On Facebook today, a friend of mine posted a photograph of himself holding a ticket to the big event tonight in London. Printed on the ticket, in black and white, are the words: "London 2012 Opening Ceremony."
But for some inexplicable reason, his own comment on his own photo read: "Opening Ceremonies...can't wait!"
I've noticed this phenomenon for years, and it only happens at big events like the Olympic Games. When we talk about the opening and closing ceremony of sporting events, the two-hour ceremony becomes "ceremonies" in our vernacular. As a former copy editor, it drives me crazy.
Heck, the caption written by Getty Images for the photo used here has both "ceremonies" and "ceremony" in it. Where's my red pen?
Do we ask people, "Are you going to Johnny's graduation ceremonies?" Ummmm ... no.
Do we talk about going to Jack and Jill's wedding ceremonies? Though I'm sure some people get married twice to the same person ... no.
But for some reason, when it comes to the Olympic Games, we suddenly pluralize the "opening ceremonies" and the "closing ceremonies," as though we're all taking a trip through London together, hitting every church and pub through town, celebrating the Games with a unique event at each stop.
Maybe it's because some years it feels like it goes on for the length of two or three. Maybe it's because when mishaps like Vancouver's "technical difficulties" ensue, people wish there was a do-over.
But I assure you, it's one ceremony. And it's tonight. I can't wait!