Delma Tronson at the Commonwealth Games
Gold, Gold, Gold ….. has been the call time and again as Australian sportsmen and women have excelled. Likewise those who have won Silver medals and Bronze medals. It is no easy feat to finish first, second or third in a Commonwealth Games at any time or in any era.
This 21st Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast with its army of volunteers to make the entire process in every sport venue friendly and welcoming. But, with such a mammoth undertaking there are inevitably hic-ups and these have been publicised in the media 'loud and long'.
Understanding the nature of the pre-Games hype, the Park 'n Ride was heralded as the best thing since 'sliced bread' as it were. I am a member of the Tweed Heads Chamber of Commerce and five months back we had a speaker from the Commonwealth Games organising group whose responsibility was essentially traffic. The table group I was on commented this is recipe for disaster and no true-er assessment was made.
Tweed Heads Chamber of Commerce
Park 'n Ride
The Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony saw the Park 'n Ride lauded system break down with some people having to line up for more than 90 minutes for their bus ride, some older people left the line having waited 90 minutes and having paid $380 for their Opening Ceremony ticket.
Then reports in the Courier Mail on Saturday 7 April had very displeased security people left out in the cold all night and no transport back to their places for sleep. These stories were not isolated. Many security people walked off the job last weekend disgusted with their accommodation, food, facilities ….
My wife and I had a different model of transport, we drove from Tweed Heads to Parkwood to an Uncle's place where we parked the car and then caught a taxi to the hockey four blocks away.
The print yourself ticket option also caught many unawares as not all printers are the same, and those with a heavier ink jet system had the bar code's spaces linked and the ticket checking volunteers were not allowing people thru as their bar coder could not pick up the code. Is this crazy or what! The supervisors were thin on the ground and to find one to allow patrons thru became a nightmare.
In the Commonwealth Games Village we heard thru the media of a sexual assault. Then one athlete (from somewhere) was rushed to hospital with measles with a massive scare that it might have spread. Contagious – you better believe it.
Can anyone imagine the field day the do-gooders would have had if the authorities required medical examinations on entry to Australia from athletes and officials coming in from what we might dare call the 'third world'. The United Nations have no such concerns referring to the Third World especially if there are dollars involved.
The tourist and hospitality sector were calling 'blue murder' as their patronage is way way down. Monday morning news casts had massive coverage on this. Then a huge reversal of PR from the Commonwealth Games authorities – people, residents, tourists, everyone, please come back to eat and enjoy the Gold Coast's 'everything',
Then, yes, it gets messier, Google map reading navigators are now required to ride on the athlete buses as some the beach volleyballers ended up somewhere else (Courier Mail Sat 7 April). Who can believe this? If anything could go wrong, it seems it did, yet the pre-Games hype was claiming everything …... but.
Monday morning's news did some travel tests – if you have tickets to any of the events – drive. More convenient, quicker, no waiting in endless lines ….
To cap it all off, Ian Thorpe and two other commentator celebrities riding in a fancy hire car limo were pulled over by the Police. The NSW registered vehicle was stolen, someone was making a quick buck on the side. It meant the celebrities had to walk the rest of the way.
Mark Tronson's 5 books on hockey, a major Commonwealth Games sport
But its about Sports and the above situations, more than likely, inevitable in some measure, and the sports on the whole have been a great success.
Gold Medals galore for the Australians in all their various specialities, from the swimming to cycling and the rest of it. Even Gold Medals for the men's and women's Walkers. Australia has wonderful sports traditions and the Commonwealth Games provides these young athletes a world forum in which to display their wares.
Team sports such as hockey, netball and the rest of them are remarkable tests of courage and character. Former Australian hockey captain and Kookaburra coach Ric Charlesworth at the Rio Games rightly pointed out the Australian rugby girl's Gold was 'light' when one considers the heavy weight competition in such team sports as hockey let alone the cycling, swimming and athletics.
The chaplains at the Commonwealth Games as in all such global sporting events has their fill of ministries 24/7 and we salute these committed people. I can speak of this as having been involved in Olympic ministry since 1984 and sent to the IOC in Lausanne Switzerland in February 2000 to help develop a Transfer of Knowledge on Religious Services for each subsequent city organising committee.
There were massive Christian outreaches up and down the Gold Coast, YWAM even had a large tent at Jack Evans Boar Harbour in Tweed Heads - a walk across the street to Coolangatta. The Gold Coast Christian Newspaper 'Informed' had these listed in great detail including an art exhibition. Praise the Lord, this was all “Evangelism 101”.
The Gold Coast’s “Beyond Gold” web site - http://beyondgoldgc.com.au/
New Zealand 6 df Canada 2 - Men's Hockey Commonwealth Games,the Black Sticks 5th goal, penalty corner set piece.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at