The ‘SAD’ – I started out wanting to highlight a very important story: 50 years ago today, February 15th, 1961 – the entire 18 member US Figure Skating Team perished in a plane crash which also took the lives of other passengers and crew and 16 American coaches, friends, officials and family members. They were on their way to the 1961 Worlds in Prague which were ultimately cancelled as a result of the tragedy.

The ‘GLAD’ – I felt an enormous sense of privilege at being able to write this story for CBC’s website. I was able to rely on the help of a couple of Canadians, namely Debbi Wilkes and Donald Jackson, both of whom are well-known to skating fans as champions in their own righ and both of whom had a personal connection to the story. In both cases, things might have turned out differently for them had fate not intervened. The real honour was getting the chance to interview 5-time world and 1960 Olympic champion, American Carol Heiss Jenkins. She was recently retired at the time of the crash and opened her heart to recount the story and her memories of the people who died that day. It gave me goosebumps to talk to her. I heard the pain in her voice all these years later. It gives me goosebumps to write about it here. Carol told me she wanted nothing more than for people to know and remember. I now know and I promise, I will remember.

The ‘BAD’ – The ‘bad’ is what the kids would say today is “my Bad”. I know how lucky I am to be able to sit in my jammies and live in my head without distraction or intrusion from other people, things or events. I get to write about what I want – and for the most part I write what I would want to read. My issue is the distraction I feel at having a piece like the one above roll around my head before I write it. When I sit down at the keyboard, I swear its’ like it writes itself with very little input from me. Kind of like a ‘wedgie’ or an itch in an awkward spot – I am aware of the nagging feeling that a really great piece is creating in my head until it is written. I wonder if the distraction to get it titled and done shows in what I do in the rest of my life?. Am I walking funny? Does the partial attention I am paying to what someone is saying to me register on my face? Then miraculously, when the “itch” is scratched I am almost giddy with the satisfaction. In the past couple of weeks, I have had occasion to work on a number of “dream” pieces for me like this one.

On the other hand – there are the ‘other ones’ – either a subject or client or a situation that represents “gotta get it done” rather than “wanna get it done” writing. UGH. Those pieces are like facing the scariest pair of Spanks – tummy, thigh and body controlling panties. Double UGH! It takes a while to muster up the courage to wrestle yourself into them – not to mention the sweat involved. When faced with a ‘Spanks’ piece – my bathroom is rarely cleaner from the top to bottom “avoidance” scrub it gets! In the end though – my goal is for you to wonder – is she wearing Spanks under all that – or is that just naturally her? You’re not meant to know the difference.

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