Dear Pan Am Games – Toronto 2015;
We owe you an apology.
We spoke, not from experience, but from media fueled cynicism. We whined loudly about your costs, your traffic congestion, your endless construction. We whispered to eager listeners that you were not the Olympics. We predicted gleefully that nobody would care.
We suggested your participating athletes were second-rate and not world class. We said you were important enough for Winnipeg, but not close to being on the prestige level we demand in Toronto. We said the lack of visitors was proof of your irrelevance.
We smirked when your CEO was fired over an alleged 91¢ expense claim. We gasped when we heard you were ripping up the Queen’s Quay immediately after the event. We howled patriotic injustice when you announced Kayne would headline the closing ceremonies.
We didn’t know that Cirque would do an amazing job of the Opening Ceremonies.
We never imagined 20,000 rabid fans watching women’s rugby. Let alone that our Canadian team would annihilate the USA.
We can’t be held responsible for the fact that our co-workers would rave about the free concerts at Panamania.
We didn’t expect our friend’s son to be so inspired at the diving competition, that he is begging his parents to enroll him in lessons.
We had never heard of the international rules of baseball creating a Gold Medal moment atmosphere of a World Series.
We didn’t know Rosie MacLennan was the best trampolinist in the world and not willing to let anything stop her from proving it again.
We couldn’t anticipate the magic of the nightly medal ceremonies at Canada House.
We are surprised that research is showing how much businesses are benefiting.
We couldn’t imagine the beauty of the velodrome, the soccer stadium, or the world class pools.
We didn’t understand why 23,000 of our neighbours volunteered their time to help out.
We really can’t be blamed. We don’t get out much. We don’t actually exercise. We still watch cable TV. We almost always order delivery food. We do sometimes take the car three blocks to a drivethrough. We really like driving to the mall. We don’t watch sports. We never wander to the neighbourhood park to see kids play. We have never seen high performance athletes in person. We didn’t know that handball was so challenging. We don’t believe in events being a part of our city’s culture. We don’t believe in the power of sports. We have never volunteered. We have never coached. We have never referred. We have never cheered.
We really can’t be blamed. We weren’t told that the Pan Am Games would be so amazing. We always believe what we are told.
The Skeptics of Greater Toronto