Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Most Tangible of Intangible Assets

We are half way through the Grand Prix. Though I have no intensely personal reason to watch since I have no "horse in the race", so to speak, I've been fascinated by what is going on, as well as what isn't - at least in my view. I haven't been able to define my sense of uneasiness. It's intangible; illusive. I can't put my finger it. I just continually feel like a character in Samuel Becket's tragicomedy "Waiting for Godot."
Photo from Zimbio.Click for video.
But this week in China, when Javier Fernandez went back to his roots in a short program that blew me away, the light went on. His skate was a tour de force, not for the technical prowess, which was certainly there, but for the pure emotion he displayed and the connection he had with his homeland and its music. It was beautifully choreographed, but it was so much more than that. It was emotional. It was born out of a deep-rooted understanding of the soul of the music, and for just short of three minutes he took me on his journey.
Now I had a tangible reason for my apparent apathy. With so many of the competitors this season I was seeing little that made me want to get up to watch at all hours of the day and night. Jumps, spins, transitions and footwork, for the most part have been quite impressive. However, I found myself content to view the videos on line. But even then, watching on my computer after the fact, what I was seeing didn't move me to generally love - well - what I was seeing.
Just to be sure I wasn't being "that mom" who only cares about watching my skater and no one else, I decided to go back again to some of this year's Senior B competitions, as well as all the videos so far from Grand Prix. Whether competitors were on the podium or not, what I found myself drawn to was their eyes. After all, the eyes are the windows to the soul. The eyes make the connection. They speak volumes without a single word. Here's the wide range of what they said to me:
  • I LOVE TO SKATE! Come join me on my journey
  • You don't have to love me but you have to watch me skate because I'm awesome
  • I'm tossing my hair so I'm emoting
  • If I throw my arms around enough I'll look like I'm emoting
  • I haven't got a CLUE why I'm skating to this music
  • I'm pretending to like my partner
  • I'm bored
  • I'm scared 
  • I'm concentrating so hard I can feel smoke coming out of my ears
  • Don't look at the audience. Don't look at the audience...crud, I looked. Now what?
  • I'm going to survive this
  • PLEASE let this be over
I know the season is just getting started. After 26 years, I know how difficult this sport is and how incredibly hard all these skaters work. However, as a lifelong lover of skating, all I ask is this: If you truly have a passion for what you do, show us - not with a phony point, a choreographed ultra-white grin and uncomfortable-looking wiggle, but with a depth and a confidence that says, "I get it." I don't ask for much. Look me in the eye and give something of yourself that is more than you even knew you had. Show me your soul, not just your score. Trust me to love you for it. If you do, no matter the outcome, I promise I'll watch.

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