Wednesday, December 16, 2009

US $26,705.00 !!

Less than three weeks to go! Man is this coming fast.

This uniform thing’s become quite comical over this past month. As mentioned in an earlier post, I received a package from Purolator a few weeks ago which was supposedly my Official Torchbearer uniform. Being that this is a once in a lifetime experience, each little detail has grown in magnitude of its importance. It started with receiving word that I was pre-selected to carry the Torch. Then it was when I received official word that I had indeed been selected. Then it was Day One of the relay starting on the West Coast. And then, the uniform.

After unpacking the wrong uniform, I spoke with the lovely ladies at the torchbearer distribution centre who had apparently been contracted by VANOC to perform this role. Basically they have to look at the page I filled out with my track suit size, pop that into a box with my toque, a letter of congrats, and of course, the red mittens and ship it off to the mailing address on my form. Pretty straight forward if you ask me. I’m not generally one to bitch about people being a little incompetent, as long as they’re trying (okay, perhaps that’s a bit of a fib), but this whole uniform exchange has been ridiculous at times. I volunteered to work at the Canada House where the Canadian Athletes and mission staff were situated while I had some days off when I was working in Sydney and guess what part of my role was… Yup, I was one of the guys who got to take the form with the athlete’s name, size, etc etc and put together his/her Roots bag of Roots Team Canada gear. Like 20 or 30 pieces or something altogether. Not rocket surgery. Plus I got to meet quite a few of our Olympians so it was very cool. So I figure getting 4 pieces of clothing into the right box with the right address was doable. Anyway, people make mistakes, and I don’t run ‘til January so I figured it could be fixed quite easily. After playing phone tag with the folks at the distribution centre in Vancouver, they finally notified me that Colleen from Carman Manitoba (who is carrying the torch on Day 70 by the way, so make sure to follow!!) had received my package, as I did hers so we could just send them to eachother and problem solved. Instead of just giving me Colleen’s contact, and her mine, we were told to make this switch through the info provided to us via our trusty distributors who tried to get me to Purolate her package to a P.O. box, which Purolator doesn’t do. So I had to jump through hoops to get the distributor’s Canada Post account info, so I wouldn’t have to foot the bill, and finally mailed it away. Colleen on the other hand sent mine with apparently the wrong mailing address given to her by our friends in Vancouver, so Purolator called me yesterday to get the correct one. Got in touch with Colleen and we’re all set, so thanks to the great folks at the distribution centre for carrying on the spirit of the torch relay by bringing people together. Then the box sits on the Purolator truck for 4 days in Sudbury as I try to track the damned thing and finally gets delivered to my parents’ place, capped off by my mom browbeating the driver for slacking.

Crack the box open and pull out uniform number two and thank god it’s the right one! “CONGRATULATIONS JOEY!” read the correct letter this time which was a relief. It also instructed me on a few details about how if my uniform didn’t fit, then too bad (already went down that road!), and what I should eat on the day of my run (for 300-400 metres. Really? I’m thinkin’ Wheaties.) and on what footwear I should use. The Olympics are a bit prickly about their branding issues and don’t want visible branding on you sneakers. Had a great little experience with some branding issues while working at the 2000 Games that I’ll likely post about perhaps next week that involved the stringent “no advertising” rules during the Olympics within their venues, so I take it that this torch run is no different. I’ll have to put some hockey tape over the bright red swoosh on my running shoes so they don’t get confiscated. With the recent weather, it might be hockey tape over the Sorel logo on a pair of boots.
The letter also said that I’m running at approximately 8:29am on January 3rd. So now we have a time too!

Anyway, I quickly try on the pants and jacket and boy do I look fast! Wind AND water resistant fast. A quick lap around my parents living room which can now count as my training, and snap the pic of the ol’ red mitten thumbs up- as a teaser,- then back into the box since my parents’ house is a whirlwind of flour and chocolate as my mom is up to her eyeballs in Christmas baking. Last thing I need is a food stain down my jacket. I’ve gotta say that the uniform is pretty spiffy indeed. Everyone’s probably already seen the torch runners on t.v. looking fine in their white track suits, toque and red mitts. The mitts actually have some grip silkscreened onto the palm in the shape of a maple leaf which was keen of the designers, since those things normally don’t hold squat - as anyone who’s tried to play road hockey or been at the local playground rink with wool mitts can tell ya. Good quality stuff, and the mitts are sold out right across Canada with everyone wanting to get their hands in ‘em.

But what do you do with something like this after you’re done with your torchbearing duties? I figure I can put some of the uniform into a shadow box or something along with the torch, or I guess I could use it for golfing on windy days like I have with my Sydney gear – ugly light blue golf shirts with bright yellow collar and one bright yellow sleeve. A Beauty! The bright blue raincoat with one long yellow sleeve hangs in my closet. I could try to get back into running but as also mentioned before – not likely to happen, though I could carry around a burning branch or a blow torch and recreate the whole ordeal each time out.
I suppose it would make for a good on-ice shell, though a bit pompous to wear it to the local playground rink. Maybe I could just bring it on trips to foreign countries and fib and tell people I’m an athlete. It worked in Sydney. Draped in the maple leaf more often than not, when the typical “Canadian Drinking Team” reply got old (though holy shit- did we represent!), I could thank my roommate Eric for looking someone in the eye without so much as a grin, and introduce us as the Canadian Synchro Diving team.

Or I could put the whole thing onto ebay, like this guy from Edmonton is doing for only $28 grand CDN! I had heard about some torches and uniforms going up for auction so I thought I’d take a look. A few up there for a couple hundred bucks, but this one takes the cake. I’ve checked out the uniform. There’s no gold or precious metal stitched into it.

Is this guy for real? He hasn’t even touched the torch yet and he’s already asking basically for a new car as a trade? He’s not even throwing in the torch. Plus – it’ll have been worn! To cash in on something this memorable like it was nothing is a bit offside I think. I’m willing to guess that nobody’s offered anywhere near what he’s asking for, but if I find out somebody’s approaching that 28 grand mark, I’m jumping in to offer mine for 25. I’ll even throw in the Sydney rain coat to make a combo for 50 grand. I’m pretty sure that a down payment on a house would cheer me up quite quickly ;) Going once…


  1. Joey I think you should do it Kenyan style--bare foot. The hair on your feet will keep you warm. --Sami

  2. Effin' brilliant Sam. I'd expect nothing less. Never know, it may happen. Cheers.

  3. That is crazy!! that edmonton guy is a tool.

    I say put it a glass case with the torch . maybe a small digital frame with pictures of you doing the run.