And so the days are filled...

10 February 2006

A photo-less post to tell you why this particular athlete is not participating in the Olympics

Despite taking 6 years of figure skating lessons, I was never destined to be an Olympic star. I hated wearing those little outfits with the ruffley tutu attached, and my best friend played hockey. (I desperately wanted to play hockey too, but my parents said they spent too much money on my orthodontist to have me get my 2 front teeth knocked out with a hockey puck.)
My figure skating career took a serious nosedive when I became old enough to go out with my friends for Friday and Saturday night skates. The skating rink in my hometown was the scene of ALL the socialing that was worth being a part of during the winter months... for those of you who lived through the disco era, the skating rink was like the roller disco - top 20 hits blaring away while drones of skaters circumnambulated, round and round and round. Ohh, the thrill when they called "Reverse skate!"
One good thing about all those early Saturday morning skating lessons was that the Friday night skating scene was one teenage hangout I actually felt a little bit confident at - wobbly ankles and clinging to the wall as you attemt to circumnavigate the endless oval of a skating rink at least once before retiring for some cocoa was Not Cool and I, for one, never had to experience that embarrassment. However, wearing figure skates was also Seriously Not Cool (only beaten in the Uncool Rankings by having to wear rental skates - eeeuuuwwww), so my custom-built, hand stitched figure skates got stashed in the closet in favour of my best friend's older brother's outgrown and ratty hockey skates - all in the name of fashion.
Was it worth it turning my back on my meteoric rise through the ranks of figure skaters of the eastern United States just to toodle around on old hockey skates flirting with boys and freezing my whole body in a denim jacket, because, let's face it, one can't wear a proper winter jacket with ultra-cool hockey skates can one? Well, yes. I have to admit, I never really had what it took to be a top notch athlete.
So why am I not seizing this once-in-a-lifetime Knitting Olympics opportunity to excel at something I think I am reasonably good at? Good question.
Well, ever since the onset of puberty Friday night skating, all my best sporting moments have been as a spectator. I think I am great at spectating. I learn the names, I learn the personal stories, I randomly assign allegiances to whatever player or team happens to appeal to me. It might be the costumes (in the case of figure skating), it might be the appeal of the underdog (in the case of Australia and most winter sports), whatever. I watch. I spectate. I take in the spectacular. It's not all just sitting around watching - no, there's alot of personal drive and energy that goes into being a good spectator. Without us, who would be cheering for the athletes as the jump, twirl, speed, and flip their way into the record books?
So here's to the spectators! Bravo!!