This blog is a collection of my thoughts and experiences from ten years as a skate dad. For those of you sitting with your jackets in the bleachers, first I salute you, but second I want to give you an honest sense of what you are in for and what to expect. Ice skating is both a trying and a glorious sport, but it doesn't happen without the special group of folks who cheer, support, and console the participants. This is dedicated to you.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

- men

At the highest level the men's side of the sport is considerably more "dense" than at the local levels. Locally it is quite rare to have more than one or two capable gentlemen competing. At the top level of course you have full representation.

In stark contrast to the women's side of the sport, the top men skaters are obviously a severe counter-example to what most of the world culturally expects for a man in his mid-twenties.

I'm not saying that's a bad thing necessarily, just that the particular contrast imposes very tight strictures on both the execution and the presentation of the male side of the sport.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

- audience rehearsal

While watching the skaters practice I realize that their efforts have aspects of a musician in a band or of a dancer rehearsing. At some point in the future they will be performing these exact moves in front of an audience, but the motion and the music are a front for something else: the spiritual work of entertaining the audience and diverting them from their pain and sorrows.

I suppose we tend to forget -- once we get caught up in the adult rat race for money -- that children are spiritual beings who are highly sensitive to feelings and matters of the soul. The good skaters, like artists, retain this childlike sensitivity. After watching the practice for a while you will see (amongst the artistic skaters) considerably more than just physical practice.

The rehearsal is the link to the on-stage performance: emotions flow back through time from the audience through the performance and then back into the practice. The skaters shatter the ether as they spin and fall to relieve the suffering future.