Saturday, February 26, 2005

The school that saved the Olympics

It's twenty-five years since the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, as I mentioned (indirectly) below. They're celebrating the anniversary at Lake Placid until the 27th.

One aspect of those games that is sure to be overlooked is how the transportation to and from Lake Placid village was initially a complete disaster that had the potential to ruin the Games.

I couldn't find anything about this on-line, so I'm working completely from memory here. What I remember is that the Games opened on a Friday night (although the hockey had started the day before) and were scheduled to run for 10 days. By the end of the second or third day the organizers realized that their plan for bussing fans to and from Lake Placid was in tatters because they didn't have enough buses. They needed a lot of buses and fast.

In stepped Shenendehowa School District, which had the largest fleet of buses available. Fortunately for the Games' organizers, we had the Olympic week off for our mid-winter break. Shenendehowa's buses and drivers went 80 miles north to help get the fans into the village. {I know I could make some snarky comment about public schools and taxpayers money, but I won't because that's not the spirit of this post. Besides, I don't know what the arrangement was, but I'm sure the school and the drivers were well-compensated.)

For the rest of my days at Shenendehowa I used to get on buses with stickers inside that proclaimed "Olympic bus and driver". Our driver, who we called Buck because he bore a striking resemblance to Gil Gerard, was a really nice guy and today I just want to tip my hat to him and all the other drivers who saved the 1980 Winter Olympics.