It happened again last night at Guard Duty. Someone asked me how often I skate, and I told them, and they retorted with, "Are you trying to go to the Olympics?"
I'm making a new Adult Skater Drinking Game: Every time someone mentions Olympics, take a shot. If they do it in a joking or snarky way, take two. This will make it easier to smile and nod.
In this particular instance, as in all of them, I calmly replied that I was too old to think about the Olympics, but I was aiming for Adult Nationals in 2016.
But it's still... stupid. I just have no other word for it.
I even had a coach, when joking about some improbable event, snort, "Sure, that might happen. Who knows, one of you (indicating us group of then Beta level skaters) might go to World's! Harharhar!" That was so.. not funny. Actually kinda mean.
Fortunately the Mean People are rare. Most of them simply aren't familiar with skating enough to know that, yes, there are lots of competitive events for the Seriously Recreational types like myself. For Adults, there's even an International Adult event held in Germany. (Yes, it's in the back of my head.)
But more than that, the Olympic Benchmark of success is short sighted. It removes the skater from the equation. I talk to my friends who do other sports, and they all have their goals: to run X distance in X time, to do some crazy Crossfit thing they couldn't do a month ago, to win a given Martial Arts competiton. None of these things have anything to do with Olympics, these goals are the goals of the Athletes. No one else's opinion matters. They can't. Because when you place the measure of your personal success outside of yourself, you can't win. There will always be someone faster, better, stronger than you. All you can do is be a better athlete than you were yesterday, and keep yourself as your benchmark.
On that note, no. I am not trying to go to the Olympics. If I do, I will be in the stands, likely snarking about music choices like I did during this year's Grand Prix. (No more Phantom, please!) But that doesn't mean I won't be a success. A sit spin and a Loop jump right now mean success for me, and those are a long way off. But I'm plugging away, bit by bit, piece by piece.
Two little girls asked me last night if I could do "that jump where you spin around in the air." I said no, but I did do a few little waltz-tap toes for them, and a salchow. A year ago I couldn't have done that, so I think i'm pretty successful.