I have clear memories of my mother letting me stay up late one night in 1988. It was the night Elizabeth Manley skated for a medal at the Calgary Olympics and I probably was too excited to sleep anyway.
I was hooked on figure skating after that, especially after seeing Kurt Browning skate. To this day he is my favourite Canadian figure skater, no one can top him. I mean, I like Brian Orser and Elvis was awesome, but Kurt had just that right amount of kooky. Also why I have very fond memories of watching Isabelle Brasseur and Lloyd Eisler.
This weekend Joe suggested that I might take the kid to see some of the Skate Canada championships that were happening in Ottawa and I decided to go for it. The kid would love it, and I’m a fan of the sport, even if I haven’t been paying too much attention over the last few years. (Though I have become a fan of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir because, well, really who isn’t?)
I bought tickets for Saturday for me, the kid and Grandma. We went at 11, agreeing that we would leave when the kid started getting bored. At 6 pm I dropped her off at home for bedtime, and she was upset about leaving. That’s seven hours of mostly sitting in a seat and paying attention.
And then I went back to watch the final flights of the pairs, men’s and dance events. I was drawn right back in.
Today they announced the Olympic team. We’re sending three pairs teams, three dance teams, three men and two women, and they’re supposed to be one of the strongest teams we’ve sent in some time.
I’m very excited about some of the talent I got to see up close. I saw a little bit of Brian Orser in Kevin Reynolds who won the silver in the men’s event, I saw a little bit of kook in our pairs champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford. (I mean, he competed in plaid pants and a purple coat with tails).
Watching the skaters I couldn’t help but visualize my own little girl out there. In the women I saw a lot of her – strong legs and arms, grace, tall, lean bodies and big smiles.
She’s in skating lessons for the third year and already she’s better than I ever was (she can now stand up by herself), and she’ll have to choose between hockey and figure skating since she’s declared an interest in both. As long as she loves it, I’ll love watching.