Ini bukan untuk bandingin antara Sea Games 1997 Jakarta dengan Olimpiade 2016 Rio de Janeiro yang lagi berlangsung sekarang, hanya saja karena sabtu pagi kemarin nonton di TV parade para atlit di pembukaan Olimpiade 2016, it kinda brought back my memories of being a Liaison Officer (LO) during the 19th Sea Games 1997 in Jakarta.
I was in my last year of College, and having the chance to get involved in such a big event like that was spectacular. An honor. Luar biasa, tidak dapat dilukiskan dengan kata-kata. You got a chance to make new friends, interacted with people from other countries, experienced a new job, and the most important of all –> you got well paid !! Untuk ukuran kantong anak mahasiswa di masa itu, honor yang dibayarkan untuk periode 2 minggu cukuplah membuat gue untuk berfoya-foya sesaat *evilgrin.
For being an LO, one must pass several tests; written tests, interviews and Focus Group Discussion. It was a tough competition as you had to compete with hundred of applicants. Basically they were looking for energetic young people who can communicate in fluent English. So when I went to the last test, pede aja sih ngomong bahasa inggrisnya, yang penting keliatan dan terdengar fluent dulu aja…hehehe
Singkat cerita, I was assigned as LO for Malaysian Swimming Team. Male Swimming Team. Yes, MALE ! So you can imagine how excited I was to be assigned to accompany a bunch of young male athletes who always stripped down to their swimsuit at the venue (ayey!)
My main job was to accompany them, athletes and officials, and to cater all they need. To make sure that they went and arrived safely and on schedule to the venue. Macam Event Organizer atau Team Assistant ya. It might look simple but believe me, it was not
You must be ready at the hotel first thing in the morning, as their schedules for practice were so early. You’d need to make sure that their transportation hotel-venue-hotel were on time. No excuses for “bus is late” even for 1 minute. Once they were at the hotel door, the bus must be ready at the Lobby. And once they dressed up after the practice or the match, the bus must be ready as well. You could call it a day when they all happily finished their dinner and went to bed. A quick city tour and be a shopping buddy were also on your list of duty.
The fun part of being in a live match was the euphoria we got, especially when you were in the opponent’s side and you were emotionally attached to them. Without realizing it, you were cheering and supporting them to win the match, even when they raced against your own country.
So when I saw lots of young native brazilians during the Opening Ceremony getting involved in the Olympic, I could feel their adrenalin in the air. They must be drop dead excited, not to mention that it is a worldwide event. Whether it is a small country that they take care of, or it is a not-so-popular sport they are responsible of, it won’t matter. The thing is they are chosen to be part of the Olympic where not everyone can have that chance. It is a once in a lifetime experience, and definitely, a to die for !
Been there, done that
Sea Games 1997 ID Card