Didn’t See THAT Coming . . .

September 30, 2008 at 6:34 PM (Dance, Friends, Musings) (, )

It was 7.00 A.M, and I was putting the final touches on a presentation I’d be delivering in a couple hours.  I was also waiting quite impatiently for my coffee to finish up, because once again, I was running on precious little sleep.  I chanced to look out my window at the loading dock of the stadium next to my building in time to see a pack of techies flooding out of a truck that had just pulled in for whatever performance is happening tonight.  I saw that many of them had Dunkin’ Donuts cups clasped in their hands, and I suddenly flashed back to when I was the captain of my college’s ballroom dance team.  I remembered cursing existence as I would drag myself out of bed as early as 3.30 A.M. to get myself ready and out the door by 5.00, to get to the team’s vans by 5.15, to meet everyone by 5.30, to call the latecomers by 5.45, and to be on the road moving by 6.00 to arrive at a comp by 7.30.  What would follow would typically be a 13- to 14-hour day of dancing and team parenting, and eventually another hour-and-a-half ride home.

I guess seeing the techies clinging to their coffee reminded me of how we usually had time to stop for caffeine on the way to a competition.  The strange thing was that I didn’t look back on that time with any distaste or regret.  As a matter of fact, I found myself missing it.  Yes, we all loathed being up at some ungodly hour of the morning, but we loathed it together, and we did it in anticipation of a great day ahead.  During the van ride, as we gradually woke up, the adrenaline slowly began to take over, and by the time we got to the competition, most of us were chomping at the bit and in high spirits.

Don’t get me wrong: I love my current team, even more so than my collegiate team.  We all support each other like family, but there’s something particularly adhesive about a group of people all forced to be up at the same early hour to pile into the same van to go to a comp and be stuck together for the greater part of a day.  Not only are members obligated to themselves and their partners to be at the van on time, but they are also abligated to the rest of the group: everyone got up at 5.00 so that everyone could get to the comp on time; it only made sense that they should cheer each other on, as well.  My current team has the luxury of personal automobiles: couples may not show up to a competition more than a few hours before their events, rather than getting there in time for the first team members’ events.  If they have their own means of getting to the comp, why lose sleep to be at an event by 10.00 A.M. if they don’t have to dance until 6.00 P.M.?

This has been a little bit of a sore spot for me on this team.  Because my partner and I compete at a lower experience level than most of the other team members, we typically get stuck with the Sunday 10.00 A.M. events.  That means that I’m usually up by 7.00 or 8.00 in the morning to deal with my hair and makeup, and that’s frequently after I stayed up past 11.00 P.M. the previous Saturday evening in order to support my higher level teammates compete.  Meanwhile, the friends I just spent $40 and three hours of sleep to watch the night before enjoy the luxury of sleeping through my heats.  Or, if we’re all competing the same day, even if my partner and I are competing in the afternoon, too frequently do I realise that our more advanced friends are busy warming up, or getting ready for their events, and can’t spare the time to watch us.

I understand that we’re all at the competition for the same reason: to dance, and to dance well.  It’s up to each of us to determine our priorities so that when it’s time for our events, we’re all in the best condition to perform.  That said, none of us are obligated to watch each other dance, especially if it may affect our own dancing later on, or in a slightly less relevant case, our wallets (ballroom entry fees can get pretty steep, depending on the competition).  It is my choice to go support my friends when they are dancing.  We have no written contracts bonding us to reciprocation of support.  I also understand that no matter how frustrating it is when my partner and I dance in front of an audience of strangers, that I will continue to support my friends when they dance, anyway.  It’s in my nature.

WARNING: Whining Alert!  The author is about to talk about the way things should be versus how they are.
That said, I do wish people on the team felt at least a little obligated to support all team members, not just the ones whose events fit conveniently into their schedules.  Out of curiosity, I just consulted the good ole’ Oxford English dictionary for a definition of “team.”  These two seemed relevant:

4. a. fig. Applied to persons drawing together.
b. transf. A number of persons associated in some joint action; now esp. a definite number of persons forming a side in a match, in any team sport; hence, a group collaborating in their professional work or in some enterprise or assignment. (http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50247958?query_type=word&queryword=team&first=1&max_to_show=10&sort_type=alpha&result_place=1&search_id=peAc-usXT7i-11125&hilite=50247958).

Okay, so there’s nothing about mutual support in order for a team to be truly cohesive, but there should be.  As I’ve mentioned many of these people are not just teammates: they’re friends, as well.  We hang out after practise.  Sometimes we even do non-dance stuff together.  We’re hardly strangers to one another.  If nothing else, as my friends, should I still have to ask them if they will watch me compete?

It is my choice to go support my friends when they are dancing.  We have no written contracts bonding us to reciprocation of support.  I also understand that no matter how frustrating it is when my partner and I dance in front of an audience of strangers, that I will continue to support my friends when they dance, anyway.  It’s in my nature.

Apologies – I definitely wasn’t counting on this turning into a rant.  That said, it’s my blog, and I’ll write whatever I gosh-darned well please!

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1 Comment

  1. Checking Out Boston Gigs: Love In Stockholm « And Here, We Have My Musings said,

    […] I was angry with myself.  Wasn’t I just complaining last September about my friends never coming to support me at my dance events?  One thing that I dislike more […]

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