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, May 11, 2013

- begin

I went to the LA FSC open today; it's been about a decade since I last went. And you know, outside of the judging technology not much has changed in ten years. Perhaps a paucity of vendors, but that may just be an economy thing.

While perched up high behind the judges jungle, my critical aesthetic eye was drawn to that initial schmooz of impression, that initial flash of professionalism that each skater exhibits as they take the ice. You know the routine.

The next event will be the ladies intermediate short program. Skaters you make take the ice for your warm up. Skating in the intermediates is...

and as the announcer reads your names your heart jumps a little as you step on the ice behind a couple of the skaters, make a few nice long strokes, and then a waltz jump. So here then comes the first bit of amateurism: as they all break apart into their own warm up routines, I watch with dismay as a couple of skaters press themselves to see if they are ready for their double, triple, or whatever the most challenging part of their program will be...

...and, nope, they are not ready, and they clunk on the ice. So what did that accomplish? Professional rule number 1, use the warmup for warming up, not for testing yourself.

Skaters you have one minute left in the warm up.

This is where you should begin to seat your soul into the feeling of the rink, smile at the judges, and relax.

Skaters this concludes the warm up, please leave the ice. Now skating representing the L.A. Figure Skating club, and they announce a name.

A professional gracefully skates out to center ice with her arms up, perhaps passing to acknowledge one side of the rink and then the other, and then she gracefully takes her position. Second bit of amateurism: now, with all eyes on you, is not the right time to adjust your costume. Don't pull down your skirt or adjust your shoulder straps.

Put on your game face, get into character, pose. Let the show begin!


  1. While I agree with your second point, I don't believe it's fair to judge a skater's warm-up routine. For all you know, that skater landed every single double axel or whatever on her practice ice 2 hours ago, and her skate is loose or her nerves get the best of her.

    As a skater myself, I can say that competitions feel nothing like practice, even though that is what we strive for. I've had warm-ups that were an absolute mess, and then I skated clean, and the other way around. Warm-ups are a personal time for skater and coach to decide what's best for an individual skater, and it's not a fan's, or even a judge's place to decide what is and isn't acceptable in those 3-6 minutes.

    1. Hi Caroline, thanks for your comment! I must largely agree with your point that the warm-up is not intended for the audience. One thing that constantly gets on my nerves for example is when a gal's skate club cheers when one of them lands a tough jump in the warm up. Seriously?! You're cheering a warm up?

      I admit the core of my complaint however is probably exactly what you pointed out: practice and warm up don't really seem to correlate at all with what accuracy a skater accomplishes by herself on the ice in front of everybody with her program music running. She either falls "into the zone" or not. Either that or I am turning into a curmudgeonly skate dad (smile).