Friday, July 21, 2006


Monica and I went to see the Gay Games VII figure skating competition. The McFetridge Center was packed. That was good. One of the ticket takers was a 50ish woman with long flowing rainbow colored hair. The other was a 50ish woman with short spiky rainbow colored hair. I liked their hair. Short spiky rainbow lady assured me I'd get cold in my shorts and short sleeves. She was right. On the way back from getting my jacket from the car, she pointed an I told you so finger at me. I told her I liked her hair and she started telling me how it was done and then shooed me into the rink because the pairs competition was starting. "You don't wanna miss any of this." Right again.

After the mixed pairs it was time for the same sex pairs. I knew it would be novel and we'd be proud but it was more than that. From the first two women who took the ice the crowd rose to support them. These were not skaters with precision double toe loops and triple jumps, awing back flips or blurringly fast spins. They were of different skating levels. Most jumps were tiny single jumplets, but you'd never know it from the crowd reaction. You would think they'd done a double toe and went right into a quad jump.

But they were good skaters. They were all very precise and in sync which is the beauty of pair skating. The choreography was fun and entertaining and varied with spins and speed and posing and drama and lifts and throws. Lots of oooo's and ahhhh's and wows! You could feel the pride and adrenalin pumping from the skaters to the crowd and from the crowd to the skaters. When the young woman from Germany lifted her partner and skated around the rink, I could feel the joy and emotion and triumph and the politics and the giant social statement being made right there at that moment. It was a familiar feeling that I've had when Debbie Thomas took the ice, when Sidney Poitier won his Oscar or Harold Washington was elected mayor. It was a feeling of see, the sky didn't fall, no children were corrupted. Get over it. Society will be better.

The finale production number included all of Team 2006 skaters. They skated to Christina Aguilera's Beautiful and was dedicated to anyone who had to endure verbal abuse. Each skater wore a tee shirt with a GLBT insult. Embarrassed and afraid they covered the shirt with a jacket. A few were bold enough to throw off the jacket and skate free. Eventually more shed the jacket until they all skated free in a circle holding on to each other. All of a sudden, this rainbow ribbon appeared and encirled skaters! It was truly beautiful. Christina sang "Cause we are beautiful, no matter what they say, words won't bring us down.... "

No comments: