Death by a thousand volunteers

volunteers  What is the collective noun for volunteers? Well I’m just starting to recover from swarms, of them, whole irritations of volunteers. There were fifteen thousand of them! I first encountered games volunteers in Sydney. Not having encountered them before it was a magic experience. Arriving at the airport in Sydney and looking a bit lost in the new underground link to the city one grabbed my arm gently and told me all I needed to know. She was like my mum. She was like your mum. She was very friendly, nice and disarming. The volunteers really did seem to give the Sydney Olympics a wonderful magic. They’ve been good in Melbourne too. Nice things those volunteers. But never one to avoid trying to outdo Sydney, Melbourne has just piled them on to such a degree that one couldn’t move. One couldn’t look sideways without being interrogated by a volunteer as to whether they could help. I took my kids to about six events which was lots of fun. But everywhere we went there were volunteers up on high chairs with megaphones just making sure we knew where we were. Just keep walking straight they’d keep telling us though there was no other way we could walk. Then there were the security checks. These were very special indeed. Enough to delay entry by at least five minutes when they were not busy and at least 20 when they were. My favourite was at the rugby 7s where we waited for around 30 minutes to go through special white tents for those with bags. They then took the bags off us, we went through a metal detector, one in four of us got a personal metal scan and the bag we gave the guards was not opened, but taken carefully taken around the table so it didn’t have to pass through any metal scanner and handed back to us. None of the other security checks were quite as farcical as that one, but volunteers would rush at you with cardboard trays into which you were to empty cameras and keys. These cardboard trays appeared whether or not there was an airport style machine to scan them. Oh well, it was all lots of fun, and I’m sad it’s over.

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17 years ago

The real task starts now. Rounding up all the volunteers, surgically removing their smurf outfits, deprogramming and releasing ’em back into the wild.

This could take years.

Although I can see RAAF C-130s airdropping ’em over Dehli in 2010…unless the Indians play nice.

Tony Harris
17 years ago

Nicholas, your volunteers sound a bit like the four boy scouts who each wanted a bob for helping an old lady to cross the road on “bob a job” day.
“How come it took four of you?”
“She didn’t want to go”.

17 years ago

I recall asking a volunteer in Sydney as to where the ‘Athens’ meeting spot was (the meeting spots were named after each of the previous host cities), as it did not appear to be located next to Paris. The volunteer very confidently informed me that this was because Athens hadn’t hosted the Olympics before: it was to be their first time in 2004. She knew this because she had Greek ancestry, see.

17 years ago

Back to dole diary/insignificance for some. “The bowls club, bingo and ‘hello dear’,please mum”.
Those annoying volunteers!

Tis Ron Walker we should all salute. A selfless man and no dispute.

( allright,will give up on bad attempts at poetry, voluntarily)

17 years ago


Yes Nic, I pointed this out (and the Ancient Games as well), but the volunteer was quite insistent. To be fair, she was very keen to assist.