Thursday, December 9, 2010

30 Days of [Figure] Skating: Day One

Day One: How Did You Get Into Skating

Pretty much anyone online who knows me knows this answer. The simple answer is Disney on Ice 1989. Scott Hamilton was the guest star, and they were here in Anchorage, Alaska. We don't get a lot of figure skating programs up here, so when my great aunt found out about the show she snagged tickets.

Auntie Marge was my very best friend when I was little. She took care of me while my parents worked. She could swear twice as good as any sailor, chain smoked, and was drinking her beers by 9. This was the 80s, before childcare became so full of rules and regs ha ha! She crochetted all day, loved her soaps, and was extremely opinionated (gee, that's shocking).

I loved her (still do) and looked up to her. She loved to watch figure skating, so long as it was AMERICAN skaters winning. She really liked Scott Hamilton, and so she used me as an excuse when he came to town. "The baby" (as I was often referred) needed to see Mickey skate. I didn't really know what skating was - I vaguely remember watching the 88 Olympics - but I was into Disney and they all told me it'd be fun, so what the heck, let's go.

I could not have been more bored if I were watching paint dry. I remember next to nothing about the show other than being bored... and the Mickey Mouse flashlight that we got at the door. It was blue and if you shook it the light would spin around. It had Mickey's face on the top of it. No joke, that thing was awesomeness squared. I remember jumping from lap to lap and wondering when the show would be over.

And I remember a man, with a radio and a chair on center ice. It was Scott Hamilton, and he was getting ready to skate to his Georgia On My Mind program. He talked to the radio, in my mind that meant this guy was different. What kind of adult talks to the radio? And then he began skating. For whatever reason I was mesmerised by this thirty something, balding, skater. His back flip sealed the deal. After that, there was no looking back. I watched all the professional skating shows, and managed to catch the olympics as well.

I didn't get involved with skating until 2000 when I found the world of internet message boards. A board known as Skate Forum became my safe haven away from high school stresses and I made some of my closest friends through there (and other boards). A couple of friends began working on official websites and let me "tag along" and by 2005 I was meeting "real skaters" at the US National Championships. I don't work on official websites these days (who has the time???) but I do stay involved with those skaters and I do continue to obsess over the sport (and I am a moderator at a very popular message board). I go to events when I can afford to (Disney is cheaper than skating these days) and shoot thousands of pictures.

And before I log off here's that program that started it all:

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