So I have these friends who are kick-butt swing dancers. A while back, they decided that they were going to put together a routine for this competition called Battle of the Swing Cities up in Detroit. At the time I had no intention of going to Detroit, so I didn’t think about it much. But I was with them when they were planning, listening to music that might work, making costume suggestions. One of the costume ideas made me laugh hysterically for ten minutes (they didn’t use that one). I watched them practice, offered feedback when asked, held video cameras. When it came time for the actual competition, they asked if anyone would like to go to cheer them along, and I said that I would. So we all went to Detroit, they kicked butt (did I mention that they’re, um, kick-butt swing dancers?), and just barely missed winning. It was very exciting. At breakfast at Bob Evans the next morning, they decided that they wanted to take the routine to ALHC. Some of the dancers from the team that took first (who happen to be from another Medium Large City just north of ours) wanted in on the action, so they changed up the routine some and set in to practicing. My main involvement this time was as the occasional place-holder as they worked out the new choreography, and sometimes camera operator. I was pretty busy with other things in my life, so I wished them well, and looked forward to the days when half the good leads wouldn’t spend half the dance over in the corner practicing.
Then came the competition weekend. I checked the forums approximately fifty thousand times, anxiously looking for news of my people off in the wilds of Connecticut, competing their little hearts out. The first I saw was one of the guys posting on his facebook profile that he had placed 3rd in the Jack & Jill. My heart sank. There wasn’t a word about the team competition. If he didn’t say anything about it, then they must have tanked. I checked the forums. Initial news was that the routine had gone really well, people cheered, but they hadn’t won anything. It seemed like a huge letdown after the way they killed themselves with hard work. And the routine had been seriously awesome. For a few hours, things looked pretty sad. Then more news started coming. They actually finished 4th out of 8 competitors. The three teams that beat them included a team made up entirely of the Superstars Of Swing Dancing, and the Air Force swing team, which I’m told has a tendency to dominate wherever they go. All that everyone in the Wider Swing Dancing Community was talking about was our team’s routine. People couldn’t get over how awesome it was, and that there were people who could swing dance in Ohio. Someone posted some quotes from yehoodi (the big, national swing forum). This was not a disappointment! This was local kids Making Good. It was like the stories about the plucky small town kids who come out of nowhere and blow away the disbelieving big city people.
It was amazing and awesome, but still, a little, you know, not real. Then I checked this dance blog and started laughing. He, too, was raving, and had even posted the video of the Detroit competition. Suddenly what we’d all been marveling about was real. People actually know who we are. And, no, this is not my accomplishment, but I couldn’t be more excited about how freaking awesome my friends are. You can be excited too: