Love the sport for the pure joy of accomplishment. Love the sport for everything it can teach you about yourself. Love the sport for the feeling of belonging to a group endeavoring to do its best. Love the sport for being involved in a team whose members can’t wait to see you do your best. Love the sport for the challenge of working harder than you ever have at something and then harder than that. Love the sport because it takes all team members to give it life. Love the sport because at its best, its tradition will include your contributions. Love the sport because you belong to a long line of fine athletes who have loved it. It is now your legacy. Love the sport so much that you will pass on your love to other athletes who have seen your dedication, your work, your challenges, your triumphs… and then those athletes will, because of you, love the sport.
This isn’t exactly skating-related, but at the same time it’s entirely skating-related.
My main motivation for sharing this link (which I’ll get to) is that the website it leads to was invented by my dear and fabulous friend, Christopher Rouleau, who designed the 32blades wordmark you see imposed on the image at the top of this very page.
In addition to wanting to support a friend’s work, I think this particular piece is relevant (if loosely) to skating, which is why I wanted to share it on 32blades. In my view, figure skating has had a fluctuating love/hate relationship with the gay community and gay issues. On the one hand, the skating world itself is largely accepting and supportive of people who are gay, and the gay lifestyle. And at the risk of stereotyping–while also drawing on personal experience–there’s no shortage of gay men who loooooove the sparkly, sequined, drama-filled, voidy flair bonanza that IS figure skating. On the other hand, the negative connotations imposed upon the notion of being a figure skater, and/or a gay figure skater, by homophobic segments of the public have had hurtful and sometimes life-altering consequences for a number of people over the years. Male figure skaters in particular, straight or gay, travel a difficult road.
So, I feel strongly that it’s important for the figure skating community to support and celebrate pride, people, love, and acceptance.
On that note, I present the wonderfully fun and poignant Official Gay Card quiz, and the story behind it. In Christopher’s own words, “Take the quiz. Get the card. Spread the love. Enjoy and be proud.”
Thanks for listening.