So the Commonwealth Games have been and gone, and as I rattle the keys on my overworked laptop, Clyde is on S1Jobs.com looking for his next gig. Glasgow has been hosting the 20th incarnation of the Games since last Wednesday, when we blew into town with dancing Tunnocks Teacakes, John Barrowman kissing and wee Scottie dugs stealing the show.
Since then, I’ve been in Glasgow a few times, attended one event along the way. I only had a small experience of the whole show, but jings, we bought into it. When I was wandering around Glasgow, I stopped a couple of times to take a photo, or look at something on my phone – and both times, I had random folk ask me if I was looking for something, or if I was lost.
While I wasn’t, the gesture was a damn fine one, and not lost upon me. This was a side of Glasgow that the world wouldn’t be aware of for the most part. Glasgow’s reputation of No Mean City may have been in the past, but it still lingers. These games went a long way to dispelling that.
Glasgow of 2014 has problems, sure. Everywhere does. Glasgow of 2014 is also one of the most stunningly beautiful places in the UK, both in terms of the city itself, and the heart of the people. Glaswegians are a funny, self depreciating bunch. We’ll put ourselves down, crack the jokes about our own shortcomings before almost anyone else does – but under that, we’re also warm at heart.
Bringing the Games, and athletes and visitors from all over the world to our doorstep has shown that. Everyone has raved over the city, over the people. People Make Glasgow, says the ad campaign – and it’s damn right.
I live outside Glasgow now, not by choice. I’ve never, EVER been prouder of my home town than I have the past couple of weeks. Glasgow and Glaswegians have shown the world who we are and what we’re capable of. The traffic cone on the Duke Of Wellington statue started as a joke; it’s now accepted as a statement of Glaswegian psyche – we don’t take ourself too seriously.
Seeing the stunning views of the city – MY city – on the BBC every day reinforces my view that the stretch of the Clyde with the Squinty and Squiggly bridges, encompassing the Hydro and the Armadillo is amongst the finest cities in the world.
The miraculous heatwave for the first few days showcased the beauty of the city; not even the rain that almost washed the cyclists off the streets in the road race on Sunday could dampen the amazing sights that Glasgow had to offer.
From the green havens of Glasgow Green and Kelvingrove Park through to “style mile” of Argyle Street and Buchanan Street, Glasgow’s strengths were showcased to a worldwide audience. I’ve never seen so many Glaswegians taking pride in their home town as I have this past fortnight, and it’s been amazing.
The atmosphere at the events was incredible – from Usain Bolt dancing to “500 Miles” to Ugandan rugby players getting a random standing ovation, all the way through to the English athletes galore being cheered on – everyone has been welcomed, everybody was made to feel at home.
The sport almost took a back seat to how well we played host for all the visitors – not just Glasgow, but Carnoustie, Edinburgh and Strathclyde Park who hosted some events too. The sport though… oh, the sport. It was enthralling, it was emotional, it was inspirational.
People ran faster, jumped longer, threw further, swam quicker… you could feel the athletes thriving on the energy from the people; from the city itself.
Records were broken, tears of joy were shed, anthems were belted out with gusto and pride. Team Scotland surpassed expectations for performances, but these Games would have been successful even without that.
The Commonwealth Games may have come and gone, and they will be missed for sure… but Glasgow remains, and Glasgow flourishes.