Thursday, 6 September 2012

Gearing up for Gamesmaker Goodbyes.

I only have one shift left. As of Saturday afternoon (hopefully, there's only the final tennis matches happening), I will no longer be a Gamesmaker. This week has flown by. I've hardly stopped and am completely exhausted. I've done far too many sudoku puzzles to keep my mind alert too.

It seems like five minutes ago that I arrived at the Olympic Park on Thursday night to see how long the journey would take me from where I'm staying, to Eton Manor. Only half an hour! About as long as it takes me to walk to normal work in a morning. This time I've been using the tube from Leytonstone to Leyton and then walking from Leyton Station to Eton Manor Gate which is always quiet so no massive queues to get through security and onto Venue.

I walked round for a while and went into the Beat Box which is the big red and white monument near World Square on the Park. It's run by Coca Cola and goes through how the Mark Ronson song 'Anywhere in the World' was put together. Through the sounds of 5 different sports from 5 different countries. I had my first photo with the Paralympic Torch that night. The photo had the stadium in the back ground and even though my hair is a mess because I'd travelled across the country and it was quite windy up there, it's a decent photo. I walked around for a bit longer before deciding to head home after seeing my friend, Fiona.

Friday morning was my first shift and it began at 7am as it did again on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Getting up at 5am was a bit of a struggle and it was quite chilly in the morning. Thankfully the uniform jacket for us Gamesmakers is quite snug.

I've had shifts with pretty much everyone on our team and made some friends for life from doing so. I haven't been the youngest nor have I been the eldest and there have been people from all walks of life on our team. From those who travelled from America to England at the age of 23 and have lived here for the past 50 odd years, to those who in two weeks will be starting University. We've all been able to find things to talk about and everyone is interesting in their own way. I've seen myself in certain members of the team and I think I've also changed in doing so. I've been able to act calmly in what can be quite stressful situations. No kicking off for Jayne from now on!! It's just not worth it. There have been lessons in Spanish words, Portuguese words. Food from those countries. Discussions about the Sports we are watching. I've learnt so much in 7 days. All for the better.

On Tuesday, I had my first afternoon shift. It lasted from 2.30pm to 9.10pm because of a match between Japan and Thailand having to be delayed due to long matched previously. When it was over, three of the team, including myself, decided to take the walk from Eton Manor through the Park and out the Stratford Gate. It's so lovely doing this at night. It wasn't too busy, there were plenty of people around to make it lively though. We ended up doing some impromptu front of house work. I finally got my hands on a megaphone.

 If you were one of the people I barked at to do a 'Bolt', 'Mobot; or 'Weirwolf' pose, thank you for obliging. Also, if anyone sees me photobombing any spectators photos from outside the Stadium, let me know! I think I would have enjoyed being outside in the main park area a lot, though I don't wish to take anything away from the great time I've had in the office of Eton Manor, communicating with all the teams using the radios.

One of the good friends I've made from my time as a Gamesmaker is Abbie. Abbie is brilliant and just the nicest person I've ever met. She understands my humour and banter and I am very grateful to her for putting up with me, letting me tag along and inviting me to use her spare ticket for the Athletics in the Olympic Stadium on Wednesday night. Even if I was late! I had a fabulous time and when I go in again on Saturday I just don't think it will be the same for me, not having a friend sat next to me. However, if you do end up being my neighbour on Saturday morning, I'm really friendly and will shout louder than you!
We got to see Oscar Pistorius and the rest of the South African relay win Gold and also saw the heartbreak of the Spanish team dropping the baton right in front of our stand. Seeing an athlete laying on the floor in utter defeat, is heartbreaking. The hush and reverence will stay with me forever, as will the applause the athlete got when he left the track to seek solace from his fellow teammates. I never imagined I'd be so lucky as to be in there and I will keep those memories in my mind for as long as my body will let me.




This afternoon after our shift, Abbie and I went on the Beatbox, the first time for her. We then drifted through the spectators, round the wildlife gardens and under the bridges. After heading into Westfields Shopping Centre, she then left to meet friends in Central London. I had something to eat, wandered round for a bit and found myself going back into the Park. It just seems to draw me like a magnet. I'm trapped in this whole Paralympic bubble and I never want it to pop.

Celebrations will be going on at home I'm sure. Oliver Hynd, who comes from our town, won a gold medal last night in the swimming. Thanks to the power of Twitter, I was able to see the postbox across the road from the house I grew up in, being painted Gold. Isn't technology amazing?! Oliver and his brother Sam have won 4 medals between them. We are so proud of Team Hynd! I cannot wait to go to the celebrations in Mansfield when I'm home. I'm tempted to go in my Gamesmaker Uniform but I worry that will look a bit sad. I do love it though!

I also have a little collection of pins attached to my accreditation strap. Some of them I've received during the course of the week when I've turned up for my shits, others I've bought in the store on the Park to remember my time a little more.

I'd like to thank everyone who has supported me and sent me messages this week. Those who've retweeted my blog links. I'm so lucky to be doing this and like I said, I don't want it to end. I get a bit teary just thinking about leaving for the last time. It's been a blast.

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