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Synchro and Personal Space - cellophane — LiveJournal
the story of an invisible girl
Synchro and Personal Space
Photos from last week's Mids

Last weekend I was walking past a room when one of the girls I skate with was walking out, and we collided. As we untangled our limbs she exclaimed, "Oh, I'm sorry!"

I shrugged off her apology. "No big deal." And it wasn't, it didn't phase me. I didn't mind being run into at all.

As we walked side-by-side down the hallway, she asked me, "Do you find you have trouble staying out of people's 'personal space' since you skate synchro?" I thought about it, and she's right! You can't have 'personal space' issues when you do a sport like this. Even when you do everything right, you're often standing shoulder to shoulder, grasping hands and arms, leaning, supporting, and pulling one another.

When things go wrong, especially when you're practicing new routines, collisions are frequent. I've been run into, elbowed, tripped, kicked, smacked, groped, and had my hands and face gouged by fingernails. I've had people fall on top of me, and I've fallen on people. It's just the nature of the game: when you are learning to skate in unison really close to one another, you're going to spend a lot of practice time on top of each other.

In other areas of my life when people accidentally step on my feet, or bump into me, or whatever, I hardly notice. I mean come on, somebody stepped on my foot and wasn't even wearing blades - now why should that bother me? Same with when I accidentally bump somebody. I apologize, but I don't consider it a big deal if there isn't any blood.

But it goes further than that. We are all so used to touching one another, since we spend the majority of our routine linked up. It feels natural to touch hands or shoulders when having conversations, and I have to restrain myself from doing that at work. It feels odd not touching my coworkers when greeting them. I feel like I ought to grab their shoulder or pat their back as I walk by.

As she and I joked, sometimes at work I feel like we ought to all stand in a circle holding hands before we go into a big meeting, and share a moment of silence while we focus on our goals! Then we can "pass a squeeze" around the circle, we'll clap, and we'll be ready for the conference call.

Monday, I'd just come from a full traveling weekend of synchro. I had to have the cable guy (a complete stranger) come out and fix my line. He gave me a form to sign when he was done, packed up his stuff, and started to walk out. I totally felt like I ought to be giving him a hug as he left, or at the very least an energetic handshake. Instead I restrained myself and just waved, then I closed the door behind him My teammate's words echoed in my mind, "Do you find you have trouble staying out of people's 'personal space' since you skate synchro?" Yep. It's a whole different world we've taught ourselves to live in.
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jeffreyab From: jeffreyab Date: February 7th, 2004 11:30 am (UTC) (Link)
I had noticed you enjoy sharing personal space and now I know a reason why. :)
swerve From: swerve Date: February 7th, 2004 02:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think it's an athlete thing. I'm the same way: I have to restrain myself from touching people because so many are uncomfortable with it. But it feels so natural to me.

My first close friend in Boston was an athlete and a toucher. She'd played soccer, lacrosse, and field hockey in high school. She was always in my personal space, draping an arm around my neck, taking my hand, that sort of thing. She would sit on my lap if there were no other seats. I think our mutual comfort with touch was partly why we clicked so fast as friends.

I think Americans in general are uptight about personal space. :)
bjorng From: bjorng Date: February 9th, 2004 09:26 am (UTC) (Link)
That's wonderful. Yet another reason why teams sports are good for you. :)
cannibal From: cannibal Date: February 9th, 2004 03:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, very neat photos! Is that you and L in the middle of the line of the really nice one with hands & feet up on the ends? I thought you were on an end, tho.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: February 11th, 2004 07:54 am (UTC) (Link)


Um, I don't think so. Do you mean photo #8? I'm not in that one. I am front-and-center of #2, doing this icon pose again. There aren't a lot of closeups, but the photos are pretty cool anyway!
cannibal From: cannibal Date: February 11th, 2004 08:29 am (UTC) (Link)
I couldn't tell for sure if it was you... yes, it looks like L in the middle of #8, is that not her? Wow, you look really fantastic in #2, if they made a sweatshirt (at those ridiculous prices, a sweatshirt would make more sense than a t-shirt, less percentage markup) I'd definitely buy it for you.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: February 11th, 2004 08:56 am (UTC) (Link)


Nope, not her, although I can see why you thought so. It can be a challenge identifying people at that low resolution.

aww...thanks! (: It's a bummer they stuck the watermark on me. Agreed, the prices are really out of control. It's still nice to be able to enjoy so many pics on the web though.
cannibal From: cannibal Date: February 11th, 2004 11:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Yepperdoodles, very nice.
mariegraham From: mariegraham Date: February 10th, 2004 07:45 am (UTC) (Link)
That's interesting - might be one reason why I liked you so soon. I've noticed people in Michigan are more definite about their personal space than in Louisiana. In Baton Rouge, when I'm walking down the street with a relative or close friend of either gender, we'll hold hands or link arms. I've learned NOT to do that with my friends up North! And I get strange looks when my Mom and I walk along holding hands in TC.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: February 11th, 2004 07:56 am (UTC) (Link)


Wow, that IS interesting. You're right, that would be a surprising sight around here. Young people can get away with it, but two adult women holding hands would look unusual.

It's a shame, isn't it?
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