I have been playing hooky from the housework and my writing, and I don’t feel at all guilty. After the week I’ve just had, I deserve some time out.
How many of you know that the Winter Olympics are going on somewhere in the world? Or that this includes ice skating?
I heard about it last weekend and resolved to try to catch some of it. Not that this easy to do, for they never show enough of it on UK channels. You have to track it down on these weird foreign sports channels and put up with some peculiar screening methods. But for me, a lifelong fan, any inconvenience is worth it for just 30 minutes viewing.
In my youth, I used to skate. First on roller skates and then ice skates. As I watched Yuzuru Hanyu, a brilliant young Japanese skater perform one of the best routines I have ever seen last night, I was transported right back to when I first ventured out onto the ice. I could feel again the distinctive chill that permeates through any amount of your clothing and the sound of the blades as they slice across the ice. Along with the terrifying knowledge that if you fall over, it will hurt. A lot.
I was never very good at it, but in my heart, I would still like to be. The way I still want to be able to play the piano. These things, these desires have not diminished with age. They live inside me and somewhere in there, it feels as though I can actually do it.
Some professional skaters, in their search for excellence and faultless programmes, end up like robots, devoid of any style and character, and quite boring to watch.
But every now and then, one will rise above them, bringing joy to their devoted followers.
The young Japanese skater I was watching was absolutely brilliant, graceful, elegant, and so exciting to watch. The elation on his face when he came to the end of his programme was clear to see, along with his emotion at knowing he had surpassed everyone’s expectations, including his own.
There were tears in my eyes by then and also in his. It was as though we had shared the moment, and in a way, I suppose we had.
Next week, with a bit of luck, I will be watching the female skaters as they strive for perfection too…