They think it's all over? It is now!

15 Apr 2018 5:30 PMMike Bennett
They think it's all over? It is now!

As my personal Commonwealth Games adventure has now ended, I thought it would be a good idea to look back and reflect on the most unusual but mostly rewarding 11 days of my laughingly called 'adult life'.

I'm sure I was one of the most fortunate volunteers in the entire games shapers workforce as I actually had a role I was suited for. I guess 35 years plus working in radio and TV helps when it comes to picking up short interview clips or flash quotes as they like to call them. Yep, I was in the right place for sure but the same can't be said for everyone who was part of the press operations team. I met one young girl who only applied because "her mum made her do it" and she was at Uni studying to be a midwife.

To be honest, I didn't see to many heavily pregnant boxers during my time at Oxenford studios (although I did see some fairly swollen faces on occasions!) so would the lass not have been more comfortable in guest relations? 

"Help, is there a midwife in the house" is not a phrase you'll often hear in a media centre but that's just one example.

Another chap (shall we say mature gentleman?) struggled to get on and off the bus let alone run up and down the stairs yet his role was in the mixed zone where a certain amount of agility is required.

It did make me question the recruitment process and allocation of roles. A good friend and highly experienced journalist found herself acting as a glorified bouncer yet would have been the ideal mentor for of few of Carrara kids who didn't quite grasp the fact that they were meant to grab quotes from more than just the Australian athletes?

I've had a chance to reflect on our on line training too and although I can now say "Jingaree" in 15 different languages I didn't actually have the opportunity to use those skills once. The best practical training I had was from our esteemed team leader Tim who took time out to run though what was required in the actual venue and there was not one history lesson required!

The current Mrs Bennett enjoyed meeting and chatting to some of the athletes from the world of badminton, weightlifting and wrestling. She even received a personal message from one of the medal winners thanking her for her help after winning a medal. Just to clarify, the athlete won the medal not Mrs B although she has promised to show me some of the wrestling moves on my next birthday!

Disappointments? A few but the good times outweigh them 10 times over. I thought we should have been involved in the closing ceremony but that wasn't to be.

I would have liked to have seen a few other events but our accreditation only gave us access to our particular venue and I would really have liked to have rammed a couple of clipboards where the sun doesn't shine ( on their owners of course!) but on the first Monday after the games, those clipboards will be surgically removed and the power will be gone. . . . just saying!

A few people decided to sell their official uniforms on eBay and Gumtree and that caused quite a reaction. I guess it's up to them but I would rather keep one in a frame and use the others for gardening in. Let's face it, I wouldn't want to wear them in public again!

Posting pictures of the final shift gift was selfish and wrong but, as I've learned over the past 11 days, these events bring out the very best and worst in people.

Highlights for me? Meeting Jeff Horn, posing for our team picture in the boxing ring and chatting to the living legend from India Mery Kom who I interviewed twice and met again after she had picked up the gold medal.

A humble and polite lady with an amazing story. . .yet capable of knocking anyone's head clean off their shoulders!

We also had a really brilliant team and I have met some really great people (and a few crazy ones as well) so the whole experience has been very worthwhile and rewarding.

What did I learn? People volunteer for many different reasons. Some do it because they see it as a challenge, some don't want to miss out, some are looking for networking opportunities and then there are people like me who did it because they just wanted to be part of something bigger.

Mission accomplished and I'm grateful to have been part of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth games family.

Now - about those clip boards. . . . .