On Saturday I took a day off from work to go to the Skate Canada event in Kitchener. It was Q’s suggestion, actually. He knows how much I love skating, and when we discovered that this international competition was just an hour away, he encouraged me to go. I booked two solo tickets for the two sessions on Saturday and spent about 9 hours in a cold rink all by myself. It was heaven. Really. I am a figure skating fan from way back, and watching skating live and up close (I was in the second row) was thrilling for me.
I know a lot of you will be saying: really? Sitting by yourself in a cold rink for hours on end was fun? You paid for the privilege? Oh, yes. To me, skaters are like movie stars. Better, really. My profession is acting and singing. To me, actors and singers are peers. I don’t get excited about movie stars. They’re just people doing a job. But skaters? Skaters are incredible. I cannot fathom being able to jump up in the air, spin around three times, then land on the edge of a blade. It’s incredible to me. I’ve always gotten giddy around skaters. For example:
- Right out of university, I worked for a few months at a hoity toity fine china shop downtown, where the who’s who of the city register for their wedding china. While the job was boring, I did get to stalk Brian Orser through the store one afternoon. I also found out that a Canadian figure skating champ was registered there, and not only did I check out what she was registered for, I also looked at what the other skaters had given her. (Kurt Browning? A place setting. Isabelle Brasseur? A vegetable dish. Fascinating stuff.)
- I was once in a mall in Cleveland when I came upon three Russian figure skaters who were up and comers, and clearly not used to being recognized. I marched right up to them and accosted them with my severely limited Russian vocabulary: “Hello! How are you! I speak Russian badly!” They nodded and smiled. (All three went on to be Olympic champions. I don’t take credit for that. I’m just saying.)
- When I was in Mamma Mia back in 2000/2001, it was the newest thing and we had a lot of celebrities come to the show. I never wanted a picture with any of them-- from J. Lo to Burt Reynolds to half the Maple Leafs-- until Kristi Yamaguchi. Yes, in San Francisco, Kristi came to our show, and I tore out of the dressing room afterwards to meet her. I got a photo. I looked like an Amazon next to her. A big, blushing, giddy Amazon.
I could go on. I could talk about following Kurt Browning around at Canada’s Wonderland, or schmoozing with Elvis Stojko when I took another personal day to go see a skating event in L.A.. However, I think I’ve illustrated why I took a day off work and paid $100 to sit and watch skating for hours. I loved every minute.
(P.S. I tried to find the photo of Kristi and me today, to no avail. Here‘s one of me on the ice at around age 6. If I had one athletic bone in my body, I might have gone all the way.)