I was feeling a bit low today realising that I had no more tickets for the Paralympics, so late afternoon I went online and managed to get a day pass for Friday. I shan’t be able to go there until afternoon, but I am hoping to get into things I haven’t seen so far and enjoy the atmosphere one last time.
I have heard some stuff said about Paralympians that has made me pause. You can’t watch these people and doubt that they are first class athletes. This isn’t some lesser hobbyist event.
I am able-bodied. I am not an athlete. Put me in a race or contest with anyone of these Paralympians and I would lose.
We were walking about yesterday, bumping into people we knew, chatting, shocked at the queues for the water fountains (there were none on Thursday), when there was a huge roar from the Aquatics Centre. Everyone looked at each other and started smiling. We knew Ellie Simmonds had just got gold. We celebrated with a beer £4.30 the bottle, so for a frugal person like me with boat bills to pay quite a statement.
We needed to get into the Arena. I fell in love with the Arena at the Opening Ceremony and when I saw it on Thursday inside the Park my heart beat a little faster.
Even grey skies couldn’t diminish my love. Actually, my heart started beating faster on the way to the Park. You know the expression about your heart swelling with pride? Well, I know what it means now.
I took various photos of it in daylight ad after night had fallen.
I photographed it with the Orbit.
But it wasn’t until last night that I got inside. When we were leaving, I asked my friend what he had enjoyed most about the day. He thought for a moment, and then said, “The moment when we walked up into the arena.” I agree with him. We stood and stared. And smiled. And gawped. And in my case, photographed.
Our seats were amazing. The cheapest in the house, but with a perfect view of the finishing line and just to the left of the cauldron.
The house was packed.
The flags flew.
The hours passed and night fell.
People with trains to catch began to leave. It was a shock to suddenly see more seats empty when the floodlights came on.
When we left, I peeked through entrance 122 again and took one last photo of the cauldron.
I noticed there were still some tix available for the closing ceremony. I didn’t dare look at the price, but maybe it would be worth it. As people keep saying, this is a once in a lifetime experience…