So mom and I spent a week in Boston, enduring Hell to get there, spending way too much money, and spending a lot of time in cold ice rinks to take in some skating. Three days of watching juveniles, novices, and juniors in the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center followed by, then to the TD Garden for the rest of it. It was the second time I’ve watched a competition, the first being the 2007-2008 Mid-Atlantic Regionals, which is hugely different from this affair.
One thing I did discover, however, is that watching a competition live instead of on a screen has both its good points and bad points You certainly get a better sense of how they skate watching from the rafters, just how big the ice is and how fast or slow they’re going. On the other hand, you don’t get the close-up view you get on screen, especially if you’re in one corner and they’re on the other side of the ice, except if in the TD Garden you watched the jumbotron, which kind of defeats the point of being there. There were even a couple of performance, such as Jason Brown’s LP, that I almost felt I would’ve enjoyed more watching on the stream. There were others which were better being there, most notably Jeremy’s short, and apparently IceNetwork had sound troubles sometimes, so it was still worth it, but I do not think I would want to watch every competition in person.
On the other hand, one boon of being on site to watch is the company. There are the skaters themselves, for starters, and not only out on the ice; during the junior men’s free Paul Wylie sat behind me and even asked to borrow my program a couple of times, and during the gala our seat were near the commentary booth, so as the crow flies I was mere meters away from Johnny Weir, which was a ridiculous thrill. But it’s not just the famous people. Wednesday my viewing experience was greatly enhanced first in the morning by ending up sitting in the middle of group of Colonial FSC members, who cheered their juvenile competitor on and were quite delighted when she won, then in front of a woman whose son would later win the intermediate men(though of course by the time the intermediates were underway in the Convention Center we were moved to the TD Garden), who kept a conversation up with her neighbors to educate them; she was interesting to listen to. And then there’s meeting net acquaintances; Friday evening mom and I went out to dinner with a girl I knew through Twitter. And even when you aren’t talking or paying attention to anyone in particular, when it seems noone watches skating anymore and there’s noone around to talk with about it, being in a crowd that talks like you and thinks like you and has constant conversations about the topic is really nice. So is sharing news with people while waiting for the bus, knowing they’ll be interested in the news you have to deliver.
As for the competition and team selection, well, it drove me to despair Saturday night, but in the end I’m very pleased with most of what went down and most of the team. Granted, they bumped the wrong girl to make room for Ashley, but I’m just relieved they made room for her(another part of being in the crowd was being able to partake in the standing up for Mirai at the gala), and more of the other people I wanted on the team qualified than not. Looking back to those Mid-Atlantic Regionals and watching Felicia Zhang dominate the novice ladies there, it was especially gratifying to see her now make the Olympics.
But now Europeans starts tomorrow! No rest for the weary skating fan…