Before this last Olympics, I had no idea that such a thing existed. All those hours in junior high when I danced in front of my bedroom's full-length closet mirror to Pat Benetar songs while flipping around leftover curling ribbon from my last birthday party, I was actually training for my future sport of choice. Twirl, twirl, kick, spin, oops, pick up ribbon. I was getting good!Alas, at that time, ribbon twirling competition had not yet reached the frenzied zenith of popularity that it one day would enjoy. The National Counsel of All Things Olympics (NCATO) had not discovered the greatness of ribbons back in 1986.
There I was, attempting to play field hockey and getting all nerve-endings completely beaten out of my bloody shins by those mean girls with sticks, when all along, I could have just been twirling!Ribbon twirling is like all the easy parts of gymnastics, the too much eye-shadow parts of ballet, and the bouncy forced-happiness parts of cheerleading, all rolled into one. It is the über-sport for cute girls with zero talent.
I knew I would fit right in. Minus the cute part.
Unfortunately, I am “too old” now to participate in ribbon twirling (the official rules cap the age limit at 11 ½); but, I have decided not to be depressed about this. Instead, I choose to do what anyone would in my situation: make fun of ribbon twirlers.
Can you imagine them on the Olympics’ bus back to the hotel after a busy day of practicing and competing? There they are, halfway around the world, making friends with other world-class athletes who have prepared for years for their event, when the dreaded question arises: Which sport do you do?“My name is Elizabetta, and I play beach volleyball.”
“I am Sonja, and I dive.”“I am Kioto, and I bike.”
And then a tiny squeaky voice comes from the way back of the bus, “My name is Tiffany, and I ribbon twirl!”The bus goes silent. It is as if someone’s little sister has snuck on board illegally and is begging to go to the PG-13 rated movie with everyone else, even though (clearly) she is only allowed to go to rated G.
You know how in jail there are hierarchies of criminals? The murderers get a certain amount of respect from their peers, because, well, because they are serving four consecutive life sentences for killing someone. Murderers are considered dangerous. The other inmates also clear a wide berth around the arsonists—you don’t want to make one of them mad. But the white-collar criminal who is in for six months for tax evasion? He is about as harmful as leftover wrapping supplies, minus the scissors. He gets zero respect, maybe less. The other felons make fun of him.That is the ribbon twirler. The ribbon twirler is the wannabe. Her winter counterparts, the ice-dancers, say, “At least I can skate!”
Even the ribbon twirler herself knows it is all a sham. After she kisses her Silver Medal and dedicates it to Justin Beiber, she shrugs and remarks, “Now onto the real sport: hula hooping.”MOV