I’ve recently come back from a trip to Glasgow after being fortunate enough to get some tickets to the Commonwealth Games. It was my first visit to Scotland, which seeing as I’m from England and I used to have family in the North-East, seems quite unacceptable. But I’ve finally been so it’s all ok.
It was an absolutely incredible few days and we actually dubbed our final day as officially “Best Day Ever!” because of everything that happened. Everything was just amazing. The Games seemed perfectly organised, the atmosphere was awesome and the sport was world class.
I was just going to muse on a few things I learned from the trip, so hope you enjoy.
- The people of Scotland are ridiculously friendly and cheerful.
Being from the South of England and having family in the North, I knew full well about the idea that people get friendly the further north you go. People in London won’t make eye contact on the Tube, but a Sales Assistant in Newcastle is quite happy to hear your life story when they serve you. It’s a sad but true stereotype. Even more so when you go so far north you cross the border.
Every day, we walked past the cheerful volunteers asking for high-fives with their green foam hands, helpful and happy train staff (I know, I didn’t think they existed either) and general Scots who were nothing but pleasant and happy to make conversation. While waiting for a train at 11pm, one of the Games volunteers actually started a sing-song on her megaphone to perk the crowd up!
- You can basically get into any sport you watch.
I did learn this at the 2012 Olympics when I watch Bulgaria versus Russia at volleyball, but it was a point enforced again this time around. We watched hockey, which I played at high school and haven’t even thought about it since. Suddenly, I was a massive fan. We even sat through torrential rain without any kind of rain protection to see England play Malaysia, that’s how much we were into it.
The next day, we watched India versus Singapore in the badminton. Again, I used to play it at school and occasional book at court at the gym these days, but wouldn’t call myself a fan. A couple of hours changed that, along with the thousands of people in the arena with me. Everyone was on their feet, shouting and screaming, by the final, deciding match. The atmosphere really makes the difference.
- You will become an expert in any sport you watch.
Well kind of. You’ll think you’re an expert anyway. You’ll watch a sport, get really into it and then start making comments as if you actually know what you’re talking about. Case and point, me watching the High Jump.
4. You can Mexican Wave to The Proclaimers.
I’ve been to a lot of sporting events and done my fair share of Mexican Waves, but to do it in a full arena with people singing 500 Miles at the top of their lungs, is just something you’re not going to forget in a hurry.
- The athletics in the decathlon are obscenely attractive.
Seriously. Go Google Ashley Bryant and Curtis Mathews now!
- Greg Rutherford is a nice guy!
You may have seen the whole thing making the rounds on the Web about the steward who tried to walk Greg Rutherford away when all he wanted to do sign autographs over his qualifying jumps.
We ran down to the bottom of our section to get a photo with him (which we did manage!) although he had probably already had pictures with a couple of hundred people by that point. The best part was watching him being pulled away by the official, only to duck away when he got his chance and run back to sign more autographs.
He spoke to as many people as possible and was clearly happy to be there, enjoying the attention. Putting in that kind of effort to spend time with fans speaks volumes.
- You resolve to become fitter.
With the amount of six-packs on display (male and female) and seeing how hard the athletes push themselves, it makes you want to be a better person. They truly do inspire and you find yourself wanting to be like them. It doesn’t matter that while you’re watching the Games, all you’re eating is burgers and chips!
Check out the BBC Get Inspired quiz which will tell you what sport you should be getting involved with – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28062001
- You will have serious withdrawal symptoms afterwards.
Going back to real life just isn’t the same. You feel the need to clap anything just to get an atmosphere going, maybe shouting encouragement at strangers in the street or wave a flag for no apparent reason.
Watching the events on TV just isn’t the same when after you’ve seen them live and you find yourself counting down the days until you can go again. I’ve already started saving for Rio 2016 and the 2018 Commonwealths on the Gold Coast!