I went to see Stars on Ice last night with my mom and dad. I like figure skating—well, really, who doesn’t? Not that I’m a rabid fan or anything. I didn’t have pictures of Kurt Browning above my bed in the eighties and I haven’t memorized the Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners in all the Olympics since 1972 in all four of the skating disciplines.
But I do like to watch a bit of skating when convenient, so the prospect of an evening watching familiar stars carve the ice up live held a certain appeal.
I was not disappointed. Those young people put on a great show, no doubt about it. They skated their hearts out, leaving me—and I suspect much of the rest of the crowd—in awe and overly conscious of our own physical inadequacies. I mean how do these people do what they do with such grace? They fling themselves into the air, rotate at dizzying speeds, land on a blade edge, and still have the energy to bow.
The sheer aplomb is mind numbing.
I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to appreciate the skating as skating, rather than as competition. Every time I’ve ever watching skating, apart from the odd run in with an Ice Capades show, the tinny music echoing through the ice rink competed against the voices of the announcers.
Yes, I believe he’s getting ready for the triple sow cow. There’s the preparation. Look at that speed. Will he make it? He’s launched. And Oh! Bad luck. He won’t recover from that. The Olympics are over for him. What do you think Brian?
You’re right Tom [sorrowful sounding ex-champion turned commentator who also missed his bid for gold]. The hopes of all of Canada for a gold medal were riding on his shoulders. I know exactly how he feels.
And so the rest of the program, which passes with flawless perfection, goes unnoticed and virtually unremarked. The poor guy fell. All the artistry and beauty and athleticism are for nothing. The announcers talk like he’s just died.
But at Stars on Ice, I can sit back and just enjoy watching. The music soars, the whiz of blades on ice reaches my ears with startling clarity, the sequins flash. I am transported!
One of many highlights is the two achingly beautiful numbers by Virtue and Moir, the Olympic ice dancing champions. I defy anyone to watch them and not get a lump in their throat when Tessa Virtue steps on Scott Moir’s thigh and they soar together in a wondrous arc across the ice. It pretty much defies description.
The fast footwork and dazzling jumps of Takahiko Kozuka, the new world silver medalist gives me goosebumps, while the sight of pairs champion Jamie Sale hoisted high in the air by just one of David Pelletier’s muscular arms holds just the right mixture of terror and elation.
But the very best part of the evening was when I looked over at my Dad. He was sitting forward, his eyes intent on the ice, his smile broad and engaged. When it was all over he enthusiastically declared the whole show fantastic.
And the very, very best part? The next morning, as I was saying good-bye to Dad after staying the night with him and mom, I chanced a reference to our outing the night before.
“That was quite some show last night, wasn’t it dad? The skating?”
His face lit up. “Yes, fantastic! Just fantastic.”
Yes, it was Dad. Thank you for remembering.