Olympic Opening Night

The town of Mesa had a pre-Olympic Opening Night party last Friday evening. Mesa's sister city is Burnaby, a city in British Columbia, Canada, located immediately to the east of Vancouver.

We were invited by our friends, Bob and Judy, from Canada. You remember that Bob is an ex-RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police). The town of Mesa asked him to be present at the ceremonies, and advertised him as a "Real Mountie". Too funny!

The ceremony was held on the upper deck at Hohokam Field, where the Chicago Cubs have their spring training.

It's a beautiful ball park with mountain ranges as a backdrop.

This is Red Mountain.

This is looking out at left field. I believe the mountain range is called the McDowell's. If I am wrong,someone please correct me.

Here's a shot of home base.

Go Cubbies!

The party began with a welcome from the City of Mesa.

Then we watched a video from Mayor Derek Corrigan of Burnaby, B.C.

The flags were presented. Here are the Mounties - (yes, there were TWO REAL mounties there!)

Our friend, Bob, a.k.a. "Real Mountie"

Then an official Torchbearer named Jack.

I had a chance to speak to Jack later on in the evening.

"How did you get the chance to be a torchbearer?"

"I applied on line. They were looking for 'filler-ins' between towns. Usually through the towns they used dignitaries to carry the torch, but they needed people between the towns," Jack replied.

"How far did you actually walk?"

Jack laughed. "Only 1300 feet! They didn't think us old people could walk very far!"

"Do you get to keep the torch?" I asked.

"Yep, for $350! Otherwise I'd have to turn it back in. But this was a chance in a lifetime for me to carry the torch and I was happy to pay the money. But after the flame is extinguished, they remove the fuel tank inside and cut the wick so the torch won't be lit again to maintain the integrity of the torch and that it was only used at the Olympics. I got to keep this uniform for free, though."

His outfit, as you can see, consisted of running pants, jacket, hat, and those hard-to-find-but-everyone-wants red mittens. They originally sold for $10 in Vancouver for the Olympics. Now they are priced at a thousand bucks on EBAY!

Here is what they look like.

And of course I really, really wanted a pair.

There were three pairs available in a raffle, along with other prizes.

Of course, we didn't win a stinking one.

One old bat nice old lady bought 7 tickets for $5. You want to know how many were WINNING TICKETS? FOUR. What the hell are the odds of THAT happening. Either they didn't stir the pot with the tickets or that lady's got "lady luck" written all over her. Course if it was tattooed on her when she was 21 and now she's 75, it probably looks like "ady uck" or something. And yeah, she won a pair of those damn mittens. Did I want to wait for her in the parking lot and jump her for them? Yes, yes I did. I just smiled, because you all know, I am a LOSER. (WE bought 14 tickets, but who's counting?)

Then we watched some of the opening ceremonies on the big screen.

After awhile we decided to go home and watch the rest of the ceremonies indoors as it was starting to get real cool outside. It was a fun night, even if I didn't win a damn thing!
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