When I was in kindergarten we did a project where we children traced our silhouettes onto big paper, cut it out, and then decorated our silhouettes as what we wanted to be when we grew up. These paper masterpieces–literally our dreams in color–were hung all around the perimeter of the gym during our end-of-the-year kindergarten jamboree performance. (Which, by the way, was the first and the last time I ever recall the word “jamboree” relating to actual events taking place in real life.)
My own choice still surprises me to this day. But apparently in kindergarten I knew for sure what I wanted to be, without any waffling: A figure skater. The skating costume on my little paper cut-out was pink, and her hair was way yellower than mine ever was. And I never did learn how to skate much beyond “passable.” But still – the pull of the rink is probably going to be a life-long one for me. Not to say I’m about to go out and sign myself up for skating lessons as soon as I can afford them. (Gotta know one’s limits.) Just that, I think I’ll always find figure skating fascinating–that combined show of grace and strength, artistry and athleticism is one I find downright, irresistibly beautiful. And, occasionally, for a short few minutes or so, the dream lives again.
All this as a preface to these two video clips I wanted to share in this post. The other night, the US National Women’s Figure-Skating competition was on TV, and I was reminded of my kindergarten aspirations. During a commercial break spent (alas – bad habits I need to kick) in the kitchen, I was musing aloud how I didn’t recall ever seeing a Muslim woman figure-skate in a headscarf, and how I thought it would be pretty cool to see that. So following a hunch, I turned to Google later that night, and this is what I found:
as part of this Colorlines piece on the young figure-skater, Zahra Lari, from the UAE.
And this LP performance by the Canadian pair in the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City (I was 10 going on 11) is about the closest thing to perfection I’ve ever seen; I think I watch it about twice a year (at least), every year:
Commentator: “The hardest thing to do is to stay in the moment of the performance – one step at a time.” Life lesson right there.