The Catholic Leader’s Youth Reporter ANNE HODGKINSON (pictured) writes about her special gig in the opening ceremony at the Sydney Olympic Games.
THE Jubilee Year is a time for journeys and pilgrimages and it is also a valuable opportunity to learn more about ourselves and in which direction our lives should be heading.
This week I’ll be leaving for Sydney to perform as part of the 2000 Olympic Marching Band in the opening ceremony for the Games.
Most people see it as an exciting trip, but for me, it’s also the end of a long, hard journey that started more than two years ago.
A lot of people exclaim, “Oh you lucky thing”, when I tell them I’m playing at the Olympics and I smile and shrug and usually say, “It’s nothing much”.
But this is not entirely true.
The opening ceremony of the 2000 Games is being hailed as the “greatest show on earth”, and will be watched by billions of people on our planet.
This makes me a little nervous and now that the time is drawing near, butterflies are starting to flutter in my stomach whenever the Olympic countdown is mentioned.
If you are expecting me to give details of the ceremony and our music, I must apologise because I, along with the 2000 other members of the marching band, have signed confidentiality agreements that strictly limit this information.
There is also an element of surprise for all the athletes who will remember the Olympic opening ceremony as a career highlight and also for the billions of people watching Sydney from around the world.
In addition, I don’t want to diminish the years of hard work that we, our instructors and organisers, have put into this once-in-a-lifetime performance.
In our last stage of rehearsals, I look around at my fellow band members and smile, because everywhere I look, I see focus.
It’s something you don’t often see these days, with increased apathy among many in our community.
It is a testament to these young people when you see them standing in perfect lines, not moving a muscle, their eyes fixed on the horizon.
No one wipes sweat from a brow or chases a persistent fly. The discipline is remarkable.
They do push-ups for fun because they know, in the end, it will teach them endurance, humility and discipline.
They also have the strength of character to be silent when they may prefer to argue and will accept criticism.
Unfortunately, as we take to the field on September 15, hundreds of marching instructors, music teachers and generous parents and friends will have to be content to stand outside the stadium.
They, like many other silent achievers, have not managed to acquire seats for the performance.
My final wish is that when we enter the stadium, the Australian public will acknowledge the back-breaking work, lack of financial support, the aching muscles, sore, swollen lips and the tremendous sense of friendship we encountered on our journey towards our moment in history.
The Catholic Leader is an Australian award-winning Catholic newspaper that has been published by the Archdiocese of Brisbane since 1929. Our journalism seeks to provide a full, accurate and balanced Catholic perspective of local, national and international news while upholding the dignity of the human person.
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