I took part in the second of the rehearsals for the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games last night. I won’t spill any of the surprises, but I can say that it was an astonishing experience, and one I am unlikely to have again.
My role was to stand in for my team, Mozambique, as I will be showing them where to go on their way to the Real Thing on Wednesday. I had to follow a specified route around and out of the village, walking ‘like an athlete’, which is something of a slow roll, and then wait in the right place in the procession for entry into the stadium.
And then, flag in hand, I did the walk around ‘the field of play’ inside Celtic Park. They announced the country, the crowd cheered and my face appeared on the big screen. Bathed in the stadium lights I managed to keep the flag flying properly, no wrapping itself around the pole. And just as I felt that I was really getting into the swing of it, a guy came and took the flag away and it was time for me to sit down. Even though Mozambique is only my country for the duration of the Games, and it was only a rehearsal, it made me curiously proud to carry the flag for them.
It’s a cliché to say it, but that’s because it’s true, but there were a massive number of people all giving it a great deal of enthusiasm and energy, contributing to the event. I may not see much of the Ceremony of Wednesday as it happens, as I will be waiting outside Celtic Park, but now, after that experience, I have some understanding of how much fun it will be for the athletes and all the other people who were dancing their arms off last night.