Collector or addict?

WILL COLFORD, SnowSeekers Inc.

It began as a formality. “Here, have a pin,” said Nancy Greene during the Slovenia House opening last night. I didn’t even look at it. Just stuck it to my lanyard and smiled. But something changed as I pinched the backing, pierced the canvass, and pressed the trinket into place. 
“Vancouver 2010, Canada,” read the pin. White and silver with appropriate national and Vanoc colours. Had I known what I was about to get into, I never would have said, “Thank you.” 
Pins are the currency of the Olympic games. Pin collectors, buyers, and traders populate the village like undercover police; they could be anyone. As the addiction worsens, people disappear, their faces go, their names go, all I see anymore walking around the most electric place on the planet are the pins.
Volunteer 2010, Munich applicant 2018, Swiss house in both English and Swuisse, Intrawest corporate pin, and the Quatchie Zambonie Visa collection, this is all I can think about. 
It’s gotten so bad I tried to trade my team Ireland for a line cook’s nametag. What’s worse is that I got it. I feel like I really hit rock bottom when I saw what looked like a rare white rectangular Canadian pin on the ground, only to realize – as I picked it up – it was, in fact, someone’s unchewed gum. And yet, I can’t stop.
The pin collecting is a great way for even the most out-of-shape spectator to get into the spirit of the games. The transaction of trading usually begins with meeting someone from another country. Then you connect to that person, not through language, but through your shared sport of pin collecting.
There’s a round of competition in which both collectors try to “win” the transaction by getting the better pin. Finally there’s a ceremony in which both ‘athletes’ congratulate each other and say, “Have a great Olympics.”

Everyone has their own tactic for trading up and acquiring rare and sought after pins. My tactic is quite amateur: I lie. 
By telling people the pin is harder to get than it actually is, I have been able to get some pretty great items. However, this backfired when I realized that I am not the only one to have thought of the tactic. I began to wonder if I had, in fact, been trading crappy pins for other crappier pins. 
I met a gentleman who could only be described as eclectic. He waved a double-sided flag, Canada on one side and America on the other. He said, “It’s not about competition, it’s about coming together.”  I believed him. 
After giving up three solid pieces, I received what I thought would be my crown jewel. A circular gold, flag encrusted, double pinner that reads “Whistler Blackcomb Pin Collector.”
On the back it says the pin is limited to only 2010 pieces. 
After showing it off today I was gloating to one gentlemen who replied simply, “Oh ya, you can buy those at Seven Eleven for a buck.” 
I suppose just like the games themselves, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but it’s always a treat just to be playing the game.    

Stay tuned to www.snowseekers.ca/olympicnews for daily blogs, videos and more throughout the Olympics.

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