Thursday, May 12, 2016

Remembering: The Figure Skating World Is Similar to the World of Harry Potter

This is one of my favorite pieces I wrote long ago that was redirected. (Now live and "sort of resurrected" on Wayback Machine...) 

  • Like the people in Harry Potter's magical world, figure skaters and their families look just like regular people and live in the "normal" places, but are linked in some unusual and magical-like way. Family and friends may ask, "Why are you doing so much skating?"
    A skater's school year may be extra busy with practices before and after school, Saturdays devoted to skating, and travel to competitions. Figure skaters may not have the time to do after school or church related activities; they may not be able to take ordinary vacations or visit relatives. Summers may be filled with hours at an ice rink instead of at the pool.
    Some skaters leave the comfort of their family and home for skating.

  • The figure skating world is something like Harry Potter's parallel universe. Harry Potter spends his summers with his "Muggle" relatives who don't understand or like the world of wizards. Like the wizards in Harry Potter's world, figure skaters live their lives in a somewhat parallel manner among "ordinary" non-skating people.

  • Harry Potter's world has its heroes and villians. The drama of "Tonya and Nancy" gave "ordinary people" a glimpse into the behind the scenes of figure skating. Then, came the 2002 Olympic figure skating judging scandal.

  • Like the people in Harry Potter's world, those who "know figure skating" even share a language and lingo that only other figure skaters really understand. Figure skaters have their own "lingo" and may be the only ones who know the meaning to certain words. Below are just a few words only figure skaters may know the meaning of:

  • Skaters of all ages and backgrounds can even become "instant friends" on Facebook. Those who are part of Harry Potter's magical world may also connect instantly. Many figure skaters instantly accept anyone associated with figure skating into their circle of Facebook friends. The link skaters have seems to cross every barrier. The ice skating world is certainly a connected skating world. Facebook may be a great way to reunion and/or make new skating friends.
  • When a figure skater joins Facebook or other social networks, it is common that less than 24 hours later, "Friend Requests" from figure skating friends from different years of of figure skater's life will pour in. Friend requests may be received from childhood skating friends, ice dancing friends, friends from an individual's early days of coaching figure skating, and friends met through a child's skating. A skating parent may hear from parents of their children's skating friends.

  • Harry Potter's world is an unusual and extraordinary world, and the magical people in Harry's world love their existence within that magical world. They especially enjoy the "magic" that is part of their lives and wouldn't want to be part of the "Muggles" world which seems boring in comparison. Although the world of figure skating can be an unusual one, most people involved with the sport love it and are addicted to it for their entire lives. Figure skating people do not want to be boring or ordinary. Everyone has a reason to figure skate. Some people just like the feeling of gliding on the ice. Others enjoy getting exercise inside an ice rink, and others like spinning, jumping, or ice dancing. Many say that figure skating is challenging and there are always new things to learn. There's a magic in figure skating that only those who have done it share. Harry Potter's magical friends share the same kind of passion and joy.

  • Harry Potter's life is very different. Is your life different because of figure skating? The answer has to be "Yes." "Normal" people wake up in the morning and then go to work or school. Harry Potter never quite fits into the "normal" world and the same goes for those involved with figure skating. Skaters may wake up at 4:00 am or 5:00 am and may skate two hours before school. They are back on the ice for two to three more hours in the afternoon. Their weekends may be booked up with more skating lessons and practice. A skater's parents may work two or three jobs to financially support their child's figure skating dream. 
    A skating family may rarely sit down at the dinner table together, and skaters may not be able to take part in after-school activities. Adult figure skaters may choose to skip eating lunch in order to skate during the lunch hour. Instead of taking vacations together as a family, skating families will travel great distances to take part in skating competitions or camps. Yes, a figure skater's life is "very different!"

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