2009 Roar Of The Rings: Volunteer Pep Rally #2

I'll be volunteering for the upcoming Olympic curling trials in December, an event dubbed the "Roar of the Rings". Last night was the second volunteer rally - so catch up first by reading about the first here.
I arrived at Northlands Agricom (free parking, yay!) just in time to walk across a dusty construction site. They are renovating the Agricom (like a big conference centre with different halls), and while what they've done looks nice, the site is still very much under construction. And the Roar starts in 18 days. Worried much? The inside of the new part looks really nice though, no more yellow railings, no more pebbled concrete - now there is sleek grey and white concrete, windows and lighting aplenty, and tons of cafeteria type seating. I wonder if they are planning on renovating the old part too? Not in 18 days I'm sure.

Anyways, I signed in, and then lined up to get my uniform. I was handed a black cloth shopping bag full of stuff - and of course everything has the Roar logo (above) on it. My uniform consists of a black pullover (modelled below by K-Mart, which is quite nice, I'm going to wear it for curling after), a red jacket (which is so not my colour, and a bit big, but if I'd gotten the smaller size I wouldn't have been able move my shoulders to sweep, on the occasion I do wear it to curling after) and a huge photo ID badge on a lanyard. Also in the bag were two Roar pins (one that says 'Volunteer', and a big fancy gold one) and the volunteer handbook.

From the uniform station, I walked into Hall F, where they had set up a ton of dinner tables in front of a small stage. I was a bit bewildered, not sure where to sit because I didn't know anyone.

Right away I saw two very important people. I first spotted Jackie Rae, a local radio DJ, who is the self professed 'Lord of the Rings' (she's very nice and quite hilarious).


And then I saw Jennifer Jones (left), who is probably Canada's most famous female curler at the moment. She was walking around, meeting volunteers and generally being friendly and genuine. Yes folks, her hair is actually that beautiful, it's not just a tv trick. I did think it was odd that they flew her out of Winnipeg to be at the rally, considering three full teams of male curlers (including Kevin Martin, right, the other Roar ambassador) live in Edmonton, and another famous female team curls out of Calgary, but hey, what do I know, I'm not in charge of the budget.

I sat down at a random table and started chatting to a random woman, when someone caught my eye - out of 900 volunteers, I actually do know one older guy from my curling club, and there he was at the next table. I moved over and chatted to him and his friends/family.

Northlands really put on a nice dinner buffet (salad, vegetables, meat and veg lasagna and desert squares). When the dinner was finished, Jennifer Jones gave an inspiring speech about how much volunteers mean to the curlers, and Jackie Rae introduced all the heads of the volunteer crews. The volunteer coordinator read out some rules. More important, she told us that we were allowed to sit in the 300 level seats to watch. The third tier of seating is way, way up there, but its free so it's all good.

Afterwards I met with the merchandizing team, and we received new schedules (no changes for me).
Randomly, a woman came up to me and asked if I was so-and-so's daughter, and it turns out she's my aunts cousin and actually recognized me, even though I'm certain I've never met her before. Small world.

So that's the Volunteer Rally. The next even is a big appreciation party before the Roar, with a fancy dinner, and then partying at the Patch, but I doubt I'll go. I don't really know anyone, don't drink or fancy partying with strangers, and have three huge papers to write before the Roar anyways. I might go down for the opening ceremonies the next day though, if I can get those stupid papers finished.

I was a bit confused and disappointed after the last rally, but now am excited about the event. The curling is going to be fantastic, and the atmosphere likewise.
18 days...

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