DISCLAIMER:

The following ramblings are based on real-life experiences, mishaps, and downright screw-ups. Names (of past, present, and future boyfriends) have been changed or omitted to protect the innocent. And the guilty...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Eye of the Tiger


I LOVE me a good underdog story.  As a frequent underdog, they're truly heartening, and help me put my own life in perspective.  It's actually a really good thing that my existential dilemma has come in the middle of the Winter Olympics, because the Games are always a source of inspiration, and laden with tales of the "least likely" becoming the "most likely."  Last night's Pairs Figure Skating finals were no exception.  

Until this year, it was positively laughable to think that China could produce gold-medal figure skaters.  They rarely, if ever, even make it to the podium.  So, when China's Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao laid down a BREATHTAKING short program on Valentine's Day, everyone across the globe became a true-blue fan of the underdog. 

This couple is so cute.  They started skating together 18 LOOOONG years ago, when she was just 13, and he was 18.  By Chinese skating standards, these kids kicked butt.  By world standards, they weren't really anything to write home about.  They've been to the Olympics 4 times now, and are some of the oldest skaters in competition (at the ages of 31 and 36).  They married in 2007, and thought their careers were over, but their lives together could begin.  Well, Xue and Hongbo - WRONG!!  Their coach decided they would have one last hurrah - at the 2010 Olympic Games.  They moved into separate dorm rooms in the training center, and put married life on hold for a while to train for this last Olympics (for them), and boy did it pay off.  Not only did they medal, they won!  

The long program had some mistakes, but not enough to cancel out the highest scoring short program in Olympic history.  Watching them skate gave me chills, and when they were announced as the Gold Medal winner, I actually cried.  Yep, I did.  

The coolest thing about this victory?  Standing next to them, on the silver medal podium, was YET ANOTHER Chinese long-shot!  Qing Pang and Jian Tong  were in fourth place going into the long, and nobody thought much of them.  They were more than 5 points behind the leaders, but made a really nice showing.  Definitely enough to make China proud, but likely not enough to win a medal.  

Or so we all thought.  When the Russians and Germans both had falls and major missteps in their routines, the second Chinese pair had a shot at medaling.  And boy-howdy, did they take it.  I literally had goosebumps at the end of the 4.5 minutes, and cheered so loudly that I scared Rupert out of the room.  By miles, they had the best long program of the night.  Flawless, full of love, and fraught with passion.  Truly, an inspiration.  These two, together with their teammates, made Olympic and Chinese history last night. I'm pretty psyched that I was able to witness it.

Seeing such amazing perseverance, and realizing how blood, sweat, tears, and dedication can actually pay off, has really changed my perspective in the last 36 hours.  I got off of my butt, bought a new office chair, downloaded some CPA exam practice software, and moved the exam to Saturday.  I'm taking two days of unpaid leave to focus on preparing for this test.  My days of self-sabotage are over.  I am pulling together my bar exam application, applying for a bar loan, and putting the online dating on hold.  I've started a new book: What Happy People Know, and I'm going to work on overcoming my fear (both of failure, and success).  It's a brand new me.     

Sunday wasn't only "Single Awareness Day", it was Chinese New Year.  2010 marks the Year of the Tiger.  I decided that it's going to be my New Year, too.  The last 6 weeks are behind me, and it's time for a fresh start.  What better time to start over than now?  . 

Thanks to Shen, Zhao, Pang, and Tong, the Year of the Tiger is off to a pretty amazing start for the Chinese.  I think it may just be their year.  And maybe it'll be mine, too...  



Side Note: Along with Chinese New Year and Valentine's Day, this week marks President's Day, Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, and the start of Lent.  Whew! It's a holiday extravaganza!  To celebrate Fat Tuesday, here's an old favorite:


And for me and the Chinese:



3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow-- good point on the holiday extravaganza! Happy... everything! I found the enthusiasm of this post contagious. As I was having an intensely "how will I get this all finished?" kind of evening, I read your post and also feel inspired by our Chinese skaters! I wish wish wish I could have seen the programs.

Eye of the Tiger-- brilliant.

Hymas Family said...

I've seen that Ice Princess movie more times than I'd care to admit.

Stolen Sentiments said...

HA! I took my little sis to see it when it came out in theaters. I remember I was SO annoyed because she decided, like 10 minutes before the end, that she HAD to go to the bathroom. I had invested an hour and a half in the darn movie! I wasn't going to miss the end! I made her hold it. That was probably pretty cruel, seeing as she was only 7 at the time...

Hymas Family - I'm ready for some new posts from you!

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