I have always liked figure skating–the watching, not the doing. My first remembered encounter with skating came from a novel. I first read it when I was 8, and had been prewarned that one of the sisters died. Then that wretched Amy with her pickled limes, clothespinned nose and novel-burning wicked self fell through the ice while skating. I was always disappointed that she wasn’t the sister who died. I was also thoroughly disappointed in Jo for dropping her anger at that little worm just because she narrowly escaped death. Ugh. But that sealed the deal for me–ever after, ice skating combined death and beauty in an eerie way.
Male figure skaters always seem more athletic to me than football or hockey players. Don’t even get me started on soccer and baseball. I love male figure skaters because they have power and stamina that they combine with artistic flair. Of course, the other men like to brush them off as less manly. And perhaps they are, if
“manly” ‘manly’ means grunting and toppling and talking in a deep register.
And right now I have to confess that I have become enticed into Johnny Weir’s orbit. I don’t “love” him, the way you’d have a crush on an actor or singer. I wouldn’t even say I’m a fan. But I feel like I just appreciate him. I’m rooting for him. Because everything I’ve ever seen of him shows a person who is a PERSON. Who knows his own mind and isn’t afraid to speak it or live it, even if others don’t understand. I’m doubly impressed by him, because most other male figure skaters are so single-minded until about 26 or 27. They are all about the sport and the training regimen. Johnny is about the sport, but he also taught himself several languages, is interested in other cultures, in world history. He’s the kind of person they don’t seem to make a lot of, and I appreciate him for that.