I hit the sack early last night so I can leave on time for my 6:30am shift at the Richmond Olympic Oval (ROO) today. I picked up Mickey Dee’s for breakfast and had a nice, quiet walk towards my destination. To my surprise, I made it there within 30 mintues.
After a bit of first-day confusion I managed to hook up with my team leaders and the 2 gentlemen I worked with this morning. B is a middle aged easterner who lives close to the Quebec – Vermont border. A talkative bilingual, he was a pleasant person to chat with. G, a middle aged local I believe, was a bit grumpy this morning but seemed like a nice fellow. I hope to chat with him later on. My team leader, IN, is apparently a Christian who has traveled to Africa and Thailand doing short term missions and relief work. Funny that he looks nothing like what I’ve envisioned him to be. As for the other team leader, Shorty Yank, she’s a young lady who has worked for the Sydney, Salt Lake and Athens games. B jokingly asked if she also worked at Lake Placid.
Every time I report for a shift, I go through a security check and sign-in to get my meal voucher and my shift card stamped. I then proceed to a briefing and pick up my radio and vest before I go to my station.
My role as a load zone attendant is to track the number of media & athletes buses that stops at the ROO as well as directing passenger traffic on and off the buses. Since 2 of the 3 zones are outside, I basically spend my time in the elements. Glamorous job it is not but I would gladly accept it to be part of the Olympic experience. Luckily it didn’t really rain this morning but it was a bit windy and cold at times.
Training sessions just started at the ROO yesterday hence there were very few media types coming in. During my uneventful shift, there was only 1 person who came in so most of my time was spent chatting with the bus drivers who kept coming back with empty buses. This is actually a good thing since I get to work out a system in preparation for the rush next week when the competition starts.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served everyday and volunteers get, depending on their shift hours, 1 or 2 meals per shift. Today I had a bowl of lentil soup, a southwest roast beef sandwich, a juice and a fruit. Coffee, tea and granola bars are bottomless.
While eating my meal in the lunch hall I couldn’t help but notice the large police contingent at the venue. You have RCMP from all across the country along with some regional police such as the OPP (Ontario Provincial Police). Not sure if catering brought enough donuts for everyone…….
Overall, it was a day of meet and greet as I also chatted with various volunteers who passed by my station. Here’s hoping for relatively dry and stable weather moving forward. And if things work out, we might even get a chance to watch some of the speed skating training sessions inside.