Now I don’t know if you’ve heard but in around ten days, depending on when you’re reading this, there will be starting down in foggy London Town a big fancy sports day.
I’m a little hesitant to mention it by name as even the name of our fair capital has been classified as a ‘protected word’ (see here for more) but then I probably don’t need to – you’ll have seen the five ‘sports day discs’ printed on every item in the supermarket, will be well acquainted with Wenlock & Mandeville and you may have even seen the sports day sparkler being carried through your town as it winds its way towards the metropolis.
Yes, the big sports day is indeed a big deal and one that I’m greatly looking forward to, not only because I like watching the sports people doing their sports but also because I, like many other police officers from around the country, am going to be directly involved.
Us police officers hold a privileged position – we get to do things that many people will never do, we see things that most folk wouldn’t want to see and we meet truly ‘animated’ characters on a daily basis.
When it comes to national events we often find ourselves with a front row seat being paid for the privilege of saying ‘I was there’.
Such events are career milestones – the roles we play in them may not necessarily be interesting but they are things we can look back on in ten or twenty years time with the satisfaction that we’ve had the opportunity to take part.
Some of the older officers I work with still remember what they were doing during the Miners’ Strikes – not necessarily fond memories but such events are milestones nonetheless that come to punctuate careers.
My first ‘milestone’ was helping out for the Pope’s visit in 2010. I wasn’t doing anything interesting – I was guarding a fence outside St. Mary’s College in the middle of the night and was in bed long before the Pope came anywhere near but even so, I’d contributed, I’d been involved.
I’ve always thought that you get out what you put in and so when the emails went out earlier this year asking for volunteers to go down to London for the big sports day, I jumped at the opportunity.
I didn’t do so under the impression that I’d be inside the stadium for the opening ceremony, or chasing after Usain Bolt in the 100m final – I actually thought I’d probably be nowhere near any of the events and stuck at a tube station somewhere directing lost tourists whilst being equally lost myself.
This didn’t matter though, what mattered was that I’d get a chance to be there.
With the festivities starting next week, the plans for my own deployment, along with those of officers around the country, are finally starting to take shape.
As I’ve mentioned on my Twitter feed I’ll be boarding a coach bound for the big smoke next Thursday and whilst I can’t say too much about what I’ll be doing whilst I’m there, I’ve got a week and a half spell helping out at the games which I’m very much looking forward to.
As I’ve said, you get out what you put in. I’m thinking the Olympics (I said it!) will be a great chance to put this approach into practice.
P.S. I’m a little unsure how frequently I’ll be able to update the Twitter feed over the course of the deployment. I’ll be following the advice given to us by Lord Coe and whilst the IOC seems encouraging on the use of social media during the games, I get a feeling I’ll be so busy that I might not get the chance.