Fortunately with the three hour time difference between the east coast and Vancouver, I have time in the early part of the day to get stuff done before the games begin - you know stuff like getting dressed, making lunch and other activities that somehow don't seem so important when there is ice skating to watch. Whatever will I do tomorrow when I am supposed to be working?
Today it's more luge and women's ice hockey, and tonight the big event starts - ice skating. The pairs always go first, so my hope is that we will be home from a long-planned concert in time to see the end of the short program. Luge: Today is day two of the men's competition and frankly there were more interesting things to watch, so I have let them slide on their own. Last time I checked on them, no one had been hurt so that's a good thing. This is a sport dominated by Europeans and Germany will likely win.
Women's Hockey: This is a series of games that will probably take nearly the whole two weeks of competition, but more than likely it will end up being Canada vs. USA in the end. Internationally they are the dominate teams and each won its opening game in this round robin tournament.
Hockey is a game that I should understand. I avoided playing field hockey in college by choosing lacrosse. I didn't get it that there was as much running in one as the other. I figured that there were lots of girls who had played hockey in high school and were likely to know what they were doing, while lacrosse was almost unknown in high schools in that time. Then I got really smart and volunteered to play goalie - no running there. With experienced players I might have had to worry about balls flying at my face, but luckily I had figured right and seldom had to work very hard to stop a ball from entering the goal. It didn't happen very often! I appeared to be a good goalie.
And, I roomed with a hockey player one year in college, but I never did really get the rules. Basically, there's this hard rubber puck that each team tries to get into the other team's goal - a lot like soccer with sticks, but played on ice. There are a bunch of penalties, but everyone gets a stick so it sort of evens out. One of the most interesting things about today's match was how pretty all the women are. Inside all the padding and face masks are blue-eyed blonds and brown-eyed brunettes who look like they should be posing for this year's college calendars not chasing that puck with a stick.
Pairs Figure Skating: Sadly we missed most of the short program tonight, so will have to settle for the long program tomorrow night. This is one of the premier sports with lots and lots of fans, so you probably already know the drill. Short program is 2.5 minutes of spins, jumps, throws, lifts, and - my personal favorite - the death spiral. It can't be too hard, because there are so many people doing it. Well, trying to do it. Did I forget to mention that they are balancing on a steel blade that's 1/8 inch wide and has a bunch of sharp picks on the front, and that they are moving fast and on ice? And, to music. And, trying to look like they are having a good time. Judging by how thin they all are, it must burn pretty many calories. Fashion note: As I mentioned the hockey players are pretty well padded - arms, legs, body - and wear helmets and full-face protectors. From a distance they look like the Pillsbury Doughboy in nicer colors, and they look hot (as in too warm, not the good kind).
For figure skating it's a very different story. There must be an entire industry of people who make those costumes. Full of ruffles and sequins and made of stretchy fabrics they fit like a second skin, with little skirts for the ladies. Some of the pairs wear matching outfits, while others coordinate. One American pair looked like they didn't get the memo and each one just wore whatever was handy. Maybe their music explained, but I only saw the pictures, so I don't know. The most interesting pair skated to "Send in the Clowns" and dressed as Pierrot and Pierrette. A nice change, except that her makeup rubbed off onto him. The best costumes will come with the ice dancers. Nordic Combined: This is one that I did not see except in re-runs at the end of the day. Apparently one does a ski jump off a "normal" hill and then races 10 kilometers. The US medaled for the first time ever today, so that's a good thing. This sounds like a sport where the competitors train by doing a lot of racing in cold weather - you know, in the snow. So not one that I am likely to choose for future participation.
What could be nicer than watching the seasons come and go in the garden. I hope to retire in about three years and spend more time just digging in the dirt. I'm not a professional gardener, but enjoy putting my hands in the dirt and seeing what happens.
For now, let's enjoy it together!