Amongst all the activities that go on during the Olympics and the Paralympics – or any major sporting events for that matter – there is the popular sub-culture of pin trading. I knew a little bit about it before these games but didn’t “get in on it” until very late. In some ways it would have been cool if I had pursued it earlier.
Event organizers, media outlets, sponsors and various sporting federations usually produce pins prior to any major events. Through people interactions, these pins are usually passed on as gifts. An example would be drivers receiving pins from passengers as tokens of appreciation. Instead of storing them in pockets, people would wear the pins on their accreditation lanyard to “show off” the collection. Through time, excess inventory or personal preference will see some of the pins being traded amongst the collectors.
And then you have the hard core collectors who will even travel around the world to events just to pin trade with others. I’ve seen so many of them roaming around town and at pin trading centers such as the Coca Cola one at the Olympic/Paralympic Superstore downtown or at the airport. Some of the collections on display were quite impressive, not to mention the amount of time it took to amass them.
Perhaps it was my luck – or lack thereof – but almost all the drivers and media types I’ve met during these Winter Games have very little to trade or give. So you can imagine my excitement when I received 3 in one instant. Slowly, I’ve been able to build up a small collection for myself.
When the Paralympics started, I had hoped for some opportunities to acquire and to trade. I managed to pick up a few and traded with a couple of fellow blue jacket volunteers. And through chance I met the president of one of the largest pin club in Western Canada. We chatted for a bit while lining up for – of all things – an Olympic merchandise warehouse sale and he gave me some pointers on pin trading which was quite valuable.
On the last day of the Paralympics I made my way to the Olympic/Paralympic Superstore to complete a trade I had arranged the day before. The pin trading area was packed with people – a lot of first-timers – engaged in negotiations. It seems a number of them have discovered the fun of pin trading and were there to experience it. Numerous kids came up to me wanting to trade and it was fun interacting with them and finding out what they were interested in. The festive atmosphere in the pin trading centre is likely one of the last memories I’ll take away.
So…….would you like to trade some pins?
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