Tuesday, February 16, 2010

ice and skaters...and the dutch

february 16 2010

Iceskating is in our blood.
No wonder.
Ou country is below sea level, and only the dikes prevent our country from disappearing in the waters of the earth.
We took the land from the sea, used the water for transport. Not only for ships and boats, but also to go from one town to another. Before we had roads we had ice, and my forefathers skated in the winter from one place to another.

I grew up with lots of stories about that time, and I still teach my children the language of the ice: when you can stand on it, when it's dangerous.

Whenever the temperatures lower, there's a thrill going through the country.
Because there's one huge event we long for: the elfstedentocht.
But that event needs good ice, alongside 11 cities and between them, so it doesn't happen often.

So we need to flow all the energy into another event and the olympics is the perfect place.
Our skaters are our heros, skating a festivity, and when others are near, we welcome them into our world of happiness.

So we sing, make music, do the wave, cheer, and sing once again.
We dress up like it's carnaval and we collect the hats one the large factories of our country issues each year.
As an extra we got gloves this year. Things that come in handy, as folding the top away makes it fingerless gloves. (Great for bagpiping in the open air too).

It's all very normal to us, but ohoh, how amazed all those canadians and reporters are.

When iceskating is involved, we behave like nuts, we break rules where there shouldn't have been rules, but we don't do any harm. We've just entered that corner of our heart and mind that's called "iceskating".

So Sven Kramer won and was so happy that he wanted to embrace his family, share his happiness, and he crossed the ice, climbed the fence and fell into the arms of his family.
That's normal to us. That's how it works.
But there are rules, and he was told that if it happened again he was no longer welcome at the olympics.
Hmmm, we can't even share our happiness anymore.

We comment on everything, because we know a lot about icemaking and skating.
Ofcourse we feel they should have asked us to make the ice, and when one icemachine broke down, we looked in utter amazement and then started to make music again.

The second machine gave up too, but the 2 numbers the band was allowed to play were over, and a deep silence bordered between the olympics and our ice-skating traditions.
So we all waited, we don't want to break rules... but then the signal came that the music could go on, and we celebrated....what? Our presence..., the olympics... Who knows! Who cares!

The third machine came on the ice als left this:

We can skate on that, but that's not how olympic ice should be.

Those sitting in front of the TV in the middle of the night, our time, were told by the presenter to get more coffee, a bit later we got compliments for still being awake.
Friends called me, just to stay awake while waiting for the final moment of the start.

Which came, but not after the third machine was removed of the ice and another, repaired one had a go at it.

Then finally the shot sounded.

While we were still having a laugh because of disbelief that something like can happen, and someone placed an advertisement at our national online market, saying two icemachines were on offer, to be fetched for free in Vancover, our Jan Bos skated his 500 m.

He became 6th, which is very good.
We're not short track skaters, we're good at the longer distances.

We cheered for the other skaters and commented on the next ice incident.
A large gap was created in the ice and any skater who would be caught in it would fall.

The gap was just washed close and the contest went on.

A korean and two Japanese won, creating a final feel of justice.
"Short legs, short track", someone mailed me.

And then the light in the neighbourhood went out and we all finally went to bed.


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