There are times when I'm pleased to be wrong. I've been one of the Olympic-skeptics. I still think we can't afford it and for some reason I can't even explain to myself I'm only vaguely interested in the sports themselves, unlike previous Olympics that I've followed closely, probably just a personal phase. However, I was really worried that we were going to make fools of ourselves over the Opening Ceremony.
I'd actually paid attention to the reports in the papers, on television and word of mouth! When will I ever learn? An idyllic 'green and pleasant land' including fluffy clouds and rain? A layout of fields with idyllic scenes? What were they thinking of? Hah, what was I thinking of? I actually made up my mind before I'd even seen it!
Having seen it, I loved it, perhaps all the more for having expected the worst. Yes, it was chaotic, sometimes confusing, occasionally irritating but then so are we. It was also funny, sometimes moving, always entertaining. When we Olympic-skeptics discussed it between us before the event we were disgusted to think we would be presenting a sugar-sweet, self-absorbed version of the UK to the world. We believed we should not be presenting ourselves at all, that we should be showcasing the ideals of the Olympics. We needn't have worried.
Yes, it was about us but it was us not taking ourselves seriously. The ideals of the Olympics were upheld. I loved the symbolism of the 'petals' coming together to make up the cauldron as the various countries were coming together to compete. I hear there was some dissent abroad about the handing off of the lighting of the cauldron to young athletes. I thought that was great, celebrating the established sporting heroes yet showing it's not just about individuals' achievements but about sporting continuity and the future.
But the thing I enjoyed most? The thing I thought was so great about this ceremony? It was that it was fun and allowed the competitors to relax and enjoy the experience. Did you notice their faces? The absolute joy, the excitement, the sheer pride in representing their countries.