Baubles, bangles, Hear how they jing, jing-a-ling-a,Baubles, bangles,Bright, shiny beads.
Sparkles, spangles,My heart will sing, sing-a-ling-a,Wearing baubles, bangles and beads.
I'll glitter and gleam so, Make somebody dream so, That someday he may buy me, A ring, ring-aling-a,I've heard that's where it leads, Wearing baubles and bangles and beads.
(From the Broadway musical "Kismet" - lyrics by Forrest and Wright. Music by Alexander Borodin)
I have started this blog I don't know how many times, thinking of all those little girls with dresses costing thousands of dollars doing pre-pre programs to Disney music. I remember fights in the rink between mothers over who "owned" a particular style; discussions in the stands over how much all that hand beading cost. I've seen mothers of girls - and boys - sit with glue guns during a practice session, adding "just a little more here and there" to catch the light, or the eye of the judges.
I am not sitting in judgement. Not at all. I sat in the stands at one point adding stones to our skater's costume because it just seemed too plain. I also read the news commentary in the LA Times last season talking about how glittery our skater was, not so subtly intimating that it was over the top.
Well, yes, it was.
But what I don't understand is why we ALL feel compelled to spend so much money on this. I can't think of one instance when a skater won a major, or even a minor competition because of all those baubles, bangles and beads. Paying a gazillion dollars for a 20 pound dress won't buy you a ring ring-a-ling-a. And it certainly won't buy you those rings every little girl and boy skater dreams about. That's what you pay coaches a gazillion dollars for!
Of course, I am leaving ice dancers out of this conversation. Like ballroom dancing, ice dance costumes are a fine balance between strategically placed baubles, bangles and beads: Just enough to capture the imagination while hopefully covering all the parts that modesty (and the ISU) dictates.
I guess the point of this is...just to point out how silly it is.
My skating idols - Peggy Fleming, Janet Lynn, Dorothy Hamill and even Michelle Kwan (who did have some glitz) - are first remembered for their skating. One of their iconic dresses will trigger memories of a great skate. But it was the performance that came before the pearls. It was the spirals and spins that came before the Swarovski. It was about a great performance that was enhanced by the costume; it wasn't the other way around.
As we enter into the madness that is the Olympic season, take a look at the skating first. If that's what you see before anything else - before the hair, makeup and outfit - then there is probably substance. The rest is show. If the skill, style, substance and show are in balance, that's a complete package.
Will parents still sit in the stands adding stones? Of course. Just look up from your glue gun every once in awhile and see if another bead or two (hundred) will make a difference.
My guess is probably not.