about how not to do it.
Still, the games themselves will still be well-remembered, certainly from a New Zealand perspective. The Kiwi successes surely outweighed the disappointments, with many heart-in-the-mouth moments. Some of them led to eruptive celebrations – surely none more so than the women’s rugby team heaping drama upon drama. The miseries of the Silver Ferns’ performances were unalloyed but their pride should not have been put into question.
On a daily basis, the New Zealand athletes showed the human qualities that sport exists to evoke and reward. And if, longer term, the Aussies rediscover how to throw a halfway decent party, then so much the better.