Oh, I am getting off topic. I love figure skating and find that January and March are the two best months. I don't watch the cheesy ice shows where they have celebrity judges or Disney characters. I like the serious competitions: the US Nationals and the World Championships. I live for the Winter Olympics. I can usually name the winner and I know who has stolen a move from whom. Who? Whom? I never know which word to use.
Back to the subject at hand. I grew up watching skating and my mom took me to an ice show when I was little. I think I was 5 or 6 and we met Dorothy Hamill. She wasn't that nice, but I did get an autograph, which I have lost. Oh, well.
I followed even more closely in high school and college during the reign of Michelle Kwan, and she still reigns in my book as one of the best, if not the best skater out there. I remember her early competitions when her hair was in a pony tail and she wore pink sparkles. And as she grew, so did my admiration for her. She felt the music. She skated with passion. She was affected by nerves. She was accomplished and stylish and graceful, on and off the ice. She never beat anyone with a tire iron or laughed at another performer. She won and lost with more dignity that I can muster.
Each Olympics with Michelle was interesting. She came, she fell, she didn't win the Gold. Impressively enough, she told reporters each time "someone was better, but I WON the silver." Or the bronze. I am sure she was hurting inside, but she never let us see it. I am sure she wanted that Gold Medal, and I wanted her to have it. But she maturely stepped aside and let someone else shine each time she lost. It wasn't her moment.
After Salt Lake, the Tour of Champions came to Greensboro and my friend Kristen and I got tickets. We went and watched as random skaters performed their routines. They were nice and pretty, but they weren't Michelle and that is who the audience was waiting for. Sarah Hughes, the Gold Medal winner was there, but it was Michelle who recieved the standing ovation. Michelle's routine that brought out the flashbulbs. Michelle who walked out to the fan line and stood signing autographs while hundreds stood in line. No other skater came outside.
I was lucky enough to talk to her and get her to sign my program. She was very nice and sweet. She laughed at my joke. She made my day. My month.
I only hope that I can face each challenge in my life with the dignity that she shows. She may have complained in private, stomped her feet and wondered why someone else won, but we never saw it. She never blogged about it, or talked about it. Maybe someday she will write a book; I will buy it.
I want to live my life that way. I want to see my challenges as my own personal Olympics. I may not get the big prize, but I can gracefully accept what I earn. It might be the silver, it could be 8th place, but I will be proud knowing that I did my best. That is all anyone can do.