Monday was a beautiful day in downtown Vancouver. The birds were singing, the sun was shining and the temperatures were hovering in the mid-50s.
Still, there was a dark cloud hanging over the city, and all of Canada for that matter.
Those pesky Americans, the team that has flown under the radar for most of the tournament, had its coming out party in a 5-3 shocker over the mighty Canadians.
What is three blocks long, has 10,000 eyes and more dollars than sense?
It’s the line that snakes up, down and around Seymour Street, home of the Hudson Bay Company and the Olympic Super Store.
I managed to pull off what I’m calling the biggest trade this great city has seen since Brian Burke managed to get both of the Sedin twins in the 1999 NHL Draft.
Shaun White can have his Olympic gold medal. I made my own score of top-of-the-podium proportions yesterday.
I traded a USA Hockey Olympic pin for, get this, a Grateful Dead pin produced by the San Francisco Fire Department’s Haight Street division.
One quirky little fact of life for an Olympic journalist is that if it’s news, it’s usually news to those closest to the action.
Seriously, you’re so busy dealing with the here and now, you often have no clue of what’s going on just down the street. Whether it’s some bozo tossing a trashcan through a storefront window in protest or a whole lot of people having a great time at Robson Square, there are always two sides to every Olympic story.
It was hailed as the most anticipated hockey practice in the history of the sport.
The Pope could have been spotted partying at Robson Square and it would not have been the top story on many local broadcasts.
Sitting on a media bus every day going back and forth between the rink, you develop a certain connection with the people and places you pass along the way.
There's the old Asian man arranging the fruit on the stands outside the produce market. The sweaty people riding stationary bikes in the window of the fitness center one floor above a doughnut shop. The panhandler who patrols the same corner every day, rain or shine. They have all become a part of my Olympic experience.
“You can see a lot just by observing.”
It wouldn't be a bona fide sporting event if I didn't quote Yogi Berra at least once.
You can't swing a dead cat in Vancouver these days without hitting someone wearing a powder blue jacket. That's the official uniform for the 25,000 volunteers who seem to be everywhere in this city, performing a variety of tasks from the mundane to the critical.
The overwhelming majority are incredibly nice and completly competent. Then there are those who stood their posts at or around the BC Place, site of last night's Opening Ceremony.
I remember a scene from The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy stood at the precipice of the haunted woods reading a sign that read, "I'd turn back if I were you." Dorothy wasn't smart enough to heed the warning, and neither am I.
One of the most obvious differences between the Vancouver Games and the previous Olympics I've covered is just how painless it has been to pass through security at the various venues.