Since the Olympics began, not quite two weeks ago, there has been precisely one night that I went to bed before 11:30. More often than not -- thanks to the translation from Pacific Time event schedules to Central Time TV viewing -- I'm watching TV till 12 or 12:30. And did I mention that I get up at 5 a.m. on weekday mornings in order to get to work on time in the city by 8??
There's no figure skating on tonight. There IS a crucial Canada-Russia hockey game (& if you thought Canada-USA was a rivalry, baby, you ain't seen nothing yet). But I'm planning on crawling into bed no later than 9 p.m. If that makes me unpatriotic, so be it. A girl needs her beauty sleep.
I was talking figure skating with one of my coworkers yesterday. I said, "I can't wait for the weekend so I can sleep in!" She (ignorant of my personal reproductive history) gave me a "look" & said wearily (only half-joking, I think...!), "I hate you. My daughter (17 months old) keeps the same schedule whether it's a weekday or weekend."
Part of me thought, "Ouch!"
Part of me thought, "If you only knew. I'll bet you would be mortified that you said that to me."
Part of me thought, "So, only parents have the right to complain about being tired??"
And part of me thought, "Tough! -- There have to be some benefits to childless living." (lol)
*** *** ***
By now, everyone knows about Joannie Rochette, Canadian women's figure skating champion, whose 55-year-old mother died of a heart attack only hours after arriving in Vancouver last weekend to watch her daughter compete. Her short program last night was both perfectly executed and heartwrenching to witness.
Beverly Smith of The Globe & Mail -- one of the best figure skating reporters out there -- wrote a beautiful tribute to Therese Rochette earlier this week. She reminded me of a story that I first heard a few years ago:
Her mother was never more a part of her skating when Rochette skated to L'Hymne d'Amour, music suggested to her by [choreographer David] Wilson for the season after the 2006 Olympic season. Rochette wasn't sure that the music was a good idea until she played it for her mother.
Rochette was driving in a car with her mother, and when she put the CD in the car's player, she was astonished to see her mother begin to cry after she heard the first few notes of music. "I was shocked,'' Rochette wrote in a journal back in 2006. "I couldn't understand what was going on.''
Therese wept because she'd listened to the music many times many years ago, after a fiancé died in a car accident two weeks before their wedding, when Therese was in her early twenties and the two had had a long courtship....
... "It was HER song,'' Rochette said. After that, Rochette had to skate to L'Hymne d'Amour. She even used it as her free skate music at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin.
(The article includes the poignant lyrics of the song.)
The article also includes a fact I had not known before: Joannie is "an only child." Well, not quite. It seems she had an older brother who died shortly after birth.
The journalist in me realizes this is a story that needs to be covered -- and, in making the decision to continue to compete, Joannie has invited a certain degree of scrutiny. I realize that people are curious and want to know what happens. They want to wish her well.
But there's a part of me, perhaps the bereaved part of myself that still downplays my own lingering feelings of grief and loss in front of others, that wishes the cameras would leave her alone, and cringes at times when it feels like the coverage is becoming excessive. (Facing others after my baby's stillbirth was so horribly hard. I can't imagine going out to compete/perform in an arena full of thousands of people, not to mention millions more watching on television.) (But then, I'm not an Olympic-calibre athlete who's been training my entire life for this moment...) There is a fine line being trod here, between covering a story and preying on grief to boost TV ratings and readership. (And maybe I'm a little guilty myself, by writing about it here in my blog.)
But at the same time, there was no denying the love and concern and respect shown by the audience last night -- the virtual arms reaching out to silently embrace the young girl at centre ice and buoy her up as she launched one perfectly executed jump after another. I doubt there was a dry eye in that arena. (There wasn't in my house.)
"She is Canada's daughter now," someone wrote in one of the newspapers, and if there were gold medals for courage, I think Joannie Rochette should have one.