valentine's day - a day for lovers. earlier in the day she had seen several of the female trainees under her care for the week scurrying around delivering boxes of chocolates - sometimes to a door, other times to someone's face and later on she had seen couples everywhere. holding hands, giving gifts, kissing, smiling and...just full of sentimental mush. alright, so part of that came from the fact that this year, like last year, ara did not have a date or at least a boy toy. but even when she was in a relationship, it still wasn't a day she cared about - it was all about showing affection to your male partner and ara just was not the type to be overly sentimental or demonstrative with affection towards a prospective partner. besides in a relationship, she liked to be the one who was worshiped, adored and showered with gifts. (which meant she had three weeks to find someone in time for white day. but that would all depend on her work schedule. and if she were to have any other run ins with members of st*r.)
however despite not having a date, ara did have one good thing on this valentine's day - olympic tickets. she hadn't really known anything about curling when she found tickets for men's draw 2 and women's draw 2, but ara wasn't shy about doing a little research. and after doing said research, she discovered it was a strategy game which meant she was expecting to enjoy herself. thanks to google, she had discovered a few tidbits about the home teams - the men's team was the current pacific-asia champions and were the first asian team to make a final of something called a grand slam event, based in canada, while the women's team were back to back reigning pacific-asia champions and were sixth in the most recent world championship. (they also had to play the defending world champion first thing in the morning, but ara preferred not to think about that.) granted googling the home team also meant that ara had also googled the opponents they would play on the days she had tickets and that hadn't made her feel better. true, on a given day any team could beat another, but team korea had to play team sweeden...a team that had enough hardware to rent a storage unit. two world titles, olympic bronze in sochi, nine (!) european championships, three of whatever those slam events were and a lot of other second or third place finishes. it was rather intimidating and made ara agree that this team would be one of the two teams guaranteed to be in the gold medal game. this meant unless the koreans played well - and edin had had several bad years at worlds according to his wikipedia page - the game she was about to watch was going to be painful, especially with sweeden coming off of a win against denmark and korea coming off of a loss to the us.
her ruminations were cut short due to the sound of bagpipes playing, making her pull a face. what the hell? she wondered, noticing a few other people looking confused too. she knew the game was invented in scotland and that tradition played a huge role, but sure traditions could be ignored for the sake of the public's eardrums. as the intolerable scottish "musical" instrument played, the eight teams playing entered. first were the canadians and the british - though given that the team was from scotland, that might not have been the best label for them followed by the swedes. then came the home team - kim chang-min, seong se-hyeon, oh eun-soo and lee ki-bok - to the cheers of ara and the rest of the korean spectators. following them and entering to much more sedate applause, were the swiss, the italians, the japanese and...what in the hell? the first seven teams to come out to the ice were all wearing black pants. the eighth team to come in - team norway - were wearing what could only be politely called an explosion of colour. she had seen some crazy looks in her time in the k-pop industry (worn a few of them too) but nothing quite on this level. apparently the team wanted to be in theme for the day, sporting a blur of reds, pinks and hearts in a dizzying array as members of the team moved. even as the teams went for their practice slides and throws, ara's eyes kept getting drawn to the far side of the ice to the bizarre clash of colours. unable to stop herself, she remarked "am i just seeing things or is that team actually wearing those pants?"