I think, in this household anyway, we became Olympic skeptics during all the hype leading up to the games. And I don't think we were alone, especially as the financial meltdown of the last year focused people's minds on the vast expense that BC will probably be paying for many years to come.
We felt growing feelings of dread as the games got off to such a rocky start, with tragedy on the luge, embarrassing technical difficulties at the opening ceremony, and rain washing away the start of competition at Cypress.
But things improved, and the mood of the Olympics started to shine through. And the mood gripped a nation.
Of course, we weren't in Vancouver itself, and we had already decided not to brave travel and crowds. Not with children in tow. But we know many people who went, some for a day or two, some to volunteer, some who would be part of the opening or closing ceremonies, some who simply went for the entertainment in Vancouver itself. It was hard not to feel a part of it.
We chewed fingernails to the quick as the women's curling team just missed gold, then cheered the men on to victory. Of course the hockey result was icing on the cake, but I don't think any result would have lessened the genuine sadness as the games came to a close. Well done VANOC for showing the world that Canadians can (and do, regularly) laugh at themselves, even turning erectile malfunction into a golden entertainment opportunity.
There has been some criticism of the "Own the podium" slogan. Proud? Arrogant? Maybe that's how it came across in some corners of the world, but, having lived and worked here now for five years, I beg to differ. And I think most Canadians would be bemused by suggestions of arrogance.
I see it as nothing more sinister than a rallying call to excel, to be inspired, to dare to show passion in a world that seems to decry any aspiration to rise above the lowest common denominator.
And to take pride. Yes. Not nationalistic hubris, not "I'm great, you suck," but honest and healthy pride in a job well done.
And what's wrong with that, eh?