If you can call any day as a Gamesmaker at the London 2012 Olympics normal, would today be that day?

So far I had watched the opening ceremony 3 times, walked the entire length of the park, eaten some meals, almost been asked to leave, arrived late, been to the warm up track, worked in some of the VIP areas, and of course worked in the media tribunes and the production trucks and the press areas too.

An early start, 07:45 my shift was scheduled to start, and this time I wanted to get there on time, or early, I did not want to repeat what had happened on my first day.
The trains were on time, the tubes were running, and it was another beautiful warm morning. I arrived at Stratford station at about 07:05, I would be in time today and I was happier than I had been on Friday, I can tell you.

My feet still hurt, boy did they hurt, and by the time I had passed through the park entry check in, through the Gamesmaker check in, I was hobbling. But I kept going, I wasn’t going to miss any of my shifts and certainly not because of dodgy feet.

As a Gamesmaker in a small group and a fairly specialised area, we had some privileges that the others wouldn’t get. I have already mentioned the access levels we had, the fact that we had a fridge in our office, and we could grab bottled water (rather than having to fill up our provided bottles from a water fountain), we had an office with wireless access, comfy seats and had been told that we would have TV feeds in there too (when the Olympics had started). This also meant that our bosses were a little bit more flexible with our uniforms and provided equipment. We had been provided with bags that we could use to store our items, however these were quite small, and when there were 6 or 7 all stored in the same area, it was difficult to work out who’s was who’s.
I had plucked up the courage to ask on the Monday whether I could bring my laptop bag in, and perhaps do some work during the quiet periods. The IT manager had agreed subject to the centre technology manager agreeing, which she did, and today was the first day I arrived with my own bag. A lot easier to carry around, I could get more stuff in it, and it hadn’t presented any problems at all, either on the journey or through the checkpoints.

I arrived at the IT office nice and early, at about 07:30, before many of the others had arrived. Not a problem though, I made myself comfy and waited for the others to turn up. Strangely I had arrived before most of the paid technical team too, and when they arrived (surprised at finding me there so early) it transpired that they weren’t scheduled to start until 08:00!

It was nice though. The paid IT team had a handful of breakfast vouchers, not many, but a few. We didn’t get breakfast vouchers, because we didn’t start until just after the voucher window closed. but today the paid crew had 4, and only 3 were scheduled to start this morning, so they offered me the spare one. Result I could get a bacon butty for breakfast too, yummy! See there were benefits from a nice early start!

Soon the other volunteers arrived, and we started to prepare for our morning shift. As with my last morning shift, our first priority was an early morning check of all the IT equipment around the stadium. We started by checking all the units in the indoor press areas (written journalists, press photographer areas), then off to the TV production suites. These were linked to the production vans, but rooms in portacabins at the back of the stadium, again with lots and lots of equipment. Some of the team went off to the warm up track to check the machines over there too.
Our first session took about 2 hours, and would take us up to our morning break, which was a nice affair, a few minutes to sit down and catch up with our fellow colleagues and gamesmakers. Tonight would be another rehearsal night, and some of the other gamesmakers had secured tickets to watch it, looking forwards to being part of the audience!
Our morning break finished, we arrived back in the IT office, ready for our next tasks. Back on the tribunes, a full morning check of all the machines, making sure they were all working, and had survived the night.
To explain, all of these PCs were outside, and although the upper tribunes were covered by the stadium canopy, the lower ones were open to the elements, from the heat of the day, through the cold of the night, and of course the occasional shower!
Our role was to remove the plastic sheeting covering the PCs, and starting them all up to check that they fired up, and accessed the central systems. This involved removing all the sheeting, powering up each machine in the row, then walking back to the row start to check that it would show the correct screens, and that the touch elements worked ok. Sounds easy, and it was, however it was long, each row section had 10 machines, across 3 or 4 sections, so 30-40 machines per row. 10 rows at the lowest section, and then there was the upper section too and that was just the lower tribunes. Also on the lower tribunes all the PCs were under the desk at floor level, so we had to move all the chairs, look under the desk, find the unit (which would be facing to the side) switch it on, then switch on the screen, and then move to the next one.
But it was a beautiful sunny day, so we enjoyed being out on the lower tribunes, armed with our bottles of water, and our paper and pens, and got to work.
Once we had finished with the lower tribunes, it was time to complete the upper tribune check. This was a lot easier. Because the upper tribunes were covered by the stadium canopy, they weren’t covered by plastic tarpaulins, and also the desktops were positioned on the desks, not under them. This role was a lot quicker! The view from here was good too, we got to see the stadium ready for the opening ceremony, lots of people working on the set, getting it ready, checking the lighting, and the sound of course. We heard the soundtrack all through the day, and we loved it.

By the time we had finished, it was lunchtime. We made our way from the IT office, towards the back of the stadium where the canteen/restaurant area was situated. We were still relatively early in our deployment, so the number of canteen users was still quite light, although we could see that more people were beginning to eat there now.

Lunch finished, and back in the IT office, we received our next task. This time we were back to the store room. We had another delivery and we needed to liaise with the delivery team, our management team and the stores teams. 10 more pallets of items, paper, toner cartridges and general supplies. This would take us most of the afternoon to sort out as each day when we went home the store pixies would come out, and move all the stuff that we had neatly stored!

Today was hot too, in our Gamesmaker uniforms in about 32c heat, nice and light, and handily they had provided us with snazzy hats for when we were outside. But we were hot ,the store room was not air conditioned, and it was nice when we finished for the day and made our way back to the air conditioning of the IT office. The evening shift had already arrived and we handed over to them, who were all bright eyed and bushy tailed, and looking forward to the evening events.

I was asked if I wanted to stay and watch the evening ceremony, which I thought was a really nice touch. However I declined, I had seen the ceremony 3 times now, and was shattered. I also needed to be up early for tomorrows 07:45 am start too, so with regret I declined the offer. They were also looking for flag bearers to join in with the ceremony, but again I declined, my feet really hurt and I wanted a rest!

Time to go, i packed up and left the office, said goodnight to the evening team and made my way.

And then I turned back, I had left my hat behind. I got back to the office and searched high and low, but couldn’t find it. Not to worry, perhaps one of the others had found it, or taken it home by mistake. I will check with them tomorrow.
Bit miffed though, day 4 of my Olympic journey and I had already lost my hat.

I hobbled my way home.
Bugger.

To be continued.

Advertisements