Of fans & friends

It’s an exciting time for football fans. No doubt you’ve already heard by now that the Gaels beat the McMaster Marauders in the OUA semifinals and will be competing against Western for the Yates Cup this Saturday. If waves of Facebook events ranging from pre-game drinking parties to T-shirt sales are any indication, this weekend is going to be wild.

I should stop here before I make you think this editorial is about football.

It’s about figure skating.

I’m pretty sure I just lost most of my readers, but for those of you still reading, this isn’t an open fan letter about how much I love figure skating, either. The hoopla over football this weekend reminds me of one downside to being a fan of this (otherwise amazing) sport.

Being a figure skating fan is kind of lonely.

It’s not the type of sport where you walk into offices the next morning to hear people chattering away about last night’s competition. It rarely makes it onto the news or gets broadcasted live, and there isn’t much off-season excitement.

As for watching a competition, it doesn’t involve dressing up in team gear or consuming copious amounts of alcohol, and I’m lucky if it involves a friend.

When someone finds out I’m a figure skating enthusiast, I’m met with one of the following reactions.

First, there are the ones who say, “Oh, I like figure skating too.” Fantastic, right? No. While you may think my first reaction is to say, “Wow, we could be friends!” past encounters tell me to approach with caution. Too many times I’ve been disappointed by their follow-ups: “I watch it once every four years during the Olympics,” or “Yeah, the stunts are totally wicked.”

The second group of people includes those who assume my current obsession is a hangover from my past. They are the ones who ask, “Were you a figure skater?” They find my obsession a little odd, but it’s an oddity that can be forgiven with the presence of some personal connection with the sport. In case you fall into this group and are now curious—no, I wasn’t a figure skater.

Lastly, there are people who go straight for the laugh. Over the years as a figure skating fan I’ve heard everything from, “Yoon, that’s not even a sport,” to “You and my grandmother would get along really well.”

But even with the drawbacks, I’ve been a fan for the last six years. I find ways to coax my friends to go with me when an event comes near the city, and I satisfy my need to follow mainstream organized sports with basketball.

The Yates Cup is this Saturday, and that’s probably where most of you will be. It’s not that I don’t have any school spirit, but I won’t be joining the crowd. At the risk of sounding like your grandmother, Skate America is also this weekend and my favorite athlete may just break another world record.

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