The Olympics are over. So why can’t I stop clicking this hashtag about Canadian ice dancers?
My obsession with the Olympics is not new. As a dance kid, I gravitated toward the marquee events of gymnastics and figure skating, which mirrored the kind of grace and athleticism I understood from my own training.
Then in high school, a close friend and I decided to call each other on the phone almost every night during the Games so we could share our reactions and amateur opinions—thus kicking off a tradition that has spanned twenty-two years and multiple technologies (RIP, AOL Instant Messenger).
Several years ago, I started following gymnastics more seriously, and figure skating became something I’d check out if I happened across the national or world championships on TV.
Still, I did my homework for PyeongChang. I watched the US nationals and spent time lurking in figuring skating forums. I knew who the contenders were and which athletes were skating for personal bests rather than medals. And, I thought, It’s nice to be able to enjoy an Olympics without being too invested in the outcome.
I made it three days. Then Canadian ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir stole my heart.
I remembered them from their previous appearances in Vancouver and Sochi, where they won gold and silver, respectively. But I had somehow managed to forget how electric they were together, how they combined technical brilliance with a passion rooted in a deep, twenty-year partnership. (Virtue and Moir started skating together as children.)
Watching them skate, you get the sense that you’re glimpsing athletic greatness—but also that you’re peeking in on an intimate moment. From my dance background, I knew that, in all likelihood, every seductive glance, caress, or embrace was carefully planned and rehearsed until ingrained in muscle memory. But at some point, you have to wonder where the choreography stops and Something More begins.
Well, I wondered that, anyway.
As did Olympic uberfan Leslie Jones, who watched them skate and exclaimed a slightly more profane version of, “OH, COME ON. Y’ALL HAVE TO BE TOGETHER!”
And as did apparently everyone else with two eyeballs and Internet access, because it took me only few clicks before I came across #VirtueMoir on Twitter.
Videos and still photos from their competitions and performances. Press conference tidbits. Adorable interviews. GIFs of their interactions. People were sharing any tidbit related to Scott and Tessa they could get their hands on, all mixed with cheeky commentary, admiration for the pair’s on-ice success, and speculation about their off-ice relationship.
(For the record, the two claim that their relationship is something of a hybrid between a platonic friendship and a business partnership. Also for the record, some of what they say and do makes that claim a wee bit dubious.)
Anyway, the goldmine of material at #VirtueMoir felt like the happiest place on earth, and I say that as someone who is literally planning a trip to DisneyWorld right now.
At this point, I’m guessing you are either nodding along in agreement (in which case, sit by me, because I HAVE THEORIES) or think I have lost my mind.
I get it. I’m shipping real people. Let me be the first to admit that this can be dangerous, that it can lead into an unhealthy world of obsession.
I think what’s important is remembering that they are real people — even if I’m treating their life like fiction. In real life, I do not get a final say on their relationship status. I don’t get to argue my side to them. They are the captains of their own ship.
So why do I do it, anyway? The thing is, I needed a distraction—badly. For months, I had been walking around in a cloud of anger and sadness, distraught by the state of the world. I felt guilty if I was happy, because happiness seems like a privilege when so many people are in pain. Most recently, the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, had broken my heart, and the intense conversation about gun control had left me emotionally wrecked.
I didn’t know it, but my soul was searching for beauty and passion, for community built around a common appreciation, for hope in a happily ever after.
These things are not inconsequential, even if the place where I found them is. In a way, letting myself fall down the rabbit hole seemed like an act of self-care while I let myself heal from a really tough time.
So, thanks, Scott and Tessa, for saving my sanity. Thanks for showing what perseverance, trust, and commitment can bring. And thanks for sharing your partnership, in all its multifaceted glory, with the world.
In his final remarks after the closing ceremonies, NBC host Mike Tirico said, “If the Games gave you a little joy, a reason to believe, that’s a pretty good reminder of just how great this centuries-old idea can still be.” At least for the foreseeable future, #VirtueMoir is the hashtag that keeps on giving long after the official Olympic flame has been extinguished.
If you need to ship some fictional athletes, I’m here to help. Let me introduce: Between Sundays. This heartwarming little gem is about a dashingly handsome NFL football player, a hardworking foster mother, and her foster son who believes his father is a certain dashingly handsome NFL star. If you need some light in your world, this book will do it.
And, seriously, if you want to talk to me about #VirtueMoir….reach out in the comments below or on our Facebook page. We can talk.
Meaghan is a trained tap dancer, a gymnastics and Gilmore Girls enthusiast, and a managing editor. She is also wife to Jared and the source of gravity in the world to three-year-old Abby.
HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., operates Page Chaser, the publisher of Between Sundays.