The Commonwealth Games are odd. If you’re from a participating country, you know it’s happening, and if you’re not, well, what the hell is going on? I’m from Ireland. We’re not in the Commonwealth so you can imagine how much I heard about the Games growing up – yep, virtually nothing. When I moved to Glasgow, the city had just been chosen as the host of the 2014 Games which meant very little, really. Bit by bit, however, things have been gearing up, the Commonwealth Games have been making themselves known to me, and now I work in a city that is consumed by them.
A city in the run up to a major sporting tournament is a strange, strange thing. There’s the bunting for one – it’s everywhere. EVERYWHERE! Buildings have been painted and generally gussied up, (grammatically questionable) slogans have been coined and plastered pretty much anywhere a slogan can be plastered, and businesses have been told to ‘put their Games face on’ whilst simultaneously being told that they’re not allowed to use the Commonwealth Games logo or the phrase ‘Glasgow 2014′. There’s investment and new shiny things to be enjoyed. There’s displacement of local communities and bitterness that will not be quickly forgotten.
The thing that is most unsettling for me personally is the waiting. Glasgow has been preparing for these Games for years and now they’re almost here. The plans are in place, there’s no going back, and all we can do is wait. Will people come? Will the weather co-operate? Will the denizens of Glasgow go with the flow or kill all the tourists where they stand? Tomorrow, one way or another, we’ll start to find out.