Jan 29, 2014

Dear Figure Skating,

With the Winter Olympics almost upon us I was thinking the other day about figure skating. In my life it has become a bit of a lost art. I mean, figure skating? I don't know any of the names or faces anymore. I have no clue what number of lutz we are up to now. Basically I have lost all touch with the figure skating universe, and that made me a little saddened when I suddenly realized how far I had fallen. What had I become? How had I lost my precious, beloved figure skating?

A week ago I randomly stumbled upon a video online that was generating some buzz about a young male skater and his connection to the audience during his performances. At first during the skaters routine I was less than impressed, feeling the breadth and with of my too-long detachment. This is nothing special, I thought. I have seen so much better. C'mon dude, wow me! Then as the performance went on and the commentators, as well as the audience, got more excited I found myself investing more and more into the art happening there on the ice. By the end of the video, the standing ovation of the crowd, I was in tears that seemingly came out of nowhere and thought to myself, YES! The little girl I used to know is still inside of me somewhere. The one who had heart and spirit and passion and a love for figure skating, she still exists.

It is an understatement to say that growing up I used to love figure skating. I wanted to be Nancy Kerrigan, I never missed a skate by Scott Hamilton, and was constantly dazzled by Krisiti Yamaguchi. Dorothy Hamil, Brian Boitano, Sasha Cohen--those were the household names of my young, young life. I would watch so much ice skating with my family back then, always having it on at my house just before bed or at my Grandmother's after lunch. I perhaps blame this partly to my Canadian roots. Honestly though, I had very little personal experience with the ice, but boy I wanted to be one of those great skaters. At the Dr's office I would churn through the pages of sport magazines with my heroes on the covers. I absorbed the gossip and filtered through the politics. I slept, ate, and breathed figure skating for quite some time. Yes I was young and impressionable, but I was also enraptured. It was a lovely, warming place to be.

Around bedtime I would climb up into my father's closet to retrieve one of his T-shirts as was customary for pajamas. I would also snag one for my sister and little brother while I was at it. I would tug the soft, over-sized shirt down onto my bony shoulders, usually the hem hitting just to my knee. Then, to transform this outfit into a figure skater's dream, I would belt it at my waist. Now I was ready to watch my heroes light up the screen just before bed. My eyes were bright and attentive as I took in every Salchow, Axel, and Loop. I marveled at the elegance and grace of the spins. Then, during commercials, I would execute my own routines around the living room floor hopping over pillows and looping around my brother. Those were some really, really good times. Good time I had almost completely forgotten about had it not been for my brief, teary eyed moment with a video on my iPhone.

So, I hope with the return of the Winter Olympics I too can take a moment and return to some of those childhood ice capades. Oh, figure skating! Glad to have you back in my life for a little while.

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