February 12, 2010

Waiting for the Torch

The Olympic motto is (I bet you all know) Citius, Altius Fortius - which translates into Faster, Higher, Stronger, and it's all I can think today, while I sit here with my suitcase full of yarn and a big plan, waiting for the Olympics to begin so I can cast on, and I know that at least 2000 of you (because that's how many knitters  have signed up in the last 48 hours)  are waiting too.. and I bet that like me, you're having trouble explaining this urge.  It isn't that I like crazy knitting stuff (ok. It isn't that I just like crazy knitting stuff) and it isn't (just) that I like a big plan (which I do.)

It's that  really love the idea of an epic, once every four years.  A chance to find out what you're made of. A chance to find out what can be done in a few short days.  A chance to find out that you're a way, way better knitter than you thought you were, and a chance to find out that you're pretty amazing, actually - all while you watch other humans do their best too.  It's not like I really equate being an alpine skier at the Olympics to knitting a sweater in 17 days, but truth be told, it does make me feel just a little kinship.  The next 17 days will be the culmination of a lot of practicing, hopes and work for a lot of athletes from all over the world, and there I'll be, making the most of my skills right alongside of them, challenging myself, just like them - and as crazy as it seems, it makes me feel sort of supportive and a part of things.   What follows is a reposting of the original Knitting Olympics pledge. 


Today, thousands of knitters stand sit poised to knit their way to greatness. For most of us, this is a close as we are going to come to they Olympics...Welcome to knitting as a personal sport.

A sport is defined as a physically and mentally challenging activity carried out with a recreational purpose for competition, for self-enjoyment, to attain excellence, for the development of a skill or for some combination of these traits.

Today -when the opening ceremonies begin,  or while you watch the Olympic flame being lit in Vancouver (I'm starting as the torch is lit)  these thousands of sporting knitters will all lift their needles and begin a personal epic, an odyssey of excellence, and a phenomenal period of seventeen whole days in which they will strive to improve themselves as knitters, however they personally define it. These knitters, having created their own challenges, pay tribute to the real athletes who (inexplicably) find their greatness in ways other than those of wool.

It is my greatest pleasure to imagine a wave of energy released at that time, streaming through the world, rushing poignantly from the needles of women and men of excellence paying homage to the old and mighty idea of challenge elevating the human spirit.

It is not whether you fail or knit. It is not whether you get a sweater or you simply learn what wonder you can achieve when you think about knitting for seventeen days. It is the magic of the combined effort of thousands of knitters all making the smallest of movements with their hands, adding up to the greatest epic of craftspeople all knitting for one goal, at one time, ever known.
(Cue the music...)

The Knitting Olympics Athletes Pledge

I, a knitter of able hands and quick wits, to hereby swear that over the course of these Olympics I will uphold the highest standard of knitterly excellence.

I will be deft of hand and sure of pattern, I will overcome troubles of yarn overs and misplaced decreases. I will use the gifts of intelligence and persistence (as well as caffeine and chocolate) and I will execute my art to the highest form, carrying with me the hope for excellence known to every knitter.

I strive to win. To do my best, and to approach the needles with my own best effort in mind, without comparing myself to my fellow knitters, for they have challenges unique to them.

While I engage in this pursuit of excellence and my own personal, individual best, I also swear that I will continue to engage with my family in conversation, care for my pets, speak kindly with those who would ask me to do something other than knit, and above all, above every stitch thrown or picked, above every cable, every heel stitch, every change of colour, I swear this:

That I will remember that this is not the real Olympics, that I'm supposed to be having fun and that my happiness and self-worth ride not on my success....
but on my trying.

Let the games begin!

Posted by Stephanie at February 12, 2010 3:28 PM