The Pure Joy of Muscle Memory

At home one afternoon, after returning from my studio, I became riveted to an exhibition ice skating special on the television. For the past several weeks, in anticipation of the upcoming winter Olympics, there have been various winter related sports venues scheduled on the weekend. From a publicity aspect, these can wet the appetites of the public and elevate a high level of interest to these events.

However, this show was different. The performing ice skaters had a very special place in my heart. Because my daughter ice skated as a young child, my interest was already elevated to a high level and viewing ice skating events, taping them, and enjoying ice skating events were quite the norm. Performing on the ice in this particular special were skaters from “my past.” Skaters such as Ekaterina Gordeeva and Steven Cousins, Scott Hamilton, and Kurt Browning. What I observed and subsequently made me smile within, was the beauty and utter ease at which they sailed over the ice…into the jumps and out to an intricate footwork sequence into a gorgeous spiral (a moving arabesque).

These skaters were not going to the Olympics and all had families of their own now. They were no longer in their prime but their muscle memory and their years of preparing for their goal brought them to this point of excellence in their careers. Because of mental focus, a learned regiment of proper nutrition and continued practice sessions, they seemed to have been granted a pass all of us wish for. The ability to call upon muscle memory and expect nothing less than an image of what once was, is akin to playing a video (I’m dating myself) and then replicating the image in real time!

Joseph Pilates
Joseph Pilates

I remembered how I watched these skaters live on television and remembered their heartwarming stories of hardship and perseverance and the fortitude and and commitment they gave for their art. The many years of training and skill, so frustrating for them in their developing years of growth had now transformed them into icons of our generation to admire.

Specials of this nature vary, I realize and not everyone is a devotee of ice skating. I can as easily admire and recognize the skills of skiing, snowboarding, downhill racing and even cross country skiing. However, my heart was most definitely warmed to see idols of my “time” and how beautifully they skated and for an hour I was transported back in time to a very “happy” place!