Tuesday, January 25, 2005

I Love Figure Skating...

...well, watching it anyway...I'm still working on learning how to actually skate, with last winter being my first real foray into learning. My patient husband says I'm doing well...I'm less convinced. We haven't headed out to try again yet this year. Les says we need to get me some new skates with ankle support. I say, anything to help my ankles feel better when I'm on the ice can't be bad...but I digress...

I have always loved watching figure skating and have taken much teasing from my brother and other 'guys' in my life for years because of it. My husband, however, does not share their opinion, and spent some time watching the 2005 Canadian Championships with me this weekend. Canadian skating is looking very promising this year! My favourite moments of this year's competition include:
- Joanne Rochette skating as in a dream...she could not put a blade wrong
- Jeff Buttle building on Joanne's momentum
- Cynthia Phaneuf's grace as she learned about fear
- Marcoux and Buntin's humility in repeating as pairs champions; they skated well but not as well as they wanted to
- Mira Leung...15 years old with huge jumps and a smile even bigger...she may have a ways to go in presentation, but look out!

As I reviewed the sporting news after the event to get other people's take on what happened, I came across this article... http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/FigureSkating/2005/01/25/909543.html Finally a guy who is not afraid to admit he likes skating (other than my husband, that is:)! Here are some excerpts from the article:

He likes it ... go figure
MIKE ULMER -- Toronto Sun

I've decided to come out: I love figure skating. I know, the headshot infers a two-fisted, hard-drinking John Wayne type, not some sequin-loving, teddy-bear lutching sissy-boy. I know what you're thinking. "Come on, man. They'll settle this lockout thing and everything will be fine. Don't say something you can't take back."

It's too late. I can't take the lying anymore.
Figure skating isn't stupid.
NASCAR is stupid. You can't see the drivers, you can't hear yourself think and they just go around in circles.
NFL? Stupid.
The NHL? I don't know, I forget.
Baseball. Stuuuuuupid.
Call me unmanly, but I like sports with women, and figure skating has women.......

....Apparently, some figure skaters are gay. Whoa.
Better stay away from that.
While I'm at it, I won't watch a movie, take in a play, and, just to be on the safe side, read a book. Why is it okay to dismiss figure skating because you're comfortable with the sexual preferences of one group of athletes but not condemn the sometimes serial sexual practices of another?

Is skating a sport?
Well, can you do it?

Why is facing a
100 m.p.h. fastball courageous, but having your unprotected head whirled an inch above the ice just a trick?

Why is golf, in which a player has to navigate
his own psyche as much as the course, laudable, but the crucible that is the long program somehow less so?

Why is it that 400-pound guys pulling off
their shirts in sub-zero cold is kind of fun, but grandmothers knitting in the stands between skaters is a sure sign of the sport's illegitimacy?

Sure, no other sport has a kiss-and-cry zone, but is crying so bad? Maurice Richard cried when they closed the Montreal Forum. Lou Gehrig cried when he told the world he was the luckiest man on earth. Wendel Clark cried when he retired. Did that make them any less compelling and human?

Sports is sports.
There are no good or bad ones, no right ones or wrong ones, no legitimate ones and bona fide ones (aside from the Original Stars Hockey League, of course.)
And so I say to you, my name is Mike Ulmer and I love figure skating.
At least until hockey comes back.

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