I don’t write much about my good friend Eva Rodansky in this blog, because she has her own blog & her own voice that is entirely a different creature from mine, with different vibe and goals.
I have not written because she had a very difficult falling out with our mutual coach; their differences are between them, and I respect their privacy (and I was caught directly between two VERY strong personalities).
And also probably the biggest reason I have not written about Eva is simple cowardice. She is a very controversial figure in speedskating. Utterly fearless, smart, funny, and brutally honest to the point of complete personal destruction to herself and her targets, to say Eva is loved & hated & admired & feared is no understatement.
I am glad we are friends, even if we sometimes argue with the ferocity of siblings. She is never boring, she is ALIVE in the most fundamental way. In a world that encourages people into cookie cutter roles, she says surprising things all the time. We push and prod each other in ways that benefit us both.
I also have a rare gift for being able to piss her off royally, and still be talking to her the next day. I once compared her blog to Al-Qaeda, and our friendship survived.
When I met her Mom during the Salt Lake World Cup race, she told me a story about a 5 year old Eva venturing out into the ocean on a boogie board, and just getting beaten to pieces by waves twice her size. After many hours, Mom had to practically drag her off that beach. Eva had found a difficult challenge, and the more pain & obstacles there were, the more determined she became. This is one of the reasons speedskating was a perfect fit for her internal and external talents & habits.
(isn’t this so true of many of us, the things we latch onto, are true matches of our external and internal mechanisms)
Anyway, Eva called me recently, exalting!! My phone was practically glowing with her joy. US Speedskating has just fired/let go 3 people whom she has some serious issues with. This includes the program director and 2 national team coaches who had been introduced at the board meeting as already re-hired for next year (separately, the top short track coach has also resigned). Suddenly, in her scalpel like opinion, things seemed to be going the right way in the organization, she even made a NICE post about US Speedskating on her blog.
Eva being nice? Miracles never cease!!!
(just kidding Eva)
But as she described what she knew over the phone, the image of the Hindu death goddess Kali sprang into my mind, but it was an Eva-Kali hybrid, Eva was gleefully dancing over the body of US Speedskating just as Kali dances over Shiva, wearing a necklace of skulls and a skirt made from the severed arms of her enemies.
I told her that over the phone, and she thought it was quite funny. But as I began thinking about the metaphor, it seemed to make a ton of sense. Kali’s fierce fangs & tongue have been Eva’s blog, the swords are the moments Eva lets her skates do the talking. The dark & terrifying complexion of Kali matches Eva’s own dark “Offspring” rock & roll wardrobe (her favorite bracelet? A black one that says “livewrong”).
Shiva, in being underfoot, tames Kali’s wildness, and at other times, Shiva’s own intensity is the only thing in the universe that matches hers. Remember Shiva and Kali are partners, just like Eva will always have a part of her in love with this sport that has been so good and yet so cruel to her.
What do I mean? Cruel? Try missing 2 Olympic teams by fractions of seconds! 0.26 on 2002 and 0.08 in 2006, and then you can feel the pain she has felt. Try having a national team coach tell you that you were DELIBERATELY OVERTRAINED as an “experiment”, and then you can taste her rage. Death and life are opposite sides of the same coin. In destruction there are the seeds of rebirth, anger is often born from love.
US Speedskating will be a better organization by having a couple of Rodanskys out there sniping from the fringes (and there are quite a few, others have told me they agree with her, even though Eva’s rage is difficult for many people to read) it’s a symptom of democracy. Eva has become a better person through the challenges tossed her way. Imagine Eva without skating? it’s hard to picture, although she will be running the Salt Lake marathon in a week.
Religion is a metaphor that often helps people make peace with an often cruel and random world. And in Hinduism especially, the gods are a varied set of metaphors for aspects of a singular “god”. So I am doing Kali justice by bringing her into this. I am sure the people who were fired don’t feel too good this morning, and frankly, neither Eva or I know the inside story of the politics & wrangling, and maybe the ones who do will keep the story to themselves.
But for right now, Eva is dancing on the bodies, and is looking forward to rebirth from destruction.
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