(Cue the booming drum) DUM, DUM, DUM, DUM …
(Cue the bugles) Dum, dum, de dum dum dum dum, dum dum de dum ….
Allow me to translate. That, my friends, is the thrilling and iconic Olympics refrain, which is giving me goose bumps even now. BECAUSE MY SON EVAN IS IN THE OLYMPICS!!
Is he a champion swimmer, you may be wondering. Does he run the 500 meter dash? Can he lift massive dumbbells above his head and grunt louder than Maria Sharapova in a tie-breaker?
My son, while gifted in many ways, is not an athlete. Well, not an Olympics-qualifying one. BUT what he lacks in athleticism he makes up for in chutzpah. This cheeky chap, my first-born child, is in the Opening Ceremonies.
Evan lives in London and noticed a link on the London Olympics 2012 website for applying to be a volunteer. Thinking, what the hell, he clicked away and, long story short, he and 14,999 other hopefuls were invited to audition. “We were taught a dance en masse,” Evan said, “and then broke into groups of 10 and had to perform it in front of everyone as well as a panel of seven judges. For a non-dancer, it was pretty nerve-wracking!”
The number was whittled down to 4,500, and he made the cut. Rehearsals began in early May, and now, with just weeks left until the Games begin, the frequency of the rehearsals has ramped up to three times a week, roughly eight hours each time.
“The director, Danny Boyle, has been at every rehearsal and is very hands-on,” Evan said. “He speaks in soaring metaphors that somehow work and often goes off on metaphysical tangents which lead you to believe he’s either much deeper than us normal folk or much better at making up stories. Probably a combination.”
You may remember that Danny Boyle directed Slumdog Millionaire and Trainspotting.
Although he won’t yet reveal the details, Evan said that his group of 1,500 performers will appear in the first 15 minutes of the show. I’ll let you know more when he clues me in (he’s been sworn to secrecy so far). He won’t get special access to any of the events, but was able to snag tickets to many of the events, including the gold medal basketball game.
As the Games get closer, the excitement and anticipation are building. “It’s been draining so far,” he confessed. “My section has had the most rehearsals and I haven’t had a day off between work and this since the middle of May. However, since we moved into the stadium two weeks ago, adrenaline is kicking in. We’re starting to see the technology and pyrotechnics woven into our scene. We’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Through it all we tell ourselves that on July 27 we will be in the center of Olympic Stadium as 80,000 cheer us on and 2.5 billion around the world watch us. That’s what keeps us going back to rehearsals.”
He added, “I think it’s going to be extraordinary. I just hope I don’t trip.”