Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Reunited and it feels so good

On February 8 in 2002, my dear friends Lori, Bev and I sneaked onto the roof of the Steiner Ice Arena in Salt Lake and watched the fireworks for the Opening Ceremonies for the Winter Olympic Games. It was the relative calm before the storm of the next 17 of the craziest days of my life.

On February 8 in 2012, I spent the day with our two biggest sponsors while they showed sneak peeks of Opening Ceremonies and Medals Stand uniforms to all the team leaders for London. I didn't even realize until 1:30 on the morning when we were still lingering over drinks in some bar downtown that I had completely forgotten to wax nostalgic.

So despite being on the road for five weeks and still trying to get my life back to a bit of normal, I hopped on another place and went to Salt Lake for the weekend for the 10 year anniversary celebration of the 2002 Games.

You might not realize this but at the Organizing Committee in Salt Lake, there were two layers of very seasoned and qualified Directors and Senior Managers. And then there were hundreds of us who were young and inexperienced and hard working and we had far, far more responsibility than you would ever imagine a bunch of almost kids should have had.

We were a funny mix of completely aware that we were out of our league and utterly convinced that we knew everything. I would quite regularly tell my 35 year old, four time Olympian, silver medalist boss the many and varied ways in which I thought he needed to do things differently. I cringe now when I think of some of the things I said and did but I was lucky to have some incredible mentors who patiently let me say and do ridiculous things and still managed to teach me things I use just about every day.

We had a staff reunion Saturday night and it was the typical too many faces to properly catch up with anyone but still super super fun to see them kind of event. I loved checking in and hearing where people went after the Games, meeting some significant others, and fielding some questions about my recent Euro-adventures (maybe don't post photos of a trip with a boy you aren't dating on FB right before you go home and see tons of people!).

After the reunion there was a special Stars on Ice Anniversary Show at the venue that housed Short Track and Figure Skating. My friend Kari managed the event so she got Lori and her family and me some sweet tickets down on the floor. I got there a little early and as I took my seat I looked around and saw ghosts everywhere. The last time I was down there was the final night of Short Track. The last spectator had no sooner left the building than the place was swarming with guys starting tear down. We took a few photos in the kiss and cry before someone barked at us that there was a basketball game to get ready for and poof, the Olympics were over kids. I wasn't quite prepared to be as emotional as I was looking around and remembering a million tiny things I haven't thought about in a million years.

It's been a busy decade. Lori married one of the Transport Managers, Bev and I had dinner in London last month-she's worked every Games since that one, and the boy I held hands with at Closing Ceremonies left the next day to go back to his real life and has two kidlets now. My figure skating boss helped me get this current job. A member of the 2002 Long Track team who I never met ended up being my intern last year and became a dear friend.

I have no idea what that 25 year old version of me would think of the 35 year old sitting in that VIP section Saturday night. Disappointed that she's alone? Glad she looks pretty good? Relieved that those Games were a start not and end to an adventurous career? I don't know. I wonder what I'll think of whatever 45 has done with my life at the next milestone anniversary.

I'm so glad I went. I'm also so glad that despite all it's wonderful moments, I don't wish I could go back. Pretty satisfying.

Junior high pal Paul turned into SLOC friend Paul turned into one of my favorite grown-up friends

Oval peeps, still running flawless events and being awesome

Lori's little one touching the ice right where momma used to work. 

1 comment:

goodfoodgirl said...

Ahhhhh... thank you, Katie Clifford. Things I know for sure: I loved your insights then and am so glad to have you in my life through this crazy adventure called SLOC.