Ten years…Where am I now?

When May of this year came and went, it deeply resonated with me. Ten years ago I graduated college. Ten years ago I was a lost soul, and had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go. I’m pretty sure this is a common phenomenon: the plight of the recent college grad. Up until this point, your life has been pretty scripted: get good grades and go to a good college. In college, get good grades and you’ll get a good job. The problem for me (and probably many others) is that I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, or rather, I knew what interested me, but the idea was a bit too abstract. I knew I wanted to do something in the environmental/conservation field, and frankly that idea changed weekly. At one point I wanted to be Jane Goodall. During another point, I wanted to work in environmental law. I can (un)successfully say that I ended up doing neither; however, I did stay true to my interests and have been working in biodiversity conservation (=bonafide bunny hugger).

These past ten years I have been going with the flow – there is no true goal or definitive direction. It has more-or-less been an amorphous journey of exploring new opportunities and then seeing what happens.  It’s been a life experiment.

As I look towards my future and attempt to create a new path for myself, I can’t help but look back on what I’ve done because I don’t think I could have planned, thought of, or dreamt of what I have done. It’s not that its all that crazy, or life-altering, but it is certainly not what I had planned. Then again, I didn’t have anything planned, so perhaps that’s why this reflection has fascinated me. Perhaps if Robin from 2004 really did sit down and make goals, maybe I would have accomplished more. Who really knows… Maybe, I’m not meant to be a planner, but I’m meant to be a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of gal.  That approach seems to have worked so far…

Regardless, upon making my list, I had a very self-satisfying moment, a rare instant where I was actually proud of myself. It was a time where I’m not comparing myself to anyone else, which subsequently makes me feel like I’m worthless. I’m a helpless perfectionist, so nothing I do is ever really praise worthy – I can always do better. But, this list made me smile – a lot. Heck, I even printed it out and hung it over my desk in an effort to keep me inspired to do more.

Now, I’m trying to piece together a vision of my next ten years because they obviously have to kick this past ten-year’s ass.  Bring it on 2024!

How I spent my life in 10 years:  2004-2014

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My Synchronized Skating Chronicles, Part 1: tryouts and my inane, yet rare, social awkwardness

I just recently got back from competing at the 2014 US Synchronized Skating Championships (Masters Division) and felt the need to recount my past season in agonizing detail.  Thankfully, I kept a journal that recorded every glorious moment.

My artistic representation of synchronized skating

My artistic representation of synchronized skating

How did I not get the memo?

At the ripe age of 31, I got introduced to the world of synchronized skating.  Though I skated my whole life, I somehow didn’t get the message on what exactly this thing is, how its such a big deal in the skating world and why so much make up is needed.    So… what is it?   It’s like if synchronized swimming and the Rockettes mated and their sublime offspring was born on the ice.  There is precision, theatrics and athleticism all bundled up in one big sparkly bow with false eyelashes and a lot of hair gel.   It’s truly impressive.

Skating Liza Minnelli's rendition of "New York, New York" at an Admirals Game.  Circa 1990-1991-ish

Skating Liza Minnelli’s rendition of “New York, New York” at an Admirals Game. Circa 1990-1991-ish

For me, my youth skating experience included some elementary forms of synchro.  We pulled together some team exhibitions for the local hockey team, the Norfolk (Hampton Roads) Admirals.  Our dresses were handmade and cheap – so that no parent had to spend excessive money.  No elements were entirely that difficult, and all skating levels were represented.  It wasn’t until my freshman year of college I stumbled across a legitimate, competitive skating team.  Being the 18-year-old brat that I was, I stayed on that team for exactly one semester before I quit.   From what I remember, it was fun, though I’m pretty sure the girls weren’t all that nice.

Some time last year, I heard that the DC area had a great reputation in the adult synchronized skating world and that their teams consistently placed well at Nationals.  My first thought was – whoa, a National competition?!?  My second was – the team that consists of adults?  You mean I’m not too old to still compete?!  As a competitive spirit, I was intrigued.  I marked the information session on my calendar and began my YouTube research.  Plus, one of my friends at the rink is a synchro goddess, and she was my biggest cheerleader in my attempts at learning a new skill.  What’s a synchro goddess, you ask?  It is someone who has been a part of this sport since he/she was a zygote and partakes in playing “fantasy synchro” each season.   Unbeknownst to me, that does in fact exist.

Performing part of the Nutcracker Suite to a surprisingly tame audience at an Admirals game.  Circa 1992

Performing part of the Nutcracker Suite to a surprisingly tame audience at an Admirals game. Circa 1992

The tryout or not

It was nearly tryout season.  I was looking forward to the information session, which was a precursor to the tryout.   I like trying something new, so it was going to be a fun adventure.  Plus, I was confident in my skating skills, so I was looking forward to learning something new.  Then, tragedy struck.  Well, not exactly.  I had an unfortunate reaction to a chiropractic adjustment, which not only made my back exceptionally tense to the point of not being able to turn my head, but also spurred a weekend full of debilitating migraines. This of course was aptly timed with the information session.  I felt like a big pile of steaming dog poo, and I didn’t want to go because I knew I wouldn’t skate my best.  I’m a perfectionist, so this was the absolute worst scenario that could possibly happen.   Also, I knew that for me to tryout, I needed to go to the information session.  I couldn’t just show up at the tryout and not know what is expected of me!  Actually, if I’m going to be totally honest here, a few weeks prior to the information session, I started to get cold feet for some unknown reason.  I suppose it was the fear of trying something new.  Sure, new is exciting, but it’s also scary, especially the older you get.  Anyway, for storytelling purposes, let’s ignore that particular fact and just concentrate on the fact that I had an epic migraine and my back hurt, and I was worried about not skating up to my already ridiculous high standard.

I digress…

I reluctantly went to the information session with my synchro goddess friend.   I was heavily medicated and didn’t know my butt from my elbow.   Naturally, not only did I feel like utter crap, but I also was totally socially awkward (I blame my concoction of medications).  I was not my finest self.  I still hang my head in shame when I think about it.   Anyway, after some off-ice discussions about the team, dues and practice times, it was time to hit the ice.  If I had to guess, I would say that I lasted about 10 minutes on the ice.  I was dizzy, in pain, nauseous and entirely drugged.  I apologized to the coaches and got off the ice.  As I was taking my skates off, I thought to myself, “well, I’m never coming back as I just made a total ass out of myself.  Hopefully, they forget about me, so I don’t need to recount this nightmare embarrassment.”

Official tryouts were the following week.  There was no way in hell was I going to show my face.  My ego was still bruised and it was going to take some time to forget my epic failure.  For the record, I should state that in retrospect, my skating wasn’t a total catastrophe.  For the 10 minutes on the ice, I skated just fine; however, because I’m a Type-A, anal-retentive perfectionist, I didn’t skate to my high standard.  Nevertheless, the coach sent me a very sweet email encouraging me to still try out.   Unsurprisingly, I wrote her a short essay (one of what became many) explaining my current physical and mental state, how I was too embarrassed to show my face again and my inexperience with synchro would probably result in me not coming back, but I would see how I felt at the end of the week.  The truth was I still was interested, but I still felt like crap and I was embarrassed for my poor showing.  Like much of my life, I decided to leave my synchro-fate up to fate.  If I felt good, I would suck up my pride and go tryout.  If not, then I would curl into a ball and hide, and pretend this never happened.

No, really, I made a t-chart to help me make a decision

No, really, I made a t-chart to help me make a decision

Fate spoke.  Tryouts came and went and I was nowhere to be seen.  Like clockwork, I ended up getting a bunch of migraines through that weekend and was totally useless.  The timing of tryouts also happened to correspond with a big work conference that I was managing, so I was under a fair amount of stress (and anger!), which is probably why I continued to be a hot-migraine-mess.  I sent another essay of an email to the coach apologizing for not coming, explaining my predisposition for migraines, thanked her for the vote of confidence.  I concluded with the fact that I was not meant to be a synchro skater, but perhaps next year.  The coach emailed me back and said that they saw enough of my skating, that they still needed a couple skaters and that they would love to have me, if I was interested.  I was shocked, honored and totally speechless.  I had a huge decision in front of me.  I knew it was going to be time intensive and expensive, but it would be fun and different.  The ladies seemed really nice and the coaches were obviously cool, especially if they were going to let a fool like me grace the ice with them.  So, like all good indecisive people do, I turned to a t-chart of pros and cons of joining the team.  Each day, I came up with a new point, or counterpoint, to joining the team.  It was exhausting.  I couldn’t reach a decision to save my life.  I changed my mind on what seemed to be an hourly basis.  My wonderful spousal equivalent was incredibly supportive and he told me to not worry about the finances, and that he would chip in more towards our mortgage and joint bills, so that I could live out my sparkly, synchronized dream.  After several rounds of email-essays and debates with the coach, I made my decision:  I was going to be a part of the 2013-2014 Master’s team.  I was certainly in for a fun, new and different experience.

To be continued…Part 2:  More social awkwardness, false eyelashes and the joy of competing

Vacation hangover

Coming back from vacation and facing reality is a hard pill to swallow.  It may be one of the most depressing events that we willingly and repeatedly do to ourselves.  We work really hard, sometimes at jobs that crush our delicate souls and are mind-numbingly dull.  We save our money and hoard our vacation time.  Then we’re off, like a bat out of hell, where there is no looking back, yet there is only blue skies and sunshine ahead. There aren’t any nagging bosses, or stressful unanswered emails or annoying coworkers.  It’s a freeing feeling where you feel weightless because there are no responsibilities.  Unfortunately, we’re like a boomerang, and we are forced to come back to the same reality we were initially escaping.  It’s sad, torturous and sadly, it’s a necessary evil. 

It goes without saying that I just got back from vacation, where I spent eight glorious days in Colorado.  The first half of my trip was a skating competition and the back half was just pure fun.  For those magnificent days, my only worries (aside from skating) were eating, taking in the fresh mountain air and just doing a whole lot of nothing.  I should also point out that I think I belong in Colorado – NOT because of the whole pot legalization thing (that’s never been my thing), but because of it’s laid back atmosphere.  At least in Denver and Breckenridge, everyone was happy, stress-free and enjoyed the outdoors.  Nobody seemed to take his or her life for granted.  Ultimately, that’s all I want:  carefree happiness in a beautiful setting.

I’m not saying that my life is difficult or particularly hard – it’s not, not even close.  I know that I’m very lucky for the things that I do have, and I’m eternally grateful for that.  However, I am a Type-A perfectionist, who knows that things could always be better.  Needless to say, I’m always looking for a way to improve upon my already stellar life.  To me, perfection is like a hard-to-attain target – it’s not impossible, but it’s exceedingly difficult.  Because I like a challenge, I’m always striving to hit that unspoiled, obsessive, demanding goal of sheer faultlessness. 

Anyway, while on vacation, I felt like I was the best version of myself.  I was happy and relaxed.  I still had my quick sarcastic comments, but nothing overly snarky.  I woke up every day smiling and was ready to take on the day.  There was nothing that I felt that I couldn’t handle.  It was empowering.  In contrast, back at home in super-uptight Washington, DC, I constantly feel defeated, tired and stressed.  I regularly suffer from debilitating migraines, and I battle feeling truly healthy and energetic.  Perhaps, it’s the environment, as I’m also surrounded by a bunch of intelligent, Type-A perfectionists, so by default, we up ante when it comes to stress.  Maybe, it’s my job.  Maybe, it’s the location.  Who knows?  

Personally, I think my body is just allergic to all things that are not-vacation.  Clearly, I need to live in a world that is a perpetual vacation that is sporadically interrupted by monotony and stress.  Not the other way around.  

I’m sure my utopia would get boring.  I’m sure, in some way that I would miss the professional rat race.  It’s possible that my high achieving self would get angry that I’m wasting my brain and my expensive science degrees on doing a whole lot of (happy) nothing.  I would probably begin to feel unfulfilled, but in a different way.  On top of that, all of my happiness would suck my sarcasm right out of my body.  I thrive on sarcasm, and it’s a trait of mine that has only gotten stronger as I’ve grown older (and more jaded).  It’d be weird to not see life through my acerbic lens.  So, until I can figure out how to have the perfect life of a perpetual vacation that is both professionally and personally rewarding, I will continue to daydream and do my best to pay attention at work until this vacation hangover passes.

Beautiful, glorious Breckenridge Colorado

Beautiful, glorious Breckenridge Colorado

Stuck in a Groundhog’s Day/time-warp conversation

Dear crazy-neighborhood lady,

I should first point out that you aren’t crazy in the clinically, mentally deranged sort of way, but there is something slightly off with you.  So, my apologies for not knowing exactly what to call you.  This is what I know about you:  you ride a bike, wear a green helmet, live in my neighborhood and you love my dog.  But, here’s the kicker….  you and I have the same conversation over and over again.  It is the Groundhog’s Day of conversations.  To me, it’s a bit nutty that this happens, let alone time and time again.  It makes me think that perhaps the lights are on, but no one’s home.  Or maybe, you just don’t have the social normalcy that you probably should have at this stage in your life.   Let me paint a picture for you to let you know how this interaction happens.

You are on your bike and you are wearing an army green helmet.  I am walking my adorable dog, Binnie.  As soon as you see Binnie, you get off your bike.  Then, verbatim, this is what happens:

Crazy lady with green helmet:  Oooooooh my, what a cute dog you have.  Is she friendly?*

*(You ask after you have already stuck your face in Binnie’s face.  Thankfully, for you, she’s a sweetheart)

Me:  Thanks.  I certainly think so.

CLWGH: Oooooooh, what a love.  Is she a puppy?

Me: No, she’s an adult – a rescue.  We think she’s about 8, but we’re not sure.

CLWGH:  I’m not allowed to have dogs in my building.  I have a cat, but it’s not the same.

Me:  That stinks you can’t have a dog.  They are wonderful companions.

CLWGH:  What’s her name?

Me:  Binnie

CLWGH:  Is she a pitbull?

Me:  We think so, but again, she’s a rescue, so who really knows.

CLWGH: Binnie – you look like you have a great life!

Me:  We spoil her rotten.

CLWGH:  Well, bye Binnie.  I hope to see you in the neighborhood soon.

You then proceed to get on your bike and ride off into your time-warped sunset.

Let me point out a few things.  For starters, you and I have had this conversation for at least 2 years, and it happens about every two months.  Secondly, you never look me in the face, so perhaps that is why you don’t recognize me; however, my dog has a very distinctive look, so I fail to understand why you don’t recognize her, especially because you fawn over her like a grandmother dotes on her grandchildren.  Thirdly and probably most importantly, at any point during our conversation, does it ever occur to you that maybe we’ve met and had this conversation?  Because, it should.  The fact that it doesn’t ring a bell makes me worried about you.  How do you function in everyday life?  Do you actually live in the movie Groundhog’s Day? How do you hold down a normal job?  You seem intelligent, and friendly, so I’d like to think that you’re employed.  Perhaps, you have a job where you’re perpetually doing the same thing, which seems to be a real talent of yours.

Anyway, you seem nice and certainly anyone that loves Binnie is ok in my book.  Hopefully, after reading this perhaps you’ll realize this trend of a constant, time-loop of a conversation because frankly, it’s weird.  Now, when I see you on the street, I run to the other side.  Not because I don’t want to talk to you, but because I just don’t want to have the same conversation again… for the hundredth time.  Maybe, like Bill Murry’s character, you are trying to improve yourself and learn as many things about the locals as possible to find satisfaction your life.  Or maybe, most likely, you are perfectly pleasant, but just totally socially inept.  In the meantime, I will continue to avoid you in the neighborhood.

Best wishes,

Robin

The Relationship Spectrum

Relationships aren’t always black or white. There seems to be a murky gray area in between because both parties aren’t always on the same page. There seems to be a spectrum ranging from not-so-much-a-relationship to marriage.  As smart as some of my girlfriends are, I’ve found that they don’t always understand where they stand in their relationships, or they choose to not fully understand their “relationship.” Ignorance is bliss, right?  Not so much.  It’s time to face the facts.   Use this conjunction with Is He My Boyfriend and you’ll never be confused about your ‘relationship’ again.

Where does your relationship lie on the spectrum?

Where does your relationship lie on the spectrum?

The climate change panty twister: let’s think about it differently, shall we?

A realistic depiction of myself when I'm irritated: adorably vicious. Photo courtesy of www.cartoonspot.net

A realistic depiction of myself when I’m irritated: adorably vicious.
Photo courtesy of http://www.cartoonspot.net

The ‘debate’ about climate change (or global warming) really gets my panties in a twist.  I don’t even call it a true debate because I feel like the science is based on knowledge – years of research, testing hypotheses, replicating studies and a rigorous peer review process.  There’s a reason why not everyone is a scientist.  In order to pursue the answers to life’s greatest questions, it takes intelligence, patience and an unrivaled sense of dorkiness.

I’m a nerd and when scientists say with 97% confidence that climate change is happening and its anthropogenic, I don’t argue.  Scientists know their stuff.  I have faith in them and the scientific method.  That’s not to say that scientists are infallible.   They’re human, just like the rest of us, so they are capable of mistakes.  Certainly, as technology improves and time progresses, some scientific theories may also change.  It’s just a part of the process.

It’s obvious where I stand on this grand ‘debate.’  To the best of my ability, I try to understand the other side – the climate naysayers, as everyone is entitled to their opinion.  Interestingly enough, these climate deniers  also seem to have their panties in a twist over the ‘debate’ and they are very steadfast in their viewpoint.  Regardless, I feel like “global warming” has been in the news a lot lately, especially with  the fact that much of the country is buried under snow or experiencing below freezing temperatures.  Naturally, these climate deniers are having a total field day with global warming jokes.  “How can the planet be ‘warming’ when we have the ‘polar votex?'”   Essentially, both sides seem to be laughing…at each other.  And I find that to be mildly, irritatingly funny.  Aside from my minor aggravation,  I recognize that the real struggle is the complete divergence of opinions – there is no middle ground or bargaining chip.  Neither side is budging.  At the end of the day, we’re losing sight of what really matters – environmental sustainability and the future.   We’re not the only ones that live on the planet, and much to our chagrin, we aren’t going to live forever (although, I’m going to try).  We must leave our positive mark and we have to think about the future – as painful as that may be.  But, that’s just my humble opinion.

Given this stalemate in climate opinions, my very wise Uncle George has inspired this thought that takes the climate debate out of the equation:

Let’s just say for argument sake that the scientists are wrong – climate change isn’t real; it’s a cyclical event and human activity has absolutely nothing to do with it.  Then, if that were the case, what would be so wrong in reducing our overall environmental footprint and just generally cleaning up our act?  It’s been well cited that there are a litany of environmental challenges, such as contaminants in our food and water, endangered species, air pollution and dependence on fossil fuels –just to name a few.   By themselves, those are big issues that need to be addressed because they affect our health and general well-being, and they have a direct effect on the future.  If we truly care about future generations, don’t we owe it to them to be a little cleaner, be a bit more innovative and set a good example? You don’t have to be a climate change believer to be a better environmental steward and all-around better human.  So, I ask, what’s so wrong with that?

Is it getting hot in here?

Is it getting hot in here?

Surely, it would be great if we all drove more fuel-efficient cars, or took public transportation everywhere, or planted a forest, or ate nothing but locally-sourced produce, but that’s not for everyone, nor is it always practical, so let’s start somewhere small.  Collective small changes can make a big environmental impact.   For instance, what if you pledge to drive less?  This is a win-win because you’re not only reducing your own dependence on fossil fuels (thus reducing your environmental footprint and saving money), but you’re also burning calories.  Who doesn’t want to be a few pounds lighter or a tad more fit and a couple dollars richer?  No brainer!  Secondly, what about if you’re a gym rat?  What if you stop buying plastic bottles for water and started using a reusable bottle?  For one, you’re cutting down on waste, in addition to reducing the energy needed to produce new materials.  Secondly, you’re also cutting down on your fossil fuel usage, as most of these are derived from petroleum.  Additionally, for both examples, since most of our petroleum originates from foreign sources, shouldn’t we be weaning ourselves off our dependency on imports anyway?  Well, cut down on driving and disposable plastics, and BAM – you’re doing your part!  It’s so simple, it hurts.

What about switching to more energy-efficient light bulbs (like compact fluorescent bulbs)?  Despite the fact that they are a tad pricier than the alternative, they do last longer, thereby giving you more bang for your buck. Easy!  Lastly, let’s not forget the mantra – “reduce, reuse, recycle.”   Recycling is becoming increasingly more common and it’s one of the easiest things you could do.  It prevents waste, reduces the production of new materials, decreases energy use and lessens pollution (both water and air).  It’s a flawless plan!

I could go off on my pro-environment rant, but that’s not the point.  The point is that regardless of whether you believe that the climate is changing or not, what’s the absolute worst thing that could happen if you were more environmentally minded?  The answer is – absolutely nothing.  There is absolutely nothing to lose, yet there are innumerable things that could be gained – a cleaner environment, which positively impacts our health, wealth and well-being.  Sounds like a no-brainer to me.

Why skating needs some (more) pizazz

I grew up in the era of the Battle of the Brians and  Katerina Witt was queen of the ice.  There was drama, rivalry and sparkles – what was not to love?   I was totally hooked and ended up taking lessons that following summer (and never stopped).  I was twelve when the “whack heard around the world” occurred.  It was reality TV before it even existed.   It was too good to be scripted.  Seriously, an unsophisticated skater gets her ex-husband and bodyguard to try to break her rival’s leg.  It’s pure evil genius.  Naturally, everyone tuned in for the Olympics that year.

and proof that I kinda know what I'm talking about...

me, age 16 (back in the ’90s)

Through the ‘90’s figure skating was immensely popular.  I even would argue that the Kerrigan-Harding saga helped, as did Baiul’s love of alcohol.   Skating was always on TV.  I know, as I had about a million VHS tapes from various televised events.  The general public seemed to grasp the 6.0 judging system, perhaps they even admitted it was a tad biased and arbitrary, but it didn’t matter.  The costumes were (mostly) elegant.  The skating seemed effortless.  And even with an uneducated eye, you could kind of understand the judges’ decision.    Maybe you even argued with the German judge – why the hell did he give her a 5.7?!   It was totally a 5.9, in my book!   Perhaps, you couldn’t pick out a triple lutz from a  triple toe loop, but who cared; it was a joy to watch.  It was also during this time when Michelle Kwan rose to fame.  She was poised, elegant and rock steady.  She was always a gracious competitor and always a class act.  I still believed she deserved to win the gold over Tara Lipinski. That’s just my opinion.  I’ll be team Michelle until I die.  I digress….

Then, in 2002, an unfortunate thing happened – an Olympic judging scandal.  In that moment, the flaws of the judging system and the biased nature of the sport were exposed.   In this particular instance, there was a behind-the-scenes vote exchange.  The French judge was to give the Russian pair team first; in exchange, the Russian judge would give the French dance team first.  As a lifelong skater, I could have told you how biased the sport was, but whatever, unfair judging and skating go together like head trauma and football, and doping and baseball.   Sad, but oh so true.  Anytime you have a sport that is determined by a panel of judges, there will be prejudices and preferences.  It’s the unfortunate reality of the human condition.

A change needed to happen, and it did.  Enter the IJS – or the International Judging System – an attempt to make the scoring system more objective, which in my opinion de-pizazzed the world of skating.   How can you de-pizazz something with so much drama and bedazzlement?  Easy – make the scoring so complex and the skating so mechanical and formulaic that the joy has been totally eradicated; there is no amount of sparkle, nude mesh or lycra that has been able to rescue it.  Now, we are in a world where everything had a point value.  In order to win, you had to rack up a helluvalota points, thus upping the technical ante.    On top of that, the complex nature of the scoring made it hard for the general public to follow.  Why would skater X with a flawless program lose to skater Y who fell?  It all comes down to Code of Points and Grade of Execution.  What the hell is that?!?  Exactly…

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a complete supporter of skaters pushing the technical envelope and they should be awarded points for doing things that are hard and impossible (Pamchenko, anyone);  however, I believe that skating is at its best when it is the perfect melding of art and sport – that the best skaters are technically competent athletes with grace and musicality.  I guess I am traditional about something after all.

Aside from skating, what other sport is athletic, yet graceful and beautifully over-the-top? Isn’t that why people watch?  Surely football fans don’t watch because the players are known for their willowy ability to tackle each other.  Same with hockey – you don’t watch because they elegantly get into fights.  You watch because it’s pure grit and aggression.  It’s totally physical, and that’s what makes it awesome.  On the other hand, people watch skating because it is delicate yet deceptively tough– all wrapped up in a one lissome, athletic, bejeweled ball of perfection.  It shouldn’t all be technical ability, and it also shouldn’t be all art and grace.  It’s supposed to look easy, the technical elements should be wow-worthy,  and it should be aesthetically pleasing.  You don’t need a trained eye for that – you know what you like, and you know what looks hard (the judges, however, they DO need a trained eye).  So, how do you judge that in the most unbiased way – awarding both the artistry and pure physicality of it all, AND do so in a way that the general public can understand?!  That’s tricky.

With the Olympics around the corner, and the fact that there is a bit of a controversy over the selection of the US team, I’m hoping that skating will return once again to the popularity it once had, as I selfishly want to have a reason to watch skating all the time.  Technically, I watch skating all the time anyway, but it’s all on the Internet, and it makes me feel like more of a skating loser than I already am.

In order for skating to get its mojo back, it needs something.  Maybe it is in the form of a new star – someone that people love, someone with a great backstory.  This may even happen in the Olympics (hopefully!).  Or, maybe now that the IJS is ten years old people sort of understand it, and thus will be more inclined to watch. Personally, I have noticed that the overall skating quality seems to be higher than in previous years.  That may be due in part to working out the kinks in the new judging system, or it happens to be just an awesome batch of talent, or the fact it’s an Olympic year.  So, who knows what will happen and how.   I just think that skating is a tad bland and it’s missing a key ingredient.  It needs something other than various shades of chiffon to bring back the pizazz.   Regardless, I’ll keep watching.

Chazz Michael Michaels and Jimmy MacElroy are the epitome of pizazz Blades of Glory photo: www.ew.com

Chazz Michael Michaels and Jimmy MacElroy are the epitome of pizazz
Blades of Glory
photo: http://www.ew.com