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November 01, 2009

Halloween Torch upstages Olympic Torch

The Olympic Torch came to Salt Spring yesterday. The paper said one time. The reality was another about an hour later. As a result, like a lot of other people, I spent quite a bit of time just wandering around "down town", drinking coffee, enjoying the fantastic weather and chatting.

Now, when this type of event happens in a small town, it's just another excuse to socialize, complain, be cynical, joke and look around to see who's there. The pipe band figured out that they better entertain. A crowd began to gather.

Soon a rainbow of balloons materialized to become an archway. The girls gymnastics team sang Oh Canada. Official Driftwood photographer Derrick was there waiting to take the official photos. Salt Spring Community.com had their video camera ready to get footage to go on the web.

The torch was coming in via floatplane. People in Olympic outfits were being passed on the street by grown men wearing cow outfits and zombies with blood running down their face, little girls in angel costumes and skeletons. It was Halloween afterall.

Finally, after what seemed like a few hours of waiting, a Harbour Air floatplane landed. The anticipation rose. An RCMP officer told us to make a break in the crowd so the torch could go straight up the center of the road.

I really couldn't see much. I had my camera ready. Suddenly out of nowhere a young guy with his long brown hair flowing wearing a maroon-coloured toga came running, a torch raised high above his head. There was only one problem, this torch was made of tin foil. It was his Halloween costume.

After the split second confusion - nope, this ain't the real torch - the crowd let out a unanimous cheer. That was the highlight. It was really funny because he looked the way I think we all want the Olympic runners to look, like they used to look way back in the day, when the Olympics first began. Tradition! It happened so fast and was so unexpected that I didn't even get a photo.

Then, the real torch came. The real torch looks like a boomerang that somebody got seriously wrong. It's sleek and white with a strange little crook in it. It's sterile and kinda boring. You could barely see the flame coming out the top of it.

A woman in her 50s was carrying it for the first leg of the island journey. There was a very small RCMP presence but they had brought in enforcements. I heard there was a lone protestor. I heard that someone threw red paint and hit an innocent bystander.

The Olympic torch has been to Salt Spring.

Thank you to whomever that creative guy was. He made the wait worth it.


Cookme said...

Ha, Ha! This story is too funny. You've summed up how far we've strayed from the original Olympic ideals under the stewardship of the IOC. Bring back the fun, amateur spirit of the games, I say! The world needs more men in togas having fun!

GM said...

The world needs more men in togas. I like that visual Meesh!