Avoiding Pitfalls [with Evgeni Plushenko]

When I was at work today, I was thinking about a tweet of mine that recently got a reply from his News_Eng handle… and hoping that I didn’t overstep my bounds by sounding a little… for lack of a better word “needy”…

Everyone knows the seven deadly sins and I’ve had my fair share of dealing with them in my life. All of us have.

I’d dealt with this particular deadly sin more than any other. Usually it applies to a schoolgirl crush.

Recently, I’ve have a few experiences with what I’d like to call “Zhenvy”…
Not completely accurate of course. I’m not jealous of Evgeni Plushenko. That he’s a mastery of figure skating. That he’s in amazing shape.

Nope, “Zhenvy” describes my envy of his Asian fan base.
Since I’d been become a fan [which reminds me, is there an official name for Plushenko’s fan army?], he’d visited Japan and China nearly a dozen times (maybe more, maybe less, I never counted).

To be fair, he has also visited Buchrest and Warsaw for “Kings on Ice”… but Japan and China have been so frequent, it’s hard not to take notice :shrug:

I understand his inclination for those countries. I mean, Japan and China are friends of Russia and vice versa. It blows my mind to recall that that wasn’t always the case [I remember from school Teddy Roosevelt winning a Nobel Prize for the Russo-Japanese war… mediating the treaty that ended it].

And I can also understand why Plushenko might not be in a rush to visit the U.S.
Between the Vancouver Olympics [although by this point, I think he may have made peace with that… in his Olympic retrospective, he said it was a good learning experience] and our sanctions on Russia for the conflict in Ukraine, I could understand if that was his reasoning for not mentioning any possibility of coming here.

My tweet was a little frantic and I apologize if it came off that way… I asked if he ever toured here, and if not, was it because he wasn’t invited or he simply doesn’t want to?
I should have just done my research if I was so worried about that.
Apparently he has come here in the past, notably with a touring company that doesn’t operate anymore. So yeah, he may want to, but simply wasn’t invited.

My immediate thought is to tweet Johnny Weir to sort something out, but I don’t want to be too forward.

Plus, there’s the major caveat preventing me from taking serious action.
If he comes here, there is no guarantee I’d be able to see him. I used to live near Philadelphia, so we’d been to the Wells Fargo [then known as the Wachovia] Center and the Sovereign Bank Arena to see a couple figure skating shows.
Now I live in northeastern PA and it’s a good 2 hours away from all the big arenas they could host skating shows at.
Which leads me to believe it’s better that he doesn’t come here at all because if he does and I can’t be in the audience, I would be crushed. And I’d be a monster to live with 😛 I’m very passionate. I always mean well, so I hope that passion comes through in anything I do.

All I want to say about that to conclude :shrug: a shout-out to your American fans would be nice, Plushenko.
Just so I know you didn’t forget about us 😛
The last, maybe only, time I heard him give a shout-out to America was during his interview with Savannah Gutherie for NBC’s The Today Show.

As much as I wish I could be one of his Japanese fans, I love them for their own kind of passionate support. They put together such beautiful fan art, give great gifts, and even greet him at the airport when he arrives. And he makes time for them no matter what jet lag he might have.
The biggest positive, of course, is when he addresses them, he speaks English.

To me, that is a valuable luxury. My Russian is so weak [mainly because I don’t have the time/dedication right now to study for any steady period of time] that I can only pick out a handful of words. [most of which are either proper nouns or “katanya”- which I know is figure skating].

…to put it mildly, I can be very enthusiastic about people I’m a fan of… but with Plushenko, I’ve taken the time to really master myself so I don’t come off too strong. And I try not to make unrealistic expectations about him.

It’s so easy to fall in love and daydream about him, but even in my fanfiction, I haven’t gone beyond the plutonic relationship :shrug: common friendship, nothing romantic.
Trust me, I’ve had enough experience with fan-fiction romance with other people. He doesn’t need to be one of them.

I try to be realistic.
Although that didn’t stop me from being overly anxious in 2014, thinking that any step he took in his recovery too soon would break him like he was a porcelain doll.

Above all else, I leave everything up to him. What he wants to do with his life. I obviously have no control over anything he does… nor would I want that kind of power. He’d done perfectly fine in his 31-32 years. [I’m still getting it in my head that he’s 32 now].
Do I want to see him compete again? Absolutely. I’d missed practically his entire career, so of course I don’t want the ride to be over when I’d only just got on last year.
Would I be okay if he retired for good? …I’d have to mourn the fact I missed practically his entire career, but I won’t get dramatic about it. Just his health and his happiness are enough for me.

Those are the expectations I have: his health and happiness.
Unlike some other people I’d been fanatic about in the past, I didn’t come into this expecting anything in return. I didn’t do all the tweeting and YouTube posts hoping he would be impressed and respond personally.
I genuinely was concerned for his well-being after Sochi and I still take a moment every night to remind myself of that.
The only thing I ever really wanted was just acceptance from his fanbase. That things I posted would be good enough for them. That’s how I know I’m really part of this family, this fan army. [I just tweeted asking if they have a collective name… after the fact I remembered we call ourselves “Team Plushy”…]

I also noticed how I still can only refer to him by his last name because I got used to all the commentators calling him by his last name- as they seem to do with all the foreign athletes [Johnny & Tara are the exception: Javi and Yuzu have been referred to as such]

If you’re still with me at this point, I wanted to address some other “pitfalls.”

I’d done some of them already in previous entries. And they’ve been pretty easy to avoid falling into.

The biggest one is the negativity.
It’s still tough for me sometimes to read negative YouTube comments about him. Someone even had the nerve to say he deserved the injury in Sochi for his arrogance…
Dude, even if I didn’t see him skate at all and I only had the faint memory of Vancouver to go by, I still would have been impacted by his injury and withdrawal. It was tough to watch and seeing him skate that free skate in the team event made it even harder because I hoped to see him perform one more time, having already fallen in love with his skating.

The rumors of Plushenko’s arrogance have been greatly exaggerated by the media… I experienced that personally. [I already addressed this in detail]. I’ve since learned he’s anything but that. [Which makes me feel even worse about my “Zhenvy” rant… to for even a moment consider his lack of presence in the U.S. was because of some nonexistent prejudice… from now on, I’ll do my research before I run my mouth, I promise]

In fact, his humility is one of those many inspiring things I value about him.

The worst comments are the ignorant uninformed ones.
Someone said that Russians only like their own figure skaters and judge other countries’ athletes unfairly.
True of some, possibly, but Plushenko has had good comments to say about a lot of other international skaters. Yuzuru Hanyu in particular as well as Patrick Chan, Michelle Kwan, and even Jason Brown after his National performance went viral. [That was the first moment where the tide turned him into favor with me- I didn’t think he’d have nice things to say about skaters who don’t have quads… one of many misconceptions I’d debunk]

Then I saw a comment I really liked… someone who was educated about him and said that they appreciated his artistry, but don’t agree with some of his choices. they were very detailed about it.

Otherwise, I try to ignore the ones that attack his artistry or say he’s just a jumper or his programs are unbalanced or he just does arm movements… etc, etc… I’ve heard the criticisms a million times.
I may have him on a pedestal when it comes to those things, but then again, his aura and charisma cancel out a lot of those negatives. I just choose to focus on the artistry, the skill and the magical moments in between. That’s what I come to a Plushenko program for [plus the occasional interview in English, lol].

Come to think of it, that might be the only other major pitfall worthy of discussion here.
But I’d been giving another thing relating to him some thought.

I’m actually considering doing some research on his biggest career rival who I only just addressed by name once.

I guess it comes from the same place as my “Tuff Turf” entry… life’s too short to hold a grudge.
In that case, it was a grudge against an actor for something one of his characters did in a movie… maybe a little silly, but I still take it pretty serious. Even with the leniency I’ve granted James Spader after seeing him play a good guy once.

It’s not quite as silly to be adverse to someone you really don’t know simply because they’ve been mean to someone I care about.
I’ve done this a lot with Taylor Swift… not that I needed any reason to hate Kanye West. I already didn’t like him for his choice of “music”… I don’t like rap artists in general. But there are a couple people I don’t like on the basis that they’d been rude to her.
The exceptions: I’m not as crazy as John Mayer or Katy Perry as people simply because of their history with Taylor, but I still listen to their music and enjoy it.

Having said that, I might be okay in the case of Alexei Yagudin :shrug: I may watch his skating and come to respect the hell out of his talents… but I can go on feeling the way I do about him as a person. Which is simply negative.

Once upon a time, he and Plushenko were Mishin group mates. And I understand that they were rivals that respected one another.
Why that disappeared, anyone’s free to guess about. The story I heard was that he was jealous of Mishin’s attention being skewed towards Plushenko, so he left his coaching.

It’s not as if I go on lengthy rants seething with hatred about him. The way I handle the negative feelings I have about him [all of which I’d developed based on things I’d read about him in articles surrounding the speculation of Plushenko’s injury in Sochi]… but if I’m going to feel this way about him, I’d like to be informed.
And just because he and Plushenko don’t get along anymore doesn’t mean I should fall into that.
Not even Evgeni Plushenko can dictate all of my opinions… I know it seems like I fall in line with his view on so much, I never want it come to off like he’s my moral compass on everything. I’d like to have some of my own individuality… especially with figure skating where I like to form my own opinions.

So my game plan, come late October, I’ll check out his Wikipedia page (as I did with Plushenko), watch his gold medal performance at the Olympics as well as a couple competitions where he beat him.
And an entry on Johnny Weir won’t be far behind.

…after the fact of completing this entry, I remembered something else that explains my negativity towards this Russian legend– I’m so concerned about whether Plushenko still loves his American fan base and whether he’ll visit us in the near future [there’s the whole matter of his health as well… yes, he’s perfectly fine now, but with these shows in Japan and more Snow King shows in Sochi, he’s probably going to be tired and will need another vacation]…
I’m sure he appreciates all of his fans :shrug: American, Japanese, Russian, Chinese, etc.

I had just remembered that Alexei Yagudin had said some negative things about America recently, in the early days of the conflict with Ukraine.
I may just read his Wikipedia entry now, let it sink in and I can decide whether or not to watch his past programs on YouTube. I’ll only give him a small amount of my time- per my loyalty to Plushenko.

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