I’m pretty sure I will never be a rock star. I will not experience the jolt of adrenaline pumped by the roar of an adoring crowd, nor be whisked past fans clamoring for an autograph. No photos of me will be emblazoned on the front pages of international press. Ebullient family and friends will not share the story of my meteoric rise to fame with everyone they know.
No, that is not my life, but it was that of my son Evan, albeit briefly, with his appearance in the London 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony. You can read about his road to the Olympics here.
What was it like being part of the magic? Months of rehearsals in soggy London had come down to this, this spectacular night when the Olympic Games would be ushered in with style and panache for all the world to see. Here is the final rehearsal schedule:
The buzz had been building steadily about the event, although the participants largely kept the secret. Evan had told us very little about what was to come. But we knew with legendary director Danny Boyle in charge, we were in for a treat. Here he is giving directions at one of the rehearsals.
“He made each one of us feel like we were an important part of the event,” Evan said. “Everyone felt a sense of ownership, a ‘we’re in this together’ feeling. I was blown away by how thoughtful and intelligent he was. Every volunteer would tell you that Danny Boyle is personable, down-to-earth, involved and caring.”
Evan was in the Industrial Revolution segment, and here is his group getting into costume and makeup.
This is how he looked:
My normally articulate son has found it difficult to put the experience into words. “To sum up the experience is so hard. We spent six months practicing in the rain, in the cold, every weekend. There were times when we wondered if it would be worth it.”
After all these months of intense rehearsals, “we knew this was the last time we’d be together,” he said. We were excited for the show, but also felt a bit of sadness knowing that this amazing experience would soon be over.”
Backstage with the NHS nurses …
Back home, our family gathered around the TV to watch, and lo and behold, there he was! For a fraction of a second, perhaps, but that’s him, that’s my boy! Third from the left with the suspenders and rolled up sleeves.
The sky was aglow from the rings.
And in the wings, the athletes were waiting to go on …
Here is O Canada …
At the end of the unforgettable night, a ride home in the Tube with the NHS nurses …
This story has already become legendary in our family, and my rock star son will be telling it to his children and grandchildren someday. Will we see him in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics? I would not be surprised in the least.