1980 ….

3 10 2007

Ok … where is THIS tryp taking us???

1980 – I was ice skating, running track, running cross country, playing basketball, working in the cafeteria, road cycling, tinkering with cars and audio gear, and … oh yeah … in high school!  Really – I did make it to class, but after looking at my high school transcripts recently I am LIVING PROOF they passed jocks!

It was the year that I really got in to competing ice skating.  Too tall, too old for a lot of the competitions, but I did what I could.  Back in those days, you couldn’t be paid to do anything with skating (a show, teaching, etc.) or you’d be ‘pro’.  Trying to get sponsors was one thing people used to do, but I wasn’t going to be in that bracket .. more on that in a minute. 

 The thing I was really good at, however, were theatre competitions.  These nasty little events allowed for vocal music and interpreting with props etc.  It was theatre.  Other events … more serious ones … didn’t allow for anything other than instrumentals.  Theatres, however, could let personality come through … and actually a lot of the folks who were decent at the serious competitions … well …. sucked at the theatres because they weren’t used to expressing anything other than what their coach told them to.

Coming from a club where most of the good skaters were off at Nationals and stuff, I felt like I was very second tier … but jazzed when I was there!  I loved them.  I could get silly and wouldn’t hear about how I’ve embarrassed someone or the other until later.  Audiences didn’t know how to take me because I was so tall (I’m about 5’10”) and thin with a shock of mousy blond permed in those days hair … and not exactly using the staaid music usually associated with skating.  When I started, I was in the lowest level, so the maximum amount of music you could use was 1 minute with 5 seconds of lead as long as you didn’t move.  By the time I was finished, I was up to a lot longer, but it’s a long and short amount of time to get the moves you *had* to get in with the fun stuff.

In one event I went from Jump Shout Boogie & American Band Stand from Barry Manilow to Singin’ In The Rain (lifted from the Clockwork Orange soundtrack) to Fame or Maniac or some other tune.  Editing down to really short times was interesting as this was the era of vinyl records and you turned in your cued cassette tape … which you HOPED they didn’t misplace!  I kept a spare on hand … maybe it’s a good thing audio was kind of my thing.  Because the accoustics were so terrible at the arenas, I had two pieces I actually equalized so that they would sound better in the particular rinks because I would use the tinkling of a bell and represent it with my fingers.   

They even did encores!  I was changing into my next outfit when I was told I had an encore … Encores were for the Golds and I’d gotten a Bronze … they wanted me anyway.  So – after some girl did Some Day My Prince Will Come … out came me … what was my tune?  The Theme From S.W.A.T.! 

The thing about theatres was that once you got there, you could be entered in up to 6 events.  Me, being the lunatic I was, would be entered into everything I could … and then do my level best to remember the routines and come up with costumes that wouldn’t cost a fortune.  I rarely played it safe with my music choices and one of my dresses specially made by a lovely little lady named Hilde almost got me thrown out because they deemed the bottom to be ‘too showy’.  Oy!  You’d change in tiny alcoves where you had to keep close eye on your stuff because people really would steal things …

I usually went to these things alone.  Maybe it’s because I was so afraid of failure that I didn’t want to make too much a fool out of myself.  The coaches were there but only one of them realized how nervous I was … most were more concerned with other charges … and the families of those charges.  I kind of kick myself for ever leaving one particular coach … but the one thing he taught me was exactly what to look for in a good and solid coach.

Water under the bridge.

1980 is the amount of money that I’ve raised to this point through people telling others about my crazy site.  It’s for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and it’s how I’ve fallen into racewalking.  I’ve still got a long way to go!

As I write this, I think about how I’m sliding into feeling more competitive about my walking … ok – so I’m not in some huge sanctioned race where I’m surrounded by people who have 10,000 more hours in sneakers than I do … but I’m starting to move from just being happy to be alive and moving (maybe I’ll write on the car accident someday) … to just being happy I’ve finished the race … to wanting to do better … to trying to understand the parts of training … to getting my ever-loving fanny out with some pitchforking. 

The big thing is it’s one step at a time and the people I’m meeting along the way – they’re really amazing.  We’re trying to do things for ourselves — and cheer each other.  I’m sure there are snobs in this sport … but I’ve got no time for their drama … I’ve got another $2500 to raise … and I’ve got to get up early tomorrow and try to do 5 miles before I catch the 7 a.m. train! 

Time to dance …

It made you wanna
Jump (jump!), shout (shout!), knock yourself out
A boogie-woogie beat is what I’m talkin’ about
If you had the heebie-jeebies you could dance away
To the boogie-woogie music the piano man was playin’
You could jump (jump!), shout (shout!), knock yourself out
A boogie-woogie beat is what I’m talkin’ about
You could pull a switcheroonie if you felt low down
With the boogie-woogie beat of a piano man who’s goin’ to town




One response

7 10 2007

Ah the ’80s…really great tie in with the money you have raised for lukemia! Good for you. Keep on keeping on Liz. The world needs more people like you.

🙂 Chris

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