The Blood Olympics

Blood Olympics

It was springtime, 1987. I recall it being a beautiful afternoon, and I had decided I was due to donate blood. I happened to mention this to a colleague. He said that he was also due to give and would come along with me. Andy was a phys. ed. teacher and former university football player.

I first gave blood when I was in grade 12. My father and older brothers were regular donors and it seemed like a nice thing to do. Since that time I had averaged three donations a year. I figured that that was respectable given the fact that, at that time, one could donate a maximum of four times annually.

Andy and I arrived at the clinic. While we were waiting to be processed he asked, “How many times have you given blood?”

“Let me check.” I looked for the number on the back of my donor card. “This will be number thirty-three for me.”

Andy said, “Show me your card.” I handed it to him. He looked at the number and said, “We’re tied.”


“We’re tied – we’ve both given the same number of times.”

‘”Huh, what a coincidence.”

After being processed we were seated next to each other in the recliners. Andy was the first to be connected to the equipment and I followed. The process of delivering blood began and we casually chatted about summer plans. About ten minutes later Andy’s blood had been delivered and I followed a short time after that.

“I beat you!”, he said.


“I beat you. I gave faster than you did.”

“But you were hooked up before me?”

“Doesn’t matter. I was timing our donations. I gave faster than you did.”

“Well, congrats on that. I didn’t realize we were competing.”

A few minutes later, “I beat you again. I clotted faster than you did.”

“Wow. Another win for you. Well done. I guess that gives you, what, five points? Two points for each win and a point for the tie? I guess I only have one point for the tie.”

Up until this occasion I hadn’t realized how competitive Andy was. He even ate his after-donation cookies faster than I did but, apparently, that wasn’t part of the competition; at least, he didn’t mention it.

Exactly three month later, the earliest possible day, I went in to give blood again. I didn’t tell Andy I was going. I wanted to ensure that I walked away with at least one win when we next participated in the Blood Olympics.

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