No Time For 'Haters'

With so much time spent waiting around for media buses to arrive or depart, the smart journalists use the down time to transcribe notes, write stories, think up interview questions or catch up on sleep that is always in short supply.

Sometimes it's even good to strike up a conversation with someone from another country.

Yesterday, another scheduling snafu with the buses left me with an hour to wait outside the bus stop outside the UBC Thunderbird Arena, where the U.S. Women's Team had just finished practicing.

Standing outside on a warm and sunny winter day with the University of British Columbia baseball team -- that's right, baseball team -- practicing on an adjacent field, I struck up a conversation with a couple of the transportation "supervisors."

That's one thing you notice around here is how everyone associated with the Olympic organizing committee has some sort of official title. Isn't anybody just a regular schmuck who does all the work? That's what I'd want my credential to read -- Official Olympic Schmuck. I definitely have the qualifications for the job.

Before long the line grew and more people joined in on the conversation. That's a great thing about the Olympics -- no conversation seems off limits and the more people who can join in, the better. We had a journalist from Cuba, a technician from Barcelona and a transportation supervisor from Arkansas, who claimed to be good friends with Bill Clinton, all talking about the lack of Olympic spirit in and around Vancouver.

It was interesting to get the locals' take on how the Games are perceived in and around Vancouver. There seems to be an increasing number of people opposed to the Games coming to Vancouver. "The haters" is what the locals call them.

It's hard to know how many of these "haters" there are, but as is usually the case, the vocal minority always seem to be greater in number just because they always seem to find a platform to express their views. And of course, if there are detractors, journalists will surely find them. If there's one thing a journalist on the Olympic beat can sniff out faster than free food, it's controversy.

Still, with cost overruns reaching into the billions, sky-high ticket prices and huge crowds packed in at free events around town, it's hard to totally blame the "haters." But as these locals said, the Olympics are upon us. It's time to shut up and revel in the moment.

My advice to "the haters" is simple. Enjoy the next 17 days. There is nothing in the world quite like the Olympics, especially when they're in your backyard. Besides, you've already paid for the party. You might as well enjoy yourself now, before the bill arrives.

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