The desire to see your kids smile and be joyous, it turns out, is a strong enough wish to crush a disdain for most anything. Take gymnastics and figure skating. While I respect the skill, commitment and determination needed to train, compete and succeed in those disciplines, I loath the judging. I know full well that it’s an inevitable part of life, but I want to shield my children from judgment for as long as possible. Plus, I have a serious and well thought out bias towards team sports or at least those that allow the naked eye of the common folk to calculate who has won and lost.
Despite my own sporting preferences, the Bear took a shine to gymnastics as a 3-year old. She got really good before quitting when the work became more skill-building and less fun-filled. Now, since the Vancouver Winter Olympics, she and her lil’ sister have been beaming future gold medalist figure skaters. Around the house, they pretend to skate pairs and single short programs, receiving medals atop a step-stool podium while their adopted nation’s anthem plays in the background. On the ice carpet, the Bear becomes Lola Lopez, from Lima Peru (a clear shout out to the musical Dear Edwina). Thanks to the magic of the internet, I was able to call up an mp3 of the Peruvian national anthem (a very lovely tune) in .2 seconds. After the emotional medal ceremony, she’s interviewed by the Mrs., breaks down with glee while still out of breath, then hugs her dad (that’s me, after my role as figure skating play-by-play announcer is finished). The Bear’s routine at home is set to Coal Train Railroad’s “Just the Juice, Jack”. It’s perfect for the mixed-tempo drama of a figure skating performance, complete with a fantastic finish.
If you told me 7 years ago that any of this would be happening in my house I’d have unmercifully dismissed you as a loon. Well, you might have been a loon but you’d have been spot-on in the prediction department.
I tear up easily when I see my girls so enthusiastic, even if it is about figure skating. This past weekend, we took them ice skating for the 1st time. After a lot of “those Olympians practice for a looong time to get that good, don’t be upset if you’re unable to leap through the air the first time your blade hits the ice” discussion on the drive to the rink, the Bear did nothing more than hug the boards for the 1st hour. Then, she sorta cut loose. She spent the 2nd hour near center ice, out of the skating loop, where she skated without assistance, turned around, spun around on one foot and did better than I’d have ever imagined possible for the 1st time. She fell a bunch but whimpered only a little, showing a fierceness and determination in continuing to get up and keep trying. Heck, the Mouse was skating solo by the 2nd hour as well! I couldn’t have been more proud of them both. We had to drag them off the ice at the end of the public skating session.
In spite of the organizer’s masked homophobic (“not family-friendly” enough) stance re: Johnny Weir, I’ve bought tickets for the Smucker’s Stars on Ice show in Reading, PA. It’s a surprise. The girls are going to flip. And because they’ll be over-the-top excited, I will be as well.