I was running late.

I had prepared overnight, booked my train tickets, packed my bag, made sure I had everything. But I was still running late, and panicking a bit too. I was beginning to forget how exited I was and it was instead replaced by anxiety and worry.
And I didn’t want to be late, I was working/volunteering for the Venue IT manager, and he had been very clear that we shouldn’t be late, in fact we needed to check in 20 minutes earlier than we were scheduled to make sure we were at our posts on time.

It was Friday July 20th 2012, one week before the Opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic games in London, and a full 5 days before the first competition (the football) started. It was my first of 15 shifts as a Gamesmaker.

I had hardly slept on Thursday night/Friday morning, must have woken up quite a few times, excited and nervous before my first shift start at 07:45 in the Olympic stadium. I still didn’t really know what to expect.

All my uniform was washed and ready as I got up and dressed that morning. The uniform felt good and light and I made sure I had all the items I needed, and made my way to the station, well sort of jogged, ran, walked and wheezed to the station. It was so early when I got there @ 05:30 that the gates were open, so I raced in, confident that I was in time for the train…….

Well I was. Just a shame that the train wasn’t. Panic mode kicked in, no idea when the next train would arrive as there was a bit of a problem on the line. Time to think, what to do, wait or get a bus to a station further down the line. 2nd option seemed a good idea, so that’s what I took.

I got to the second station and waited patiently for a train. To be fair it did turn up on time, but was a later train than I had planned for. A quick mental calculation suggested I wouldn’t get to the Olympic park gates until at least 07:30, which with a 15 min walk and a who knows how long check in time at the gates and our Gamesmaker check-in (remember we had our own check-in too) would mean I could not get there for 07:45.

I started to fret…..

As far as I could make out, I was the only Gamesmaker on the train. Not completely unexpected as I was starting well before the Olympics were to start. I got a few looks and smiles, but I wasn’t in the mood for smiling, I was late for my first shift, and there was nothing I could do.

I arrived at London Bridge, and jogged my way to the underground. I needed the Jubilee line, which although I frequent London often (average 2-3 times a week) is a line which I very rarely use and obviously don’t know the protocol here.
Let me explain, for those who don’t know, on the vast majority of tube lines you all queue up along the platform, and move towards the nearest tube door, when the tube arrives. The Jubilee line at London Bridge however is different, it has doors on the platform, and that was where I made my mistake.
They queue at these doors on the Jubilee line, which I hadn’t picked up on, partly because I was in a rush, and partly because I didn’t normally use the Jubilee line from London Bridge. I found out that they queued, when an obviously disgruntled man in a suit loudly informed me that “there’s a queue here mate, don’t push in” added to a strong glare. Now to be clear, I wasn’t pushing in, I was standing about 5 feet to the right hand side of the doors, but he was right, there was a queue and I wasn’t in it. So I patiently waited for all in the queue to file into the tube, and waited for any others to come along and let them in too. Finally as the doors were about to close I joined the tube, still being glared at.

2 stops later he got off, I also got off too to let him out, still being glared at, then got back on the tube to continue my journey.

Not a good start so far, and I was still running late. I needed to stay on the tube all the way to the end at Stratford, another 6 or so stops :-s.

Still hardly any other Gamesmakers on the tube though, which was a bit surprising. I stuck out like a sore thumb, but I didn’t mind, I was still running late.
I got to Stratford station at about 07:30, and lept of the tube like a Gazelle (well in my mind I did anyway), and jogged my way through the station to the main entrance. It was relatively quiet, but then it was still 07:30 so relatively early. I started to see a few more Gamesmakers about, but not many.

I jogged my way to the main gates. The park was not yet open, so only those with accreditation were permitted to enter the park, and today was the first day that the Army were helping out. The Army personnel were very efficient and really really nice and helpful, and by 07:40 I was on my way into the park. I had 5 minutes…

It was at least a 15 minute walk from the main entrance to the Gamesmaker check in, my sums suggested that I would be at least 10 minutes late, on my first day, would I get a day two or would I be fired for being late!

I must have looked a sorry state as I arrived at the Gamesmaker check in. I had jogged and wheezed my way past the swimming arena and the Orbit, through the bridge check in, and arrived at the Gamesmaker check in at about 07:45, arrrrrrrghhhhhh. How long would it take me to check in, I had been warned that it could be ages, with lots of Gamesmakers queuing to check in :-(. I would be very late.


The Gamesmaker check-in was empty. No other Gamesmakers there, save for those manning the check in desks. They were all smiling and waiting patiently, I walked up to a free desk, scanned my accreditation and received my meal vouchers, lunch and evening meal. That was quick.

Desperately trying to remember my way to the technology office/HQ, I jogged underneath the stadium, across roads, and through corridors.

It was 07:55 when I arrived at the office, I was 10 minutes late.