Gilmore Girls Revival Town Meeting: I Smell Snow

Well folks, we made it. Here we are, nine years after the series finale and over the weekend we were blessed with four new mini-movies that brought us back to the little corner of the world that is Stars Hollow. We went on a self-imposed social media hiatus to avoid spoilers over the weekend, so all this week, we’ll be recapping each season with our own thoughts, since we didn’t tweet as it was happening. And let’s be real, 140 wasn’t enough. We’re going in chronological (GG) order, starting with Winter. Here we go!

T: For the record, I pressed play at 12:01AM and couldn’t get myself to watch it until 12:19AM. I spent my last few minutes on social media (since I stayed off of it completely to avoid spoilers), went to the bathroom multiple times because I made coffee, and to psych myself up, I even said to myself, “IT’S JUST A TV SHOW” then later, “IT’S TOO STRESSFUL.” I eventually pressed play, only to pause it again when Amy’s name came up in the font. I’m a wreck.

M: Winter opens with some of the “greatest hits” lines from Gilmore Girls, in case we weren’t already high-level emotional.  On rewatch I realize these lines also serve as a “previously on Gilmore Girls” in that we establish Emily and Lorelai’s relationship, the Luke/Lorelai thing, and also “oy with the poodles already.”

T: Netflix (per usual) has been great with PR and marketing for AYITL, and a day or so before the revival premiered, they released this video that made me legitimately tear up. Unbeknownst to everyone who watched that, it was the very first thing we heard from the 2016 iteration of Gilmore Girls and I teared up all over again. It was a perfect way to jump back into the show.

T: I HAD TO PAUSE IT AGAIN BC I STARTED CRYING AT THE LALAS AND THE FIRST SHOT OF THE SNOW-COVERED STARS HOLLOW SIGN.

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i believe the phrase “ALL THE FEELS” was created for this moment

M: Rory just got off a plane and looks great; Lorelai theorizes that she’s “been Gooped,” the 2016 pop culture references are here. Rory rarely gets back to town because she’s living an itinerant journalist’s life; Lorelai sings Cats In The Cradle to make fun of the town/Emily’s reaction to Rory’s infrequent visits. We’re back.

T: Lorelai: “I’ve missed ya kid. It feels like years.” SAME, LOR. SAME. Aside: when writing down notes in my phone about this, I used this emoji 😭 to signify when I either tear up or cry. So if you see that, just know I’m emotional. Similarly, I used this 😂 when I lit’rally laughed out loud.

M: After the first time we watched this (yes, this is the second) we and our friend Tori spent a while puzzling about whether the theme song played. It’s like we were so dazed and stunned that we couldn’t even register the first five minutes. (It didn’t play, by the way.)

T: Rory, while running around the town square trying to get reception: “You coming?” Lorelai: “No, I just hit my steps.” As two people who are insane about their Fitbits, THIS RESONATES DEEP.

M: Kirk wants to start a ride service called Ooober. This is the moment that one of my Gilmore Girls fears was laid to rest. After Fuller House (which I liked!) I was disappointed that the tone of the show changed. It was all winks to the former series and modern references posed as punchlines unto themselves. Yes, Uber didn’t exist in 2007 and this certainly places us in a new Stars Hollow, but it wasn’t a modern reference for its own sake – this is still a very Kirk thing. This is when I realized A Year In The Life was going to stay true to the mixture of pop culture and more obscure cultural references that it always had.

T: Exactly. I also liked Fuller House, but I cringed so hard when they all broke the fourth wall and looked into the camera to basically call out the MK+A for not coming back for the new show. ASP + Dan Palladino’s storytelling style and clear idea for this Gilmore world is like it’s set in amber – these characters will always be as quirky as they have been, but they’re aware of trends and pop culture hashtags that make them relevant and up to do, but not change the core being of who they are.

M: Kirk is still so KIRK, always with a weird business venture that he is bad at: he drills holes in his car’s floor (two people passed out, but “they were old, so it could have been old people passing out” or carbon monoxide), then the car breaks down and he starts using a small cart.

M: First time I really started crying: when Lorelai smelled snow and the town troubadour started singing.

T: Yeah, the smelling of the snow, Grant Lee Phillips, and the Gilmore home all dressed in Christmas lights all got to me too. We were back and I was overwhelmed.

M: When we go to Lorelai’s house it truly does feel like going home again – like when I’d come home to visit and it was equally surprising that so much was the same and that little things were different.

T: Remember how awkward Luke and Rory’s hugs always were? Or maybe Rory is just a bad hugger. But when she comes home and he hugs her, it was much improved and seemed like a much more paternal welcome than ever before.

M: We get a satisfying answer – for me, anyway – as to who Rory is with: Paul, an eminently forgettable but nice guy. There’s a running gag throughout Winter that nobody remembers anything he says (like when he told Luke he’d bring him an antique crescent wrench), or where he is (when Lorelai and Rory forget he’s coming to Luke’s, and then that he’s there when they leave). The takeaway: we won’t miss this guy when he goes, and he WILL go.

T: One of my early predictions was that Rory was going to be with someone when the revival starts, but he’s insignificant. And even though IRL I’d be so annoyed with Rory for forgetting who her BF is after TWO YEARS of dating, I found it so amusing that NO ONE remembered who he was.

Luke re: Pete/Billy/Jeffrey/Paul: I just forgot the entire conversation we just had.

T: Fourteen minutes in and I already have 10 gif sets I need to find on Tumblr.

M: Lorelai’s new thing is those TV movie thriller/ horror things that air on Lifetime.

T: I mean, I knew that Luke + Lorelai were together (MY ULTIMATE OTP SO THIS IS MAJ), and I guess I figured they’d be living in her house, but it wasn’t real until he was working the DVR in their bedroom (which LOL at Luke with any sort of technology). Of course Lor only has Lifetime movies recorded, but I found it meta that they were poking fun of them when Scott Patterson was the star of one of them not too long ago (See: my recap of Kidnapped: Hannah Anderson here). Anyways, their domesticated life in this scene is literally the fanfic of my dreams.

M: Lorelai comes downstairs to Rory “stress-tap dancing” in the middle of the night. Lorelai has been worried about her mortality after Richard died, which I knew was happening but STILL.  This is the moment I also realize that Lorelai and Rory are written as very anxious people, a trait that somehow never registered with me before. Michel agrees: “xanax was invented for you.” The fast talking, the coffee, the ruminating – and I’d say Rory’s even more like her mother now that she’s roughly the same age as early seasons’ Lorelai.

Rory: “You think I don’t know you? I have your eyes.”

M: Which brings us to: we’ve discussed this, and even though we’re just about the same age as Rory, now we relate most to Lorelai in the original series. For every moment when she seemed like an imperfect parent (dating Rory’s teacher, freaking out when she finds Rory with Dean), now I see somehow who has successfully raised a wonderful teenager by the time she’s my age, all while building a life and a career without any support. I just love Lorelai so much.

T: Same. I’ve always related to Lor a little bit more than Rory in general, but the revival has only reinforced that even more. Especially later on in this ep.

T: The running joke of Luke having WiFi but not giving out the correct password is SO Luke. The man has had a No Cell Phones sign for years, so what makes people think he’s gonna let them use WiFi for free? Also, he puts Rory’s New Yorker piece on the back of the new menu.

M: Love how proud he is of her. “There’s my piece (creaky voice:) wrapped in plastic.”

T:  😂 Lorelai throwing bagels at Kirk’s head is comedy gold. “Luke, you need to control your woman!” *gets hit with a lump of bread even harder*

T: Michel casually says Frederic wants kids, and I had to rewind to make sure he said “Frederic” and not “Frederique” and used “he” and not “she.” GOD BLESS. FINALLY. Also, Yanic fell right back into character and comes right out of the gate with classic Michel rants.

T: Melissa McCarthy’s absence is explained by her going on a sabbatical to work with Dan Barber at Blue Hill Farms (he basically made the whole farm-to-table trend a thing), and it totally makes sense. I think I like the pop up restaurant idea, but the fact that it really is famed LA chef Roy Choi in the scene is kinda taking me out – but not enough that I hate it?

T: Um. Guys. Emily’s new maid Berta is Gypsy (Rose Abdoo) in a wig. CANNOT UNSEE. (UPDATE: It’s definitely her. And Lauren gave insight!)

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T: 😂 Emily doing housekeeper charades with the handyman is perfectly bossy Emily Gilmore.

M: Emily has a portrait of Richard that takes up the whole wall. Lorelai posits that she “Spinal Tapped the painting.” This leads into the story of Richard’s funeral, which was my cue to press pause and get some Kleenex.

T: Through the tears of the funeral flashback, there were moments of both levity and heartache, including the moment Jason ‘Digger’ Stiles reappears after attending his former business partner Richard’s funeral. I thought his brief yet touching scene with Lorelai was sweet and the perfect sendoff. Especially because she called him Digger again and he called her Umlaut.

T: Let me start off by saying LAUREN GRAHAM HAS NEVER WON AN EMMY. For Your Consideration: This drunk scene starting with her telling Richard and Emily’s friends about her “favorite memories” of her father. Lauren played completely wasted so well, without it being over the top or unbelievable. AND THEN, the showdown with her in Emily in the kitchen – it was like watching Michael Jordan and Larry Bird on the court (Sportsball ref?). They both had valid points, and as much as I love Lor, I love even more that Emily called her out on being selfish – because who else is going to be real with her like that and make as much an impact? It ends by Lorelai reaching for the door handle and saying, “Full. Freaking. Circle.” three words that gave me goosebumps. This now ranks as one of my favorite scenes of the entire series to date, and maybe a little too resonant in my ongoing identification as Lorelai IRL.

M: Signs Emily is changed: she’s had the same housekeeper for long enough to know who she is, lets a large extended family run about her house, wears jeans.

M: Brilliant cut to Kirk next to Lorelai at Emily’s table (his Ooober broke down) that makes you feel for a second like the whole thing is a dream sequence.

T: Luke comes to the rescue to pick Lor and Kirk up – but why isn’t he at Friday Night Dinner in the first place?

M: Lorelai and Luke have been together a long time: when they discuss whether they want a “fresh kid,” Luke explains that 5-6 years ago, he saw a kid at a Little League game and said “that’s the kid” (which is supposed to be his indication that he wanted a kid, because Luke). Luke and Lorelai discuss having a child, which I love as a viewer but sounds EXHAUSTING as someone who realizes that Lorelai is the mother of a THIRTY TWO YEAR OLD ADULT.

T: This conversation is also a part of the fanfic of my dreams, and also touches back on a conversation that they had in the season 6 premiere right after she proposed to him (“Kids would be great”). Lor actually mentions the aforementioned “Twickham house” scene, and yet again, a great way ASP acknowledged L+L canon without being annoying about it.

M: Anyway, Paris is the surrogacy specialist they meet with. This seems like a weird way to get Paris into the picture at first, and not really what I pictured Paris doing at all. Except – now that I’m a 30 year old with a few degrees, it actually seems super realistic that a smart, top-of-her-class person like Paris won’t necessarily be running the world. We graduated into the recession and it’s not necessarily reasonable that every person is going to be a UN representative. (I’m not saying being at the top of a huge surrogacy organization and being seemingly very wealthy is bad at all — but I mean the way the thing you end up doing isn’t what you would have guessed when you were 18.)

T: I am obsessed with the reveal of Paris, in that we only hear her yelling at first then have her enter the frame – because Paris Geller is a YELLER, and I love that it doesn’t matter what her occupation is, she’s still brilliantly shrill as ever.

M: The running gag that Luke isn’t sure whether he’s supposed to have sex with the surrogate is great.

T: Is it weird Paris’ Dynasty Makers reminds me of Orphan Black’s BrightBorn Technologies?

Paris keeps referring to Lor as a second mother, to which Luke asks: “How much time did you spend with this girl?”

M: Rory is in London discussing a ghostwriting/cowriting job with Naomi, AKA the always-delightful Alex Kingston (red flag: Rory asks if the lawyers will take care of payment and Naomi says it will be 50/50 – but girl, you better get that in writing). Rory is staying with her … friend. Her friend LOGAN with whom she has a “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” relationship. Read: they hook up whenever she’s in London. Oh, Rory. Rory, Rory, Rory. Anyway, he’s still cute with a nice apartment and we’re meant to like him more than Forgettable Paul. I will say that out of Rory’s former love interests, Logan felt like the most likely to cross paths with her in later life. Of course we all know who we’ll be seeing later on in A Year In The Life, so we’ll see.

T: Agreed. Rory and Logan always seemed like a better romantic match (Jess turned out to be a confidant type/the type that I would want to date me not Rory). But listen, why is Rory still stringing along Paul??? The joke was funny at first, but now that we find out she’s been casually sleeping with Logan, she’s technically cheating on Paul. Did she learn nothing from the Dean situation???

me at rory rn

me at rory rn

T: Doyle is a screenwriter now and has become all Hollywood. THANK YOU ASP.

M: Meanwhile, Lane has exactly the garage band-y home you’d imagine she would, with band practice in the living room and lots of bright mismatched colors and adorable sons who she lets have fun. I mentioned before that I was really Team Lane and Team Paris, in that I figured that 10 years in the future, those are the people Rory will still be in touch with. Glad I was right on those counts!

T: #TeamParis shirt for me, please. Also, Lane and Zach moved into Sookie and Jackson’s, house right? Am I going crazy? Did they even explain why? Where is Jackson?

M: Amy Sherman Palladino made a blink and you’ll miss it Marie Kondo reference at the Gilmore Girls reunion panel, and it is so fun to see Emily trying to hold all her objects to see what “sparks joy.” (I did it. It sounds wacky but my house looks great and is always neat.) But just a moment for Kelly Bishop in jeans and a t-shirt? She looks SO GOOD.

M: Lorelai observes that “nothing is going to bring you joy right now” which is pretty true, though. Also it’s going to be tricky when Emily realizes she doesn’t have chairs anymore. Anyway, Lorelai convinces Emily to go to counseling – “really Woody Allen the hell out of it” – and also makes Emily realize that she’s wearing jeans, which – good as she looks – is a tip-off that things aren’t going great with her.

Lorelai: “I did something right!” Luke: “Law of averages”

Stray Observations

  • Miss Patty’s dance studio, still with wide open barn doors in wintertime
  • I love that it’s this unspoken thing that Lorelai favors vintage/retro decor: her stove and fridge and chrome kitchen table now, the jukebox in the Firefly back in the day.
  • “I have many irons in the fire” “I heard, you should become a blacksmith.” Our girls are back.
  • I LOVE GYPSY.
  • The town got Kirk a pig because they heard him and Lulu talking about having kids and it worried them.
  • Lorelai: “People are dumb” – the truest sentence she’s ever said.
  • The Shonen Knife version of Top Of The World plays when Lorelai’s on the way to Emily’s, and my first thought is that this was SUCH an Amy Sherman Palladino soundtrack pick.
  • #LukeDanesDreamMan fixing the vent in the Gilmore house during the funeral
  • Kirk, the man who asked Luke to catch him if he had night terrors at the Dragonfly, who fell asleep in Luke’s dad’s boat in Lorelai’s garage, who was saved by Luke after not making a map for the Easter Egg hunt, continues to be the adult child to Luke and Lorelai in the revival.
  • Lorelai automatically filling the saltshakers at the diner and Rory going behind the counter to get coffee without Luke yelling at her – small signs that the Gilmore Girls have made the diner their home even more so in the past nine years ❤
  • Paris’ high-profile client is Neil Patrick Harris. Neil Patrick Harris. NEIL PATRICK HARRIS!@
  • The woman who asks for the WiFi password at Luke’s is Mara Casey, one of the OG casting directors for the show!

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  • Taylor knows enough about YouTube stars that he name drops Zoella
  • Brian uses the spare room in Zach and Lane’s house? What is he doing with his life?
  • I want a video of Paris listening to Hep Alien practice on loop

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  • Because 2016 was the year of feminism (until it wasn’t anymore), there’s a female town troubadour. And she is…. Louise Goffin! AKA Carole King’s daughter. Who calls herself the other troubadour’s sister. PLOT TWIST!!
  • Ending with Dolly Parton’s Here You Come Again also feels like a very Amy Sherman-Palladino music pick
  • In Memory of Edward Hermann. Aw.
  • Despite the fact I kept stopping and starting Winter, I felt like I could’ve watched a solid 30-45 minutes more of Winter. That’s probably excessive, but whatever.

 

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Go Suck An Icicle: Pro-Snow Culture Hurts Children, Adults, Everyone

I thought that my TV said that it was 10 degrees Fahrenheit outside this morning. It didn’t. It said negative ten. I looked out at my snow-covered car and driveway and wanted to cry. I’m pretty sure I have shoveled every day for a month, and most of those days have been in the single digits or below. Yesterday my car ran like a cross between tumblr and a Little Golden Book: “I think I can’t. I think I can’t. I can’t.” The only vehicle that could safely drive outside right now is a Zamboni. My toes are blue. You know what I wore this morning? My clothes. Like, all of my clothes. If you have a grandmother, please check on her, because I appear to be covered in an old lady’s skin.

And lest you think I’m just bad at winter, know how Boston has had 100 inches of snow so far? That’s my city’s average every winter. I’m used to this, but that doesn’t mean I like it. Now is probably the time for a post about appreciating the simple joys of winter, or a chipper reminder that spring is just around the corner. I’m not in the mood for that. I’m so tired of our pro-snow culture. Snow propaganda targets our most vulnerable population – children – and tells them that snow and cold is somehow okay.  It needs to stop.

Snow Forts

When I was a child, every time we’d get a foot or two of snow I’d rush out with a shovel, gloves, and buckets and start building a snow fort. We had mammoth snow castles, with walls taller than I was and hollowed-out snow living rooms with built-in benches. When we were done we’d douse the whole thing in water so that it would become solid.

And do you know what all of that was? It was practice for being an adult who has to shovel in order to get out of your house to go to work. Bet nobody told you THAT when you were seven. Snow forts, I cordially invite you to go suck an icicle.

A Snowy Day

This beautifully illustrated children’s classic is beloved by kids, teachers and parents alike. It’s about a little boy who’s too stupid to know that snow is awful. And it’s responsible for propagating the myth that snow is somehow fun or exciting. My only consolation is that little Peter is now an adult who has to shovel out a section of yard so that his dog doesn’t poop in the house. Yeah. Those are the things children’s books don’t tell you about winter. Ezra Jack Keats is one of my favorite children’s authors, but from the icy shores of Winter 2015, I say that A Snowy Day can go eat snowballs.

The Chronicles Of Narnia

I, too, have a portal that brings me into a snow-covered landscape of crystalline cold. It’s called a door. As in, any freaking door in the entire Northeastern United States.

If I were the Pevensie children, I would have boarded up that wardrobe and maybe set it on fire to make it go away. And also for warmth. Because it’s freezing.

C.S. Lewis wrote an entire allegorical series about a mythical land that just looks like outside. Why are we celebrating this again? Narnia, go bleed a radiator.

Most Of The Jan Brett Cannon

Oh, lets all wear Fair Isle sweaters and frolic in the snow! That’s the harmful message of most of Jan Brett’s Scandinavian-inspired story books. Let’s flounce around with woodland creatures in the snowy forest! I can’t believe I fell for that hogwash as a kid. From the story about the idiot grandma who makes her grandson snow-white mittens, to the tale of the stretchy hat that a bunch of animals hide in to avoid a frigid death, these books try to make outerwear into something greater than it is. Cute illustrations, fun to read to children, but Jan Brett books can go snort road-slush.

Frozen

No. I do NOT want to build a snow man. And I’ll never know if an act of true love can thaw this mess, because right now I hate everything. Frozen can go lick snow tires.

The North Pole

What a harmful myth. Not the whole Santa thing, but that a mega-productive society can exist in the most frigid and snow-laden part of the world. In real life the elves would show up 20 minutes late to work every day, everybody would be out sick half the time, and the leading cause of death would be shoveling heart attacks. You want to make a toy for every child in the world, station yourself in Italy or Mexico. For every employer who doesn’t understand that it took you an extra half hour to drive to work and that you can’t stay late when your city is in white-out, we can blame the North Pole. Santa and his elf-slaves can go blow a snowblower. I’m done.

The Proper Age To Give Up Your Winter Olympic Dream

Remember watching the Olympics when you were a kid? There was a whole world of possibility! You could watch any sport and wonder whether maybe you had some innate gift for it and would be competing for your country in 20 years.

As you moved through your later childhood and teen years, your dreams had to die bit by bit. You’d realize that you weren’t even the best hockey player on your school’s team, or you’d fail to qualify for regionals in track. Maybe you shot up to a stocky 5’10 and realized you wouldn’t be much of a gymnast. Or maybe you didn’t get that far — maybe, by age 12 or so, you came to realize that you’re just … not athletic.

And yet, every two years – at the summer and winter Olympics – I start to get a little ahead of myself. Just like when I was five years old, I watch the events and wonder if maybe it’s not too late.

Well, friends, I’m here to kill those dreams. I’ve done a little research, and it looks like if you haven’t started most Winter Olympics events by a certain (usually young) age, you’ll never be using “next-level Tinder” in the Olympic village or wearing your country’s weird Cosby/teacher sweater in the Parade of Nations.

Obviously, there are exceptions to all of these. There really are savants who can take up a sport and be at a competitive level right away. There are also some people who are so preternaturally athletic that they’ll excel in any sport you throw at them. Of course, if you’re already skilled in a closely related sport, it’s also not that hard to take up a new one. Generally, though, there are timelines for these things:

Alpine Skiing, Freestyle Skiing, Ski Jumping

I guess with most downhill and … I don’t know, fancy, jump-y?… skiing events, it’s less the exact age that you start, and more that (1) you begin fairly young, and most importantly (2) you ski regularly when you’re young, not just on a once-annual ski vacation. Most Olympians started skiing – at least regular, bunny hill skiing – by the time they were six or seven. A skier could theoretically start later, but most Olympians came from skiing families and their parents weren’t going to wait until they were 11 to put them on the slopes.  Coming from a family that skis means that you got to ski regularly during your childhood – and definitely teen – years. A kid whose parents maybe took them to the slopes in sixth grade, then went once a year or so after that, just isn’t going to develop the necessary skills.

Cross Country Skiing, Biathlon, Nordic Combined

The great thing about cross-country skiing is that even very young children can start. It’s tougher than it looks, and competitive-level cross country skiing has massive energy demands and uses pretty much every muscle group. That being said, a very athletically inclined, very fit person could probably begin cross country skiing and move up the competitive ranks even if he or she started in early adulthood – if they were the very rare case, and put a ton of time and effort into it. If you’re interested, the US Ski Team website can point you to USSA Clubs that will introduce you to recreational and competitive Nordic skiing. At the very least, you’ll pick up a fun hobby and work on your fitness.

Bobsleigh

If you’ve followed the US bobsled team this year, you know that track star Lolo Jones joined the team after beginning training just last year. Of course, she falls into the “preternaturally athletic” category, so … you know. But I bet you’ve also seen Cool Runnings, right? If not, what were you doing in the 90s? Find it on Netflix or get it at your local library. Please. Those guys were from Jamaica – so, you know, not the snowiest – and began practicing on dry land. However, like Miss Jones, these fellas were pretty athletic to start with. The real problem with bobsled (bobsleigh, I guess?) is opportunity. You probably don’t have the equipment, training, climate, or local interest to start. But if you can get together all of those things, and are already a strong, fast person, and ideally have citizenship in a country that’s not very competitive about winter sports, you just might make it.

Curling

Curling is the one sport that all of us can look at and think “yep, I can do it.” Truly, you could start curling at a pretty advanced age and make it to the Olympics. It’s not a sport that relies on the sprightliness of youth, and the physical demands don’t require years of conditioning. Nevertheless, there is a certain skill to curling, and it will take a while to develop the knack for it. If you join a local curling club and get serious about it, curling is a sport that doesn’t necessitate childhood training. That doesn’t mean that anyone can do it – just that if you’re going to be good at it, you can start as a grown-up.

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Are you old enough to be reading this post? Like, your mom isn’t reading it aloud to you because you’re still getting Hooked on Phonics? Then you’re probably too old for this one. Most figure skaters took to the ice by – at the latest – upper elementary school (and that’s only if they’re really, naturally good at it). It’s a sport that can put a lot of wear on you, which is why you don’t see a lot of figure skaters competing after their late 20s or early 30s. By their teens, most serious figure skaters are putting in early mornings on the rink, and possibly getting home schooled. True story: when both my sister and I expressed interest in figure skating, my dad brushed us off with “okay, but you’d have to move to Texas to do it.” Why Texas? Who knows. We only wanted to skate for fun, but if you’re a serious competitor, you could easily move cities or states for the sport once you’re in high school. The only scenario I could see where someone could start figure skating in late childhood or early teens is if they already were already a very solid regular skater, and were skilled in dance, acrobatics, or gymnastics besides. And frankly, even that is a stretch.

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Take it from someone who lives in the cold, white north: most competitive hockey players get really serious, really young. Most hockey players start to skate when they’re really little, and are on teams by the late-single digits. Frequently, hockey players will join competitive regional club teams rather than their high school team. Of course, there can be exceptions. A very good team athlete – maybe at field hockey or soccer – who also knows how to skate very well could maybe join their high school team and get pretty good. That would be a rare case indeed, though. A kid will usually be competing pretty seriously by junior high. However, most of those rag-tag kiddos in The Mighty Ducks hadn’t put on skates before, and they were competing against the best hockey teens in the world, so who knows?

Luge and Skeleton

Sad yet true sign of my misspent college years: while watching the luge competition, I thought to myself “hey, this is just like an ice luge! But with humans!” Then I realized that I’m an idiot. According to the United States Luge Association, there are many levels of team participation, with hundreds of athletes trying out every year. It is best for kids to start luge by age 10, and it generally takes about 8-10 years to develop skills to compete at the international level. British athlete Lizzy Yarnold recently said that you cant start bobsleigh or skeleton until age 16. Evidently skeleton star Amy Williams didn’t begin until she was 19 or 20. The skill set just isn’t as fine-tuned as that for luge.

Snowboard

What I said of skiing is basically true for snowboard. Most athletes start young and practice regularly. The only difference here is that, at least in the past, a lot of snowboarders would start with skiing as kids, then go into snowboard later in their teens, already having developed the center of gravity to, um, get down a mountain okay. That’s changed a bit, and more and more people have begun snowboarding in childhood. Still, a very talented skier could begin boarding as a teen, turn out to have a gift for it, and be at international level by their 20s. In theory. Sometimes. Once again, hitting the slopes twice a year will not get you there.

Speed Skating

In countries where speed skating is a big deal (Hello, Netherlands. You’re made of canals), kids start on the ice practically right after they learn how to walk. If you’re from a less speed skating-heavy country, and are already a darn good skater thanks to figure skating, hockey, or just lots of practice and natural talent, you could put off competing until a little later. Speed skating is a sport of the young, though – the “masters” level starts at age 30. Ouch.

In conclusion, at least there’s still curling, right?

There Goes The Sun: 7 Reasons The End Of Daylight Savings Isn’t (so) Bad

As soon as the summer solstice was over, our days started getting shorter and shorter. I know, I don’t like to think about it either. But still, the darkness crept a little more every day, and as soon as Daylight Savings Time ended, there was no denying it: it’s dark. Really, really dark. Most of the time, even. If you live below the 40th parallel it isn’t so-so bad, but it’s pretty damn dusky where I live, in New York  (way, way in New York though. It’s like Baby Canada up here).

I know the end of Daylight Savings doesn’t actually make an hour go away from my day. However, an hour of precious daylight moved from the afternoon – when I could maybe do something with it –  to the morning, when the only benefit is that I can now do my makeup in natural light. Still, there is a sunny side (even if it only lasts about 5 hours day):

Days aren’t shorter – nights are longer. If you’re into that.

If your glass is half full (of crazy), then you probably don’t look at this as losing daylight, but gaining night. Maybe you like the horrible mysterious blackness closing all around you. Maybe you just think it’s cozy to spend your dark winter hours indoors, with fires or candles – because you’re probably a bit of a pyro, too. I’m guessing you’re also really confident walking through darkened parking lots and waiting for your bus on an unlit street corner. So, you’re probably really jazzed to gain even more night! You freak.

 We gained an hour of sleep! One time.

In exchange for that extra hour of sleep, you will be in total darkness before the 5 o’clock news from now until March. So, hope you liked your sleep that one day! You know that psychology experiment where they tell kids they can have one piece of candy right now, or 2 pieces of candy if they wait until the researcher comes back in the room? And they always pick the one piece of candy right now? I’m usually Team Adults, but I don’t think we’re any better. If you asked me, at 6am on a Monday, if I want an extra hour to stay in bed – knowing that I’d never leave work in the daylight again for months – I’d probably be like “yeah, sounds like a fair exchange!” This is why we shouldn’t let sleepy people make major decisions.

 It’s an excuse not to work out.

Let’s just say that some people work out because they like the results, like being able to lift objects, looking like they’re not in frail physical shambles, and whatever those “health benefits” are supposed to be. But, these same people sometimes find the whole process a bit of a hassle. I’m that person.  Enter total darkness during all of my waking hours. That does it! Note: you still have to go to the gym, this only works for outdoor exercise. Sorry.

You Aren’t Getting Sun Damage?

Someday, when we all have horribly eroded skin, we’ll look back at these dark months with fondness as That Time We Weren’t Working On Our UV Exposure. When those fine lines crop up, just remember – that’s the price you had to pay for summer. The November-to-March perma-night had nothing to do with it.

You Can Wear Whatever You Want Because Nobody Can See You

You call it winter, I call it a really low-magic version of the Invisibility Cloak. Those people you run into outside for most of the winter? They can’t even see you! Or, you know, they can’t make out the details, anyway. So, if you’re wearing two shades of black that don’t quite match, or scuffy shoes, or mismatched accessories, nobody will know (except for maybe people you see indoors).

 It’s Pajama Time When You Say It’s Pajama Time

If you get home, don’t really have anything going on that day, and want to change into pajamas as soon as you finish dinner (or before), that’s fine. Because it’s dark out! So, it’s nighttime! I definitely abuse this one sometimes. Think about it: if you pajama up at 7:00 in the summer, you’d have to be sick, pathetic, depressed, or all three. But in winter, when it’s already been dark for three hours, you’re just keeping it comfy!

You Feel Like A Productive Workaholic Even When You’re … Not

Yesterday, I got to work at 8 and left around 5:30. Pretty normal, right? Except by leaving under cover of darkness, I felt like I had put in a serious day at the office. If I’m being honest, I could have stayed ’til 10 and still only been half done with my work. The thing is, downtown seems spookier with the lights off – so you’ll forgive me for emailing some files to myself and finishing my work in my pajamas. Which I changed into at 7 pm. Because it’s not like I was going for a run. Welcome, winter!