Monday, February 22, 2010

"Now Or Never"

A few people who know me might tell you that I'm anti-Olympics... which, for the record, is not true. I'm just anti-spending this much money on the Olympics, or on a 20 meter LED Polar Bear puppet for the Opening ceremonies!

I think the idea of bringing countries and athletes together to celebrate sports is a really great thing, I just feel bad for a lot of these "kids". I've been pretty much watching the Olympics non-stop now for a week, which is mostly due to the fact that all of my regular weekly television shows have been put on hold. And as exciting as I think it must be for these athletes, I can see a huge sense of fear in most of their eyes. They train for countless years for only a few seconds or minutes to win an Olympic medal... that's a lot of pressure!

I've been very impressed with the amount of coverage the Canadian channels are doing for these games, but I just have not been impressed with the amount of medals my country is winning. So my anti-Olympic spirit kind of kicks in there when our government spends as much money as they did to help our athletes "own the podium", and they just don't. A lot of these athletes are apologizing in their press conferences for letting down the entire country? I feel like saying to them, "don't worry, my life will go on, you didn't disappoint me that much!"

It helps me to put things into perspective when it comes to preparing kids for dance competitions. It might not be on the same scale as the Olympics, but to a 10 year a local dance competition is! Our first competition is now less than a week away and my kids are all exuding signs of excitement mixed with anticipation and fear. They're nervous, which I think is a natural response to performing, but I want to be careful that they don't internalize that pressure too much. That way if they don't perform up to their expectations, they can still be happy and proud of what they did do.

I think for every studio the level of expectation for a performance will vary, and for good reason. It's like any athlete, you can't just announce to everyone that they're a gold medal threat if they've never won an event before. You have to be realistic with your expectations. There is only one gold medal at the Olympics... which is not true with dance competitions, but I don't think Gold is good anymore? I think it's like the Double Platinum-Diamond Excellency Award now you are aiming for?!?!?! Not every student is going to win a Diamond award every time, and they need to know that it may be what they're aiming for, but it might not be what they win... and if they don't, life will go on for them!

On a really great note, a personal friend of mine actually is in Gold Medal contention tonight at the Olympics. Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir are sitting in 1st position after two rounds, out of three, in Ice Dancing. They skated brilliantly last night, and I just have this feeling that their beautiful romantic Free Dance tonight will be a winner. Luckily I don't teach tonight, so I will be able to leave the studio early to go home and watch them compete live. I get that they have dreamed about winning the Olympic Gold medal for many years now, and will be devastated if they don't, but I hope that's not weighing on their minds all day. There is something really magical about Olympic athletes who perform in that position as though they really do just love what they are doing, versus those who look like their defending winning.

It makes me kind of glad that dance is not, and will never be an Olympic sport. I don't even know how you'd judge dance on that kind of level, so let's just leave the controversial judging to figure skating. And in case you thought dance costumes were bad, you clearly missed the Russian Ice Dance team skate their aboriginal folk dance last night in these...

I bet they didn't order this out of a costume catalogue... but I'm sure I could find something pretty close in one that I've received! Who says all athletes take competing seriously!!!

1 comment:

Steve said...

Great post, Robin! Awesome that your friends Tessa and Scott skated so beautifully and won gold tonight! I agree that the most important thing is for the athletes to feel good about their performances and to accept that while all of them are incredibly good at what they do, they cannot all medal. I also agree with you about the spending. I think that in order for the Olympics to survive, they will somehow have to turn the clock back 20 plus years, to a time when the Olympics were a lot more about the sports and quite a bit less about the TV show and the advertising.