After settling into my hotel in London, I discovered having forgotten a couple of key items namely a toothbrush and toothpaste and for some strange reason my make-up brushes. I am old enough and smart enough to know that I am no longer able to apply make-up with just my fingers (something has to hold the glasses in place) and a bread knife is also no longer an option for security reasons and ease of spreadability.

in any event, I went for an amble and located where I could buy a toothbrush/toothpatse got distracted, and, I wasn’t going to admit this, but also picked up the current issue of People (for the tub)…what is going on with Kate Gosselin’s hair???

Now for the skating part: I headed towards the beautiful John Labatt Centre to see what was going on and saw the last half of the ice dance practice here at the BMO Camadian Figure Skating Championship.

It is the same for me every time I walk in on the set-up day at a competition. The combination of the lights, the building, the skaters on the ice has the power to make time stand still for me. I just stand there and take it all in between quick hellos with old friends and colleagues. It feels private, almost like you are backstage before a show, as the only ones in the building at this time are those somehow connected in a working way to the event.

On the ice were defending Canadian champions, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir who did a run-through of their free dance including a new exit from their “goose” lift and their poise, connection and maturity is spellbinding. In flamenco styled costumes were Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, running through their OD and looking glamorous and dramatic like matinee idols from old school Hollywood. In a gorgeous shade of purple were Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier working on seamless footwork sequences with a freshness that is totally engaging.

On the ice the skaters seem all grown-up and ready to take on the world.

Off the ice, like every other kid on the planet, they just want to do their best.

Sitting on the bus to head back to the hotel, Vanessa and Paul sat behind me and wanted to know about my holidays and to talk about their own and giggling nervously at the prospect of the mid-term exams that await both of them next week and the lack of study time here.

You have to do a double take. Here are those same 2 people who just minutes ago were the picture of adult maturity and here they are talking just like teenagers. Then you remember, it is because they are just teenagers.

If you are like me and are a parent I want you to think about the commitment it has taken these kids to get here and to honour that with your applause if you are in the building and admiration if you are not. Heaven knows, I can’t get my own kids to commit to take out the garbage much less put themselves on the national stage for all to see and comment about.

We need to continue to remind ourselves: They’re just kids.

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