Olympic experience can be expensive – or not

My task this past weekend reminded me I came close to spending far too much money on the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

My task this past weekend reminded me I came close to spending far too much money on the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

The games nearly cost me thousands of dollars. In the end, they will only have cost me 10 bucks.

I was cleaning up, organizing, dejunking my office at home all weekend. I tend to keep piles of stuff, like all receipts, certain flyers if I’m planning to purchase something, old magazines because I haven’t read every word in them yet, and so on.

It was getting increasingly difficult to find my keyboard, and there were to-be-filed file folders everywhere.

After two solid days of working the shredder so hard it may never recover, I figure I have at least five more years before I have to do that again.

Among the things I shredded was my “Vancouver 2010” file.

For some time we had discussed attending the Vancouver Olympics. With family in Vancouver, accommodation wasn’t going to be a problem. And with the Olympics being so close to home, it seemed like a good idea.

So when the first phase lottery draw for tickets to the Vancouver events began, in October 2008, so too did the arduous and tedious process of going online, picking various events, studying schedules and ticket prices and various packages, and then determining first choice, second choice in case you didn’t get your first choice, etc.

It was complicated and time-consuming, and there were no guarantees the tickets we really wanted would be available, since it was a lottery-based process — an attempt by Olympic officials to be fair. If you “won” the lottery, you got to purchase the tickets offered.

After having spent hours on the process, it was finally time to click on “submit order,” not knowing what we would get for tickets, but knowing that it could cost close to $6,000 when flight travel costs for two people and everything else was included.

But after one final consult, “Do we really want to do this?” – saner heads prevailed.

The expense, the fact we could end up with third-rate tickets at events we weren’t even interested in, and the guaranteed hassle of trying to get around Vancouver in a timely fashion from event to event, put an end to the idea.

I may regret it. When one considers such things as the near $1-billion cost of security at the games, it will likely be a long time before the Olympics come to Canada again.

Fortunately though, there is a much cheaper way to participate in the Vancouver Olympics.

For free, we’ll all be able to catch a glimpse of the Olympic Torch when it comes through Red Deer on Jan. 15.

As well, the public can participate in the Red Mitten campaign. Net proceeds from the sale of the mittens will help support Canadian Olympians.

The red mittens have become a very hot item. While they are only $10 at designated outlets, I see them being offered on the Internet at online auction sites for as much as $19.99.

I was fortunate and quick enough to find and buy several pair of the mittens in Red Deer at one of the designated outlets.

Owning a pair of the mittens will be the extent of my Olympic experience — and for some special people I know, maybe a Christmas experience as well.

Mary-Ann Barr is Advocate assistant city editor. She can be reached by email at barr@bprda.wpengine.com or by phone at 403-314-4332.

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