Sunday, March 2, 2014

Ice Dancing


So, I'm a total Olympics Fangirl. I don't know what it is, but there's something about the spectacle of a world stage just really draws me in.  Normally, I wouldn't bat an eye if someone told me about an international biathlon on the TV... but if it's the OLYMPIC biathlon, then I grab the remote and watch like a crazy woman.

Congratulations, Meryl and Charlie!
One sport I really do enjoy watching even without the glitz of the Olympics, however, is ice skating.  It's so graceful and awe-inspiring to watch.  My girls and I watched as much ice skating as we possibly could. But in the midst of the Sochi Olympics, I found myself drawn into the human drama of ice dancing.  For those of you who didn't watch, it was like a soap opera: the gold medal team from the Vancouver Olympics (the Canadians) and the silver medal team (USA) were facing off yet again-- and this time, the Americans were slotted to come out on top. But here's the twist: THEY HAVE THE SAME COACH. What?!?! They train next to each other every day-- in the same rink. And here they are in the ultimate Olympic showdown.

See? The Olympics are great.

Well, not to spoil anything for those of you who have been living in a cave with your TiVo'd Olympics broadcasts, but the Americans won! Meryl and Charlie performed better than any pair in ice dancing history. It was great.

But somewhere around hour ten of watching ice skating pairs, a weird metaphor took hold of my mind.  I was watching the couples do a freakishly scary pose like this:
Photo credit to Jeff Cable Photography- please go visit!

...when I thought: I wonder when people will start rallying for equal rights for same-sex ice dancing couples?

Weird thought, right? 

Because that would make no sense.  Ice dancing only works because of the differences between the male and female skaters.  Could you imagine a guy trying to throw another guy or a girl trying to throw another girl like this????????
These photos are hilarious. 
They're almost as addicting as watching the performances.

With the exception of a very few individuals, I'm pretty sure the physics just wouldn't work out. But even more than that, my guess is that judges would have to totally CHANGE the way they judge ice dancing and ice pairs.  They'd have to recalculate the level of difficulty for each element based on whether or not a same-sex or opposite-sex pair were performing it.  And perhaps there'd be new tricks that only same-sex couples could do-- maybe they seem harder and would have a higher base value. So, in order to be "fair," scoring would have to be totally relative... and that seems to me a contradiction in terms.

I'm just going to leave that thought to simmer and move on to a more positive, beautiful thought that came from this: ice dancing as a metaphor for marriage.

When a couple gets on the ice together, they have a JOB to do. There is a task that they-- and only they-- can perform for each other.  In the case of the Olympics, they are trying to get gold medals. Not just one gold medal, but two. But neither of them can get the gold medal if they don't get it together.

Heaven is like a gold medal. And our job as spouses is to WORK not just so we personally get that gold medal, but that both of us do it together. We have bound ourselves to each other in this very important work and this requires a huge amount of trust.  And an inherent acceptance that at some point, the other person will probably trip. Or not twizzle at the right speed. Or maybe they'll even drop you. And Lord knows that you'll screw up from time to time as well. But you  have to keep going-- together.  Because once you have started your routine, "together" is the ONLY way to finish.

With all these things romping around in my mind, I experienced an incredibly wonderful thing the other night. My family was out at Costco, doing our monthly grocery trip.  We usually go and grab a pizza at their cafe before the shopping, just to fortify ourselves for the epic trip.  While we were waiting for our huge, delicious, under-ten-dollar pizza, I saw another family waiting for their food.  The wife was with the two kids, trying to keep them from going crazy with hunger and impatience, while the husband was off trying to work something out at the customer service desk.  Suddenly, he ran over in his family's direction and the wife ran to meet him.  Halfway between the kids and customer service, they began a very intense conversation (albeit unintelligible to me because I don't speak Korean).  They were not arguing, but were discussing how to solve some problem-- trading ideas, comments, rebuttals.  Then they settled on something, gave each other a little kiss, bowed as they separated and he ran back to customer service and she went back to the kids.

There was no audience, no costumes, no podium to be had, but this was their equivalent of an ice dance performance-- perhaps not an Olympic one, but from the outside it seemed that they had performed well.  This was a couple that had practiced well, trusted each other, and come together when it counted.   Maybe they were just figuring out which credit card their rebate should go on... but that's what a marriage is made of, right? Little performances, struggles, tasks to be done, and Lots and Lots of Practice-- until one day we're chosen as part of His Olympic Team.  And what a performance that will be. 

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